Saturday, November 20, 2004

Snow on the Malverns

We continue to be fooled by the weather forecasts - Saturday should have been as sunny as Friday. So we made plans to get up early and walk in the Malvern Hills. By the time we drove off for the one hour cross country run to Little Malvern it was spotting with rain. But it was dry when we arrived at the British Camp parking area, so off we went on what promised to be a relatively easy six mile hikes across fields, common land and finally the Malvern Hills themselves. After about an hour it started to rain and, looking back at the hills, we saw that the rain was now falling as snow. This cheered us up no end (for some reason really cold wet stuff is much more cheerful than cold wet stuff!)

By the time we climbed up into the hills about and inch of snow had fallen and in places we had a near white out situation. Other hikers' footsteps guided us along the ridge and back to the car for hot soup.

April thinks the snow is great as we slog up the slippery slope toward the summit of British Camp, an ancient hill fort along the Malvern Hills ridge.

About thirty minutes later we reach the top of British Camp and as you can see at the right side of this photo the conditions are approaching a white out. At least an inch of snow had fallen by this time. Five miles to the east and 600 feet lower it continued to rain!

Geological note: The Malverns are formed of very old rocks - Pre-Cambrian - and the hills have been a prominent feature on the British landscape for hundreds of millions of years - in fact the Severn/Avon Valley was also there in Permian times when a huge desert salt lake stretched out in front of the Malverns, all the way to Poland! Alluvial fans no doubt spread out along the eastern flank of the hills which was then a very active fault line. It would have looked like Death Valley or Tornillo Flats in Big Bend National Park. Our view today was very different, mainly because of the very different climatic conditions! Actually there was very little view for most of the time.