Friday, June 23, 2017

Great Malvern

Since my close encounter with the brook and the drowning of my camera I have been using Marianne's Lumix camera. It's a great camera and I used it when I did the Coast to Coast walk and the train trip from Norway to Singapore. However, it is a bit big to carry around and I found that the small Lumix camera (DMC-TZ60)  is more convenient to travel with since I can slip it into a pocket. So I bought the next year's model and had it delivered for pick-up at a Waitrose supermarket in nearby Great Malvern.

So we headed westerly on the same road that we traveled on when we went to Ledbury but turned north when we got to Little Malvern. The road then follows the side of the Malvern Hills all the way to Great Malvern.

Unfortunately the road is lined with houses that block the view so you don't see too much. In addition, the road is narrow enough that any parked cars result in your having to wait for cars coming in the opposite direction. Not a pleasant drive at all.

We reached Great Malvern and parked in the Waitrose parking lot. Yes, you can see a bit of the view but there is always a roof blocking part of it.

I was intrigued by the yurt shaped structure.

Before going into the supermarket we had a brief walk into the main part of the town. This is the Great Malvern Priory.

There was a special event going on involving children so we could only take photos of the ceiling. They were there to get a feeling of what it was like to be a monk in the period when it was a Benedictine Monastery. The older people were all dressed in white monk's outfits. I resisted the temptation to say 'very fetching' to a group of older ladies walking past.

We then walked beside the road we had just driven on. Here is a distinguished building further up the hill.

Malvern's real claim to fame was the natural mineral water that gushed up from the hills. You may have heard of the term 'Malvern Water'. This is it.

It was safe to drink so we both tried it. As they say, it tastes of nothing.

A crochet bomb just above the fountain.

Looking down the hill into the town.

Somehow I don't think I look quite as noble as Elgar.

You can read about what was the world's smallest theater here. Apparently it has an audience capacity of 12 and was at one time a gentleman's public convenience. It closed earlier this year.

We toddled back to the Waitrose where I got a closer look at the yurt. Its main purpose appears to be covering customers from rain as you enter and leave the supermarket. The camera was waiting for me so I will be using it for the next blog entry.

Belas Knap

Yes, it's an odd name. It's one of several Long Barrows in the area and you can read about it here. A Long Barrow is essentially a burial chamber from the Neolithic era about 4000 years ago.

The GPS took us along many very narrow roads where we often had to stop to let other cars pass us in the opposite direction. And one very large truck where I had to back up about 50 yards. However, the views were terrific even if it was a cloudy, misty day.

Note how the trees completely cover the road and become a dark tunnel.

We stopped at a pull-off at the bottom of the hill we had to climb to the barrow. Not too far away was the lovely looking Sudeley Castle.

Winchcombe. It was a pity it was so hazy. The volunteer run Glouscester Warwickshire railway passes through here so we might find time to come back here on a nicer looking day.

With gazelle like grace and style, Marianne negotiates the stile. I just walked around the left hand end of the fence just to the left of the photo.

We commenced the climb up the hill.

It's quite a steep climb and I stopped a couple of times so that I could take a photo and have a short break. We were joined by a couple Germans who were having a short holiday in the Cotswolds. They came from Dusseldorf and told us it was the starting point for this year's Tour de France on July 1.

A couple of arrows pointing the way. The Cotswold way is a 102 mile long path from Bath to Chipping Camden.

We were definitely on top of the hill and the wind made it a bit chilly.

Marianne and the German lady catching up.

Click on the photo to enlarge it.

The fatter end of the barrow.

The entrances are all sealed.

People built this 4000 years ago.

We all crawled in here.

The ceiling is about 4' high.

Good shelter if it rained.

The entrance at the narrower end.

The German couple in front of another side entrance.

It is a curious structure and you can only wonder why they built it like this, or even why they bothered to go to all the trouble to build such a large structure on top of a high hill.

During our past visits to England, we have usually come home with a tin of Mamade marmalade jam. We used to be able to get it at a Tescos but they don't seem to carry it at our local Tesco. However we found we could get a tin at a Lakeland shop in Cheltenham which was close to Belas Knap.

It is a former spa town and quite spiffy since only the wealthy could afford to come here to take the waters. The main shopping street called The Promenade is something to behold.

This statue of Dr Wilson has to face the tree leaves for eternity.

More about him here. He was one of the men who died in the tent along with Scott and Bowers on their ill-fated return from the South Pole.

And yes, this is a wonderful place to promenade. The other side of the street is lined with expensive modern shops, much more upmarket than the shops we saw in Worcester.

Curious statue.

We successfully purchased out tin on Mamade and so Marianne can make quite a few jars of delicious marmalade when we get home.