Sunday, 18 September 2016

Hopton Castle

It is 7am on a Saturday morning in early September and I am parked at Hopton Castle in South Shropshire. According to the information board this is thought to have once been a high status tower house rather than an actual castle due to rather undefendable position in the bottom of a valley. It is cloudy wth a slight drizzle with mist on the hills. Pigeons coo around me. I hear the occasional tit, crow, wren, chiffchaff and cow. A stream gently murmers nearby.

I didn't enjoy the drive up yesterday afternoon as motorway congestion held me up for an hour but once I was near Tenbury Wells I was happier. The hop harvest seems well underway with tell-tale tractor tracks of the rich red soil mark roads leading from the roadside hop yards to the picking machines.

Up on black hill near Clun I stop at one of my favourite views for tea. After a glorious summer of warmth and sunshine I seem to have travelled up here to see the arrival of autumn. Here, the hills of the Welsh border stretch out westwards into mix of rain bearing cloud and mist. It is surprisingly windy up here and the car is buffeted by the gusts and my gas stove struggles to heat my beef casserole. On my way up here I didn't notice any uncombined fields. Here though, on a nearby hill about a mile away, a green combine slowly completes one final field under the threat of the looming dark clouds. Nearby the road is lined rowan trees laden with deep red berries and there is a beautiful mix of dead grasses, docks and other foliage along the roadside.

I spent the evening just listening to the wind around me in the trees where I had parked up for the night. Just for a few hours I can create a space where I can forget about time and the pressure it places on my daily life and work.

The rain arrived sometime in the middle of the night and once the dawn arrived I moved on to Hopton Castle from where I could begin my day.

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