The Wrekin and The Ercall

Country Walking – May 2021

The May 2021 issue of Country Walking magazine has my route up The Wrekin in it. Now, such is my dedication to give readers the most inspiring photos, that when I did this route, I climbed The Wrekin twice!

As a BBC WeatherWatcher, I’d studied the weather forecast and been assured that although the day would start off cloudy, it would brighten up by ten o’clock. So, I timed my arrival at the car park for 10am. A huge blanket of grey cloud smothered Shropshire and most of the West Midlands, it seemed.

Still, the weather has a knack of surprising us, so off I set.

As you can see from the photograph below, when I reached the summit, the weather hadn’t changed. In fact, I was surprised I could see anything from the summit at all!

Great views from The Wrekin summit … not!

Still, undeterred, I continued my walk. Now, if you do this route, I take you up the Halfway House side of The Wrekin, and then follow the route down the opposite side of the hill. Just be warned, this section of the route isn’t as wide or as gentle. It’s a steep drop in places. (Having tree trunks to grab hold of as you fly past does have its advantages! Seriously, though, just take care here. It’s perfectly safe, as long as you don’t treat it as a race!)

Of course, Murphy’s Law states that when you get to the bottom of the hill, the weather will improve, which means the views from the top will be much better. If only I was up there!

The Wrekin – from the bottom!

And I’m not saying that the weather was taunting me, but by the time I’d walked slightly further along the route, whereby I was walking parallel with the hill, soon there wasn’t a cloud in sight!

Blue sky Wrekin!

Still, with weather like this, it was impossible not to enjoy the walk. And what I enjoyed about this particular route were the many glimpses of the route that were visible at different times. Here’s a photo from near point 4 of The Ercall. (By the way, if you want to sound like a Salopian, don’t call it the Err-call, pronounce it as the Arr-call.)

The Ercall – to be passed later on in the route.

Ironically, my best view of The Wrekin’s summit was when I was about three quarters of the way round, crossing the Wellington Golf Course.

The sleek contours of the Wrekin.

Walking through The Ercall, you’ll see lots of evidence of quarrying. Nature is slowly taking over again, thanks to work by the Shropshire Wildlife Trust.

Quarrying evidence on The Ercall

By the time I got back to the car park, having completed the 7.5 mile route, I could see the summit was still bathed in sunshine. There was only one thing for it. I had to climb up it again and take better photos. (I’m so glad Country Walking magazine chose one of the shots I took on the second ascension!)

I’m sure you’ll agree, the views from the top are most definitely worth it!

Looking back over Willington from the main route up The Wrekin.
The view across Shropshire from The Wrekin’s summit.
The summit toposcope and The Wrekin Transmitter.
The view southwards from The Wrekin.

Do explore the summit and its immediate environment. Look out for The Needle’s Eye. It’s a crevice in the rock, which folklore dictates that if lovers could “thread the eye of the needle” together, without hindrances, they would have a long and happy marriage. Today’s young lovers should note that following an earthquake in 1990 (yes, we do get them round here) the cleft in the rock is narrower than it used to be!

The Needle’s Eye on The Wrekin

Finally, here’s another shot from the summit, summing up a perfect day weather-wise … in the end!

Looking towards the Breiddon Hills in Wales from The Wrekin.

I hope you agree with me … climbing to The Wrekin’s summit for a second time was worth the effort. And if you’re reading my route in the magazine, don’t panic. You don’t have to climb it twice if you don’t want to!