Country diary: we scatter our dad’s ashes on to his most beloved hill
Wenlock Edge, Shropshire: This was the perfect day to return him to the place that gave hope, strength and inspiration
“Whoop!” The brassy fart of a horn announces hunting somewhere behind the wood. Thread through the blackthorn into a hollow between scrubby spoil heaps, to gain the confidentiality of snow. At the gate, look west to the white wall of the Berwyn mountains; the sky streaks blue and salmon. The hunters vanish, but a chainsaw labours in the threat they leave behind; its voice fills the air with angry frustration, then shatters into calls of rooks across snowy fields.
A bolt of light from low in the south-west fires across the land, illuminating half the Wrekin to the north. This hill, hog’s back still hidden in cloud, sends a lightless flicker between the present and the most ancient of days. Some kind of realignment of time and place happens there in the mist – a shift that can be felt for miles around, as if it has something to do with the great communications mast nailed into the oldest rock in the world.