Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca
Showing posts with label Shropshire. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Shropshire. Show all posts

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Eleven Hills in Shropshire and Herefordshire

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Here are a few pictures and maps to supplement the previous three postings on my recent trip to eleven airy summits. There’s also an annotated slideshow here.

1. Caer Caradoc Hill (459 metres): here’s Martin S on the summit.

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Our route was 6.5km, with 300 metres ascent, taking 1 hour 30 minutes.

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2. Wapley Hill (329 metres): Martin thinks he’s on the summit.

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Our route was 3.7km, with 120 metres ascent, taking 1 hour.

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3. Shobdon Hill (326 metres): I think I’m on the summit.

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Our route was 4.9km, with 230 metres ascent, taking 1 hour 20 minutes.

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4. Bradnor Hill (391 metres): Martin S is definitely standing at the summit cairn!

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Our route was 3.7km, with 100 metres ascent, taking 40 minutes.

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5. Hergest Ridge (426 metres): I am undisputedly standing on the highest point of the hill.

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Our route was 6km, with 170 metres ascent, taking 1 hour 20 minutes.

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6. Burton Hill (294 metres): sunlit views guided us to a muddy track.

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Martin scrabbled around in dense brambles before declaring this point the summit.

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Our route was 8.8km, with 330 metres ascent, taking 2 hours.

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7. Titterstone Clee Hill (533 metres): on my own now, with thick fog below the sunlit summit.

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My route was 1.7km, with 110 metres ascent, taking 25 minutes.

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8. View Edge (321 metres): where the summit is in the middle of a private bluebell wood.

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The start and finish of this walk passes by Stokesay Castle.

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My route was 6km, with 220 metres ascent, taking 1 hour 45 minutes.

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9. Callow Hill (334 metres): if this trig point is the summit, indeed, the highest point on Wenlock Edge, it’s deceptively so.

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My route was 2.2km, with 130 metres ascent, taking 40 minutes.

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10. Burrow (358 metres): I lunched here on the summit, surrounded by Iron Age ramparts.

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My route was 4.5km, with 230 metres ascent, taking 1 hour 15 minutes.

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11. Heath Mynd (452 metres): here I am, standing on my final summit cairn of the 48 hour trip, on a lovely sunny afternoon.

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My route was 3km, with 160 metres ascent, taking 1 hour.

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As mentioned above, there’s an annotated slideshow here…. for the unwary to plough through. I enjoyed compiling it anyway, despite battling with the hazy images.

Happy Days!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Wednesday 18 March 2015 - Some more Shropshire Hills

Leaving Martin S to venture into the depths of Mid Wales, I set off home from Woofferton in fog, after scraping a good layer of frost from the car.

Deciding to maintain the spirit of the trip, I drove up out of the cloud to the quarry below Titterstone Clee Hill. It soon became apparent that I was lucky to avoid trial bikes up here, their tracks being everywhere. All I saw was a frosty landscape with fog below and sadly no other hills poking their noses into the sunshine. The top photo was taken near the 533 metre summit. It was cool, but after an exhilarating 20 minutes and less than 2km I was back at the car. A radar station near the summit, together with the quarry ruins, give quite an industrial feel to this hill. Signposts indicate that the Shropshire Way passes through here.

Onwards in the car to Stokesay, from where the modest summit of View Edge is easily attained. I left a lay by on the A49 in bright sunshine at 9am and soon found myself next to Stokesay Castle, briefly again on the Shropshire Way. Leaving that path, I went easily over the railway and through fields of lambs before reaching the first mud of the day (my boots were already caked from yesterday) on the track to Clapping Wicket. Beyond here a small stile led to a brutally steep and pathless ascent through deciduous woodland full of bluebells - still far from being in flower. At the fence at the top of the wood, someone has kindly replaced a section of barbs with a wooden slat, allowing easy access to the unmarked but obvious high point in a private wood. Thank you. I slithered back down to Clapping Wicket and avoided more mud by taking pleasant field paths to the east of Highfield Farm, to rejoin the Shropshire Way and complete the 6km circuit in the company of lambs and the shining facade of Stokesay Castle. An hour and fifty minutes for the walk.

A short drive through Craven Arms and along narrow roads found me at spot height 214 in front of the looming bulk of Carrow Hill. A slanting path through Frizland Coppice switched back to a lovely ridge top path to the summit of Callow Hill, next to a stone tower - Flounders Folly - recently renovated but not open today. This is the highest point on Wenlock Edge, but today there were very limited views due to lingering mist. After a visit to the trig point I said goodbye to the resident woodpecker and after the gentle zigzag ascent I embarked on a rather quicker and unerringly direct, plummeting descent. 2km in 40 minutes.

To Hopesay now,  through narrow lanes with now familiar neatly trimmed hedges. A sunlit village. Soon I was tramping through a field of crops with no path, but reassuringly signposted as the Shropshire Way. Mewing buzzards circled above. Rabbits dashed around,  nearly getting under my feet! Permissive paths led to impressive hill fort - spread over a wide area, with mature trees and high ramparts. I enjoyed lunch in the sun at the highest point (pictured), with hazy views and a teasing comment from Conrad on yesterday's entry. Returning the same way, this jaunt amounted to 4km in an hour and a quarter. 

Another short drive took me to Pitcholds, from where a narrow lane took me to a small triangle of grass on which parking was possible. Heath Mynd was then ascended in sunshine from another muddy track, over open access land on which I disturbed a sparrowhawk. Lunch number two was taken on the summit, with good if hazy views to Corndon Hill and its satellites. A rough, direct descent over open access land finishing with prickly gorse and a steep bank concluded the day's exercise. 3km for this final hour long stroll.

Overall, just 17km with 800 metres ascent for today's five hills, and I was back in Timperley by 5.30 despite a half hour delay in Chester.

Happy days!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Tuesday 17 March 2015 - Some Shropshire and Herefordshire Hills

An early (ish) start from Woofferton found us somewhere near Byton and Wapley Hill by 8.15. We walked up the hill past frolicking deer and chattery chaffinches. The summit was within an interesting area of Iron Age and medieval settlements and hill fort structures, but there was no view due to high pressure mizzle. It took about an hour for the 4km circuit. Time for some tea and brownies at a picnic bench in the car park.

A short drive to Byton found us back on the Mortimer Trail that we'd discovered earlier. That led us up to near the summit of Shobdon Hill, the actual summit being somewhere next to a track in the middle of a wood. Limited views. Still misty. 5km in an hour and twenty minutes.

We then drove to Kington and knocked off Bradnor Hill. By now the weather was brighter and we had some views. Not being in an Iron Age settlement nor in the middle of a wood helped. We were at the top of a golf course. Tuneful skylarks vied with a kestrel for space in the sky. Our 4km circuit from the club house took about 40 minutes, and we could have halved that if we'd driven further up the golf course. 

Do you detect a theme? Martin S is a 'hill bagger'. He 'collects' Marilyns - hills with a relative height of 500 feet in relation to their closest 'relation'. These hills are all 'Marilyns'.

It was now time for a break in the 'walkers village' of Kington, where the Border Bean café provided drinks and excellent bean pesto soup.

Suitably refreshed, we crossed the valley and headed up Hergest Ridge, where (you guessed it?) the summit achieves a relative height of over 500 feet. By now the sun was shining and the skylarks were still warbling energeticaly. At 426 metres this was our high point of the day. Martin S celebrated by dancing on the summit (pictured above)(before he fell over). Returning the same way, this 6km jaunt took nearly an hour and a half. 

Then a 10 mile drive to Weobley put us in position for our final ascent of the day, up Burton Hill. This started pleasantly enough. But after passing a JCB that was on 'drainage duty', we encountered ever deeper mud that eventually gave way to trouser ripping brambles as we floundered in dense woodland, searching for the highest point of the hill (a 'bagging' requirement) before adjourning to the trig point that was on a lower path. More mud and a rejection of our planned descent route saw us enjoying the afternoon sunshine on the long ridge, before returning to the car via 3km of 'not too bad' tarmac beside a variety of Herefordshire apple orchards. 9km in a little over two hours. 

Phew - that was the best part of 28km and 800 metres ascent. Not surprising that we got back to our Travelodge base some 10 hours after leaving it this morning. 

Luckily, the Salwey Arms was on good form again and saw to all our needs.

An excellent day, in lovely weather. 

Monday, 16 March 2015

Monday 16 March 2015 - Caer Caradoc

After a  busy morning planning trips and returning a breadmaker* to Lakeland, I managed a 3pm rendezvous with Martin S in the Ginger Wotsits Coffee House in Church Stretton, we then wandered up Caer Caradoc from Hazler Hill and Cwms Plantation on a mainly overcast afternoon, although sunshine briefly bathed the summit whilst we were there. Good views, if limited by a bit of haze.

Just an hour and a half to complete the circuit via Three Fingers Rock - just 6.5 km and around 300 metres ascent. A 'warm-up' for tomorrow. 

Butty Bach (not a sandwich) will fuel us for the evening, at the Salwey Arms.

* top of the range Panasonic to replace our much loved 17 year old Panasonic, but it produced bricks, not the nice fluffy loaves we are accustomed to. ..



Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Tuesday 2 December 2014 – Shutlingsloe

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Yesterday I popped up Shutlingsloe on a recce for a walk that takes place a week on Sunday – a lovely route that I’ll report on in due course.

Vienna and Adam, at the Cat & Fiddle, told me the pub had spent the last ten days in a cloud, so I was lucky to get clear views, like the one above towards The Roaches.

It was a shame that Gayle couldn’t join me, as she’s failed to find clear days on Shutlingsloe on recent visits to the area. Actually, today would have been even better, with perfectly clear skies after a frosty night.

But I’m glad I went yesterday as I had the pleasure of bumping into someone I hadn’t seen for over ten years (though we have been friends for around 45 years). It was lovely to see you, ‘Posh’!

Shutlingsloe…. come to think of it this is one of my most visited hills, at the top of the list along with The Wrekin and with Beinn Alligin. Views from both are pictured below; I’ll leave the reader to work out which is which!

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Happy Days!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Friday 14 October 2011 – Around Audlem

Beside the Shropshire Union canal near Audlem

Having cancelled a Wednesday evening walk due to Sue’s recall to active duty at the NHS, I decided to do the walk anyway.  Last Friday morning.  It was probably better in daylight.  Route finding was certainly much easier.

Andrew and I met at 9am and took about 3 hours over the 13km stroll traced in blue on the map shown below.

The dullness of the day didn’t really detract from the enjoyment, and the route was fairly straightforward.  If anyone wants a ‘blow by blow’ description, please request it way way of a comment or email and I’ll add it to the posting.

But for now the walk is described by illustration in the slide show from the day – click here – there is even a ‘tractor quiz’ for Alan R.

That enables this entry to be satisfactorily brief – in a bid to ‘catch up’ after running almost a week behind with the blog postings.  Nothing very exciting happened – nobody fell in, no dogs were encountered or even taken with us (I’m sure Lucy would have enjoyed this outing, Andrew), and no mountain bikers fell into the canal in front of us (there being no mountains for miles around, that was no real surprise).

So if you want more pictures, go to the slide show, but please note that the Canon G10 is dead and the Ixus 105 doesn’t perform very well in poor light like today’s.

We will return to this lovely village, and then we might even have time to visit Rod and Christine, whose house we walked past today (sorry to miss you), and I’ll write a bit more about stuff like the Gothic church and the pillared buttermarket, built in 1733, that features on the final image in the slide show.

Here’s our 13km route - it's fairly flat and took just over 3 hours.

Our 13km route - it's fairly flat and took just over 3 hours

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Saturday/Sunday 2-3 October 2010 – A Visit to Ironbridge and The Wrekin

Ironbridge, built in 1779 by Abraham Darby; cost £6000

Ten of us assembled in The Swan in Ironbridge on Friday evening before adjourning to GS’s range of accommodations, carefully selected from his Observer’s Book of Fawlty Towers.

Saturday morning found us joined by Keith and Carol and lingering at the old iron bridge, with Tove visiting a local café to purchase the continental breakfast that the Robin ‘Music til Late’ Hood* was unable to supply.  It seems that in the absence of a chef, breakfast there had been cooked by the cleaner.  Perhaps the chef had been one of those making merry until 4am in the room below the B&B accommodation.

Those of us staying at the Bird in Hand had been relieved to find that its 12noon to 10.30pm opening hours were strictly observed…

Ironbridge 

Photocall at the start of our walk

Here’s the route we embarked upon after a photocall in the sunshine.  It was 22km, with over 500 metres ascent, taking around 7 hours.

Saturday's route - 22km, 546 metres ascent, 7 hours

Shortly after gaining the thick woodland that seems abundant in the Ironbridge Gorge, we came across this enticing sign.

"Let's go that way..."

We strolled by museums – there are lots around here – and over chicken wired duck boards, up and down ladders, along grassy paths strewn with conkers, and past some of Telford’s numerous lakes.

A short loop took us through the church yard at Holy Trinity Church in Dawley, a parish in which my grandfather was vicar, before the new town of Telford was even a planner’s dream.

It was hot.  Chocolate caramel shortbread and apple and raisin cake were washed down with tea and coffee.

We passed close by Telford Town Centre.  It appeared to be inhabited by Old Mother Hubbard and some dinosaurs.  We, of course, boosted the dinosaur population.

A brief pause from walking found us transfixed for a while by a magical performance from The Invisible Shakespeare Company.  The audience was sparse, but it was fair value for the price.

It was a poorly attended performance

Further on, not far from Blists Hill Museum, the All Nations Inn provided welcome sustenance by way of some local beers and a black pudding, cheese and onion buttie for Keith.

Refreshments at the All Nations Inn

The beers had a particularly drastic effect on one of our party, who later hastened across the widest level crossing in Britain without realising that the risk of being hit by a train was relatively low.

First aid kits were deployed for the second time in six days, but Graham’s was, luckily, only a flesh wound.

Rail hopping goes wrong

How things change!  I used to come train spotting here!

There are more pictures here.  Or you could wait until the end…

Our day concluded at the Swan, where a reasonable meal was served, though the residents at the Robin Hood were entertained by juke box bandits until ‘late’ – or should that read ‘early’?

Sunday

Rain hammered down on the thin roof of our penthouse suite.  It was indeed an extremely wet day.  A shame for Robin and Jenny, who had joined us only the previous evening.

We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast.

After which the rain was still hammering down.

Sunday morning - what next?

So whilst half the party had urgent hill-bagging appointments, the remaining seven of us chose to visit the Tile Museum.

Very interesting it was too.

The tile museum (1)

Here are some exhibits – above, a typical butcher’s shop; below, a typical fireplace for a ‘modern home’ of the 1930’s.

The tile museum (2)

I know such fireplaces were still being made in the mid 1960’s, as the memory of carrying them from delivery lorries to the living rooms of Harry Peacock’s lovely new houses is still scarred on what remains of my brain.

They were Heavy.  But not as hot as the bags of cement, fresh from the cement factory, which had to be carried up to a small shed on the top of a hill in a pre-re-enactment of Sean Connery’s performance in ‘The Hill’.  We student workers got all the best jobs in those days!

We spun out the tour of the museum, and a compulsory visit to its coffee shop, until lunch time.

It was still raining, but our resident medic, after holding a brief surgery, prescribed fresh air.  So we went up a nearby hillock known as the Wrekin. 

Here’s our route – 5km, over 250 metres ascent, in 1.5 hours.

Our route up the Wrekin - 5km, 269 metres ascent, 1.5 hours

My father used to take us up here every Christmas morning for a number of years in the 1950’s.  It hasn’t really changed much since then, but today’s views were less than inspiring.

It was still raining...

Even when the rain stopped there was little visibility, and Jenny never did make it to the summit, having become tragically misplaced en route.  She concealed her disappointment well, and was consoled by luckily encountering us at a random point on the descent.

So by the time this photo was taken our 14 strong band was down to 4 plus the photographer (self timing proved impossible due to the camera blowing away), 7 having gone bagging, Jenny having got lost, and Robin having wandered off into the mist.

The Wrekin - The Summit

Here’s the view on a day with slightly better visibility in the direction of Snowdon, a pimple on the horizon some 71 miles distant.

A view from The Wrekin on a sunny day

So, another jolly weekend was over (not so jolly for those kept awake by the antics of the Robin Hood’s clientele), and everyone dispersed, with Blackpool and Manchester City supporters in nearly as euphoric moods as the European Ryder Cup golfing team.

In case you didn’t click on the earlier link, there’s a slide show of the weekend’s photos here, if anyone is interested. 

The weekend wasn’t over for everyone.  There is now a short postscript of three final images provided by our illustrious hill-bagging department, who report as follows:

“Not a good menu choice for us….car got stuck in a flooded stream. Needed a tractor to pull us out. There was water up to the gear stick... see if you can see the hidden sign saying ford / unsuitable for motors…they say things go in threes – no sleep in the pub, smashed up leg, flooded car…hope that’s the lot for now!”

At least there were no ripped hands on barbed wire fences, though I suppose that’s of little comfort just now…

* I suppose you could always be the first to record your experiences at The Robin Hood on the proliferation of pub ‘appreciation’ websites.

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