Shropshire Lads and Lasses May 2011

Taking in the Viewpoints from summit of Long Mynd

(Photos to follow)

Driving down the A49 towards Ludlow when headed for Mid-Wales I had often been inspired by the hills on either side of the road near Church Stretton.  So it was to the Group's good fortune that we had amongst our team Frank Cartwright who not only knew the hills well but also relished the idea of leading us around them. 

So came about the plan to spend a few days near Long Mynd at the Bridges Youth Hostel.  The hostel is ideally located so that you can walk straight to the ridge without moving the car, and boasted a pub around the corner.  It was also very close to the start of the Houseman 100, so with one or two of our crew planning to take part, it seemed a good plan to base ourselves down there during the week leading up to the hundred.

We tackled two main walks.  The first filled that long standing ambition to explore Long Mynd and it's valleys.  We climbed to the summit, admiring the long views West to the Welsh Mountains, and the views over the Shropshire plains.  We then descended via Ashes Hollow, a lovely V shaped valley, to reach Little Stretton in time to rescue a 'scruffy little terrier' (owner's description not ours) who had got bored of pub life (why?) and headed off with another group of walkers.  The terrier had to be returned to the Green Dragon, so what else could we do but drop in to make sure he was ok and tackle a pint or two whilst we waited for news!

We needed the pints as it turned out because there followed three steep climbs - firstly to Ragleth, then on to Hope Bowdler, and finally to the hillfort of Caer Caradoc - the very striking hill you see to your left as you drive down the A49.  Each climb was stiff but rewarding, and the wind on the top was refreshing.

We retunred via a lovely National Trust valley - Cardingmill, and an equally lovely National Trust tea shop. 

After a relaxing evening, where Caroline got us all playing a rather daft famous names game which gave us giggles galore, we set out on the second morning to tackle a short stretch of the Shropshire Way, followed by a circuitous route to the Stiperstones.  Stiperstones is a small village in the lee of the hill and the stones are an unusual geological formation based on granite outcrops.  It was also a very  wild and windy spot and whilst Caroline and Ian braved all, the rest of us declined to try to outwit the wind and left the trig point on top of the tor for another day! 

We returned for a cuppa at the hostel, to welcome new arrivals and say goodbye to a few.  Friday was offering a few alternatives for those left - some with energy to climb more hills and others far more sensible opting for a little sight seeing in Ludlow - to check out the claims of gastronic delights to be found there.  And some of us had to go home to work - but hey ho, it was a good trip to a lovely area and thanks to Frank for ably leading us up hill and down dale.

Ron gets beamed up on Long Mynd
The girls amuse themselves creating roadside verge 'bouquets'.