Visit the Forsaken Inn, and climb up to the Arnorian watchtower of Amon Sûl.
Distance: 3 miles
Difficulty: Rough terrain, some steep ascents
Dangers: Wolves, Crebain
Several years ago I received a pipe holder from Seredoc Sackville-Baggins that was modelled on the watchtower at Weathertop. Seredoc claimed to have bought this at the Forsaken Inn in the Lone-Lands, many miles from the Shire. A Sackville-Baggins beyond Bree? A tall story!
Mind you, Seredoc has a history of outlandish boasts. Amongst these are:
1. That he held Galadriel’s cloak out of the mud on a rainy night in the Chetwood.
2. That he chased a black rider out of Bywater armed only with a lamb shank.
3. That he smoked an entire pouch of Old Toby in a single sitting.
Preposterous stuff! Nobody could smoke an entire pouch of Old Toby.
Anyway, these days the road to Weathertop is much safer, and I have made the journey via Bree to explore these hills.
Starting at the Forsaken Inn, (which, on my visit at least, was noticeably lacking in watchtower-shaped pipe holders), head east along the Great East Road. At the broken Arnorian bridge (step 2) scramble down the bank into the dried-up creek. Pause here to admire the bold carving on the fallen bridge-stones. Some of these designs are said to be Numenorian in origin, and resemble great waves. This seems in bad taste to me, but each to their own.
If dry, follow the stream bed northwest until you meet a deep gully on your right (3). Clamber up this to emerge at the foot of Weathertop, aka Amon Sûl. Now the work begins. A spiral track will take you to the top, but it is more suited to goats than hobbits, so take your time and enjoy fine views of the Weather Hills as they hove into view.
Ah, the Weather Hills! The old stone heart of Eriador! A thousand feet high, rocky and barren. Despite the rain on my visit they are dry hills, with scarcely a dribble of a stream to cool one’s hairy feet. Isobel would have loved them.
Take second breakfast in the ruins (4). A low ring of stone is all that remains of the once proud watchtower of Arnor, home to a seeing stone, the sister of which Peregrin Took looked into on his adventures. Here too, Frodo fought off the Nazgûl (with help from the Ranger…)
On a sunny morning it all seems too fanciful to be true, but a Took bore witness, and a Took can be trusted. Even if it is Pippin.
Descend by the steep western path to a shallow bowl in the slope where if you are lucky you may find the remains of a campfire. This is a ranger-camp (5), and those honourable folk, though freed from the shadows, still slip off into the wild on occasion. Maybe they have Took blood in them?
At the foot of the hill, you should meet the same dried up water course that led you towards Weathertop. Follow it south-east to retrace your steps to the Inn.
P.S. Note that the Forsaken Inn management are somewhat inflexible, and will not refund any unwanted souvenirs, no matter how good their condition.