We set off this morning from Gravels Bank with light hearts in the April sunshine. A fine day in prospect to enjoy the Shropshire Hills and to test our aged frames and aged equipment, neither of which had been tested for some years. Would this old stuff pass the test? Would this be a day of tears?
In order to get to the Shropshire Way we strolled down Gravels Bank to the A488 and set off towards Bishop’s Castle. After a few 100 yards we entered what was once a forestry plantation but which has now been transformed into an ex plantation.
The transformation from a wood into an open vista was quite stunning. We spent quite a few minutes staring at views which had been hidden.
Once out of that which had been a wood we headed towards The Bridges and beer.
A hint of the tests to come became all too obvious on the route towards the Stiperstones. The incessant rain of the last few months had certainly left its mark
The Horseshoes at the Bridges was a welcome sight for beer and planning although we had only completed about 6 miles of the 21 at this point.
Leaving the pub is always sad but the small valley through which we passed at the start of our bit of the Shropshire Way more than made up for the nostalgia.
Not completely free of water.
We met a couple of strollers like ourselves. They were walking from the Shrewsbury direction. They mentioned that we might find the going a little muddy. They were accurate to a fault.
The views one gets from a footpath are always worth the effort.
Of course, we had forgotten the wise advice of the couple coming in the other direction and were committed to strolling along a green lane. Our green lane was a sort of brown, nettley lane.
In order to remember the wonders of the Shropshire Way I stopped to take a photo of the interesting ford which we found. It was about half a mile further on that I realised that the pouch containing my camera was empty. Coming up the lane behind us was a large tractor with a sprayer attached. It was with a heavy heart and leaden step that I retraced my steps. Would I find my camera? Would it have been crushed by the leviathon?
When we got to Lyth Hill we were about done in to be honest. Only about 5 miles left though so a few chunks of salami, france compte and a bit of bread soon perked up our ancient frames. The mud had taken its toll on our stamina but, being steadfast souls we set off again. It was at this point that we became aware of a sudden darkening of the sky and the odd dollop of water dropping onto our naked heads. “Wonderful!” we cried in unison. “We can test our waterproof clothing.” Sheltering under a hedge we put on our homemade waterproofs and made for a Waitrose dinner for two and home.
During the day we learned a lot about the Shropshire Way, our Shropshire bodies and our equipment.
Firstly, the Shropshire Way.
The scenery is wonderful but the signposts seemed to be for those strolling from Shrewsbury to South Shropshire. We two, travelling against the grain, were disappointed at every turn to see signs encouraging those heading southwards but nothing for we two moving northwards. Quite a lot of the way is in need of hardcore or drainage.
Not as good as we had imagined.
My waterproof shoes not waterproof at all. In fact they appeared to be hygroscopic.
Waterproof kilts made by Janet? Superb in every way. Easy to put on and worked as expected.
So that is that for now.