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Reviews Jul-Sep 2002

Long Mynd Weekend 6/7th July

Caer Caradoctors, 6th July

A frown appeared on the week-end organiser’s face as he surveyed the weather forecast for the Saturday and Sunday. Clouds and rain predicted, Shefali Oza. However, this time the winsome weather- woman was wrong.

For a while it appeared that her prediction would be correct as cars travelled over the Long Mynd in foggy and rainy conditions that would go unremarked upon in November. Floods across narrow roads had to be forded before arriving at the – CBR600F containing – Bridges Youth Hostel.

Only minutes later we were settled in the Horse Shoe pub, sampling some fine Timothy Taylor ale and reflecting upon this summer’s non- arrival and Shefali’s gloomy, Goretex demanding predictions.

It was unnecessary, as the weather was beautiful.

Our Saturday amble was to follow a route through Ashes Hollow, onto the main ridge of the Mynd down to the Pound Inn and up the Lawley and Caer Caradoc finishing at the extortionately priced car-park in Church Stretton.

We started with a dodgy drive along the Church Stretton road from Bridges, waiting every thirty seconds while an off-road vehicle that doesn’t ploughed on towards us. However we were soon seeking, partially successfully, free parking outside the supermarket.

We soon found that we could have parked on the Mynd itself. As we reached the vicinity of Pole Bank, an elderly gentleman and his spouse followed us up a track in a 400 Rover. In true courteous rambler fashion, we made him crawl along behind us at walking pace until he could stand it no longer and dived off through the undergrowth to join lots of other Rovers and people with Radio masts. Obviously the CB revolution has only a elderly adherants left in this age of CU 2MRW TXTS.

At the Pound Inn, there was a token gesture at rain totally 37 droplets of rain whilst we drank more Timothy Taylor.

Caer Caradoc The final run up Caer Caradoc proved the most rewarding, with views of the Lawley, Wrekin, South Shropshire Hills and Wales.

Then it was back to the Horse Shoe for a very large prawn cocktail and a superb Shropshire Blue coated steak (the Shropshire blue turned out to be a cheese and not a sheep as I’d first thought).

Stiperstone the Crows, 7th July

The walk for the Sunday was suggested by the Footpaths Secretary. However, he left the group secretary to fumble with poorly detailed Landranger 1:50,000 and navigate. This he did admirably, of course.

Stiperstones The walk commenced in bright sunshine and continued this way all day. The Stiperstones are a dramatic outcrop of rocks on the Shropshire skyline and proved a pleasant challenge at the start of the day as we all climbed up to the trig point to be photographed.

From this, the route wound down through the fields and the path deteriorated to nothing, as we reached Mad Jack’s pub in Habberley. Here the walk leader indulged in a surprisingly rare steak because “he was hungry” before using the calories consumed to guide his charges on the return leg.

Stiperstones Pinnacle The route then followed a slightly different route via Maddox Coppice, back up to the Stiperstones accompanied by the cawing of what the sign at the car park informed us, were ravens. At the top once again, further photo opportunities were to be had as various members of the group queued to climb up and stand precariously atop a pointy bit of rock at the on the ridge. The leader looked on from the trig point nursing a seriously grazed knee and therefore too infirm to perform the feat himself.

We finished our walk and drove over to Church Stretton en route home, at Berry’s tea shop to imbibe of their wide selection of teas. It was at this point that the walk leader and organiser noticed that the colour of his neck had turned to beetroot due to the unexpected sunshine. But who’s complaining?



Kinder Scout, 14th July

Peat in the Heat

The British weather finally turned up trumps for once as fourteen people gathered at Hayfield, keeping Ambre Solaire in business as they prepared for a day of sunshine. The leather-clad Secretary though seemed more interested in showing off his shiny new two-wheeled toy, as one member enjoyed the thrill of a pillion ride ( round the car park ! ).

Mount Famine ascent A mix-up in meeting arrangements meant that we finally got under way only half an hour late. A steady ascent of Mount Famine was interrupted for an essential drinks stop, before continuing over the summit and on over Brown Knoll. The leader's offer of an "extra bit" over South Head was universally rejected - I wonder why ?

Kinder Sout summit The usual "let's all climb on the boulder by the trig point" photos were duly taken before we carried on past the Downfall - as usual merely a trickle of water over the rocks. A descent via William Clough and over to Little Hayfield led back to Hayfield itself, with the OS only showing one "missing" footpath to confuse the navigational skill of the leader. William Clough

A much deserved raid on the ice cream shop was followed by an equally deserved raid on the local pub. Thanks to everyone who came - hope the sunburn wasn't too bad !



The Roaches, 21st July

Wandering to Wincle

Roaches Summit After an initial confusion of finding each other at the start point - there are many lay-bys at the bottom of the Roaches! A group of 13 of us set off - the first path was less than clearly marked but with a bit of assistance from Mick and Paul I found my way - and we continued across the fields towards Danebridge with the sun coming out.

We made a timely arrival in Danebridge for lunch and a visit to the pub at Wincle just up the road - we were able to enjoy the sunshine in the beer garden before back tracking to pick up the path beside the River Dane.

Roaches The path from here on was clear and we continued on stopping for a bit of a break at the far end of the Roaches - we then continued along the through the woods to arrive at Roach End where as ever the ice cream van was waiting for us.

The sun continued to shine as we made our way along the top of the Roaches, the clear weather giving excellent views. A scramble down off the Roaches rounded the day off. All in all an enjoyable day despite initial hiccups.



Gresty, 28th July 2002

Nettles and Swamps

We all met at the pub car park, it was amazing to see so many new faces together with the regulars. At about 9.45 we started off across a parched meadow and then onwards around a very silly diversion caused by road workings.

Gresty Crops We then continued across a bridge over the railway and eventually came across the P-way Team dressed in bright orange jackets, looking rather like a bowl of fruit, stuffing stones under railway sleepers . Judging by the comments we received they thought that walking in the country was a very strange thing to be doing. Across another field and then we squeezed through a hole in somebody's hedge, out and on to a road, which eventually led us on to the pub called the Coronet. It was here that the sun really took its hat off radiating lots of heat down on to us all in the beer garden.

The Swamp After lunch we all set off for the Swamp and waded through piles of nettles and thistles, over bridges across moats infested with duck weed. The aquatic life i.e. those with webbed feet, had dozed off in the heat. The mosquitoes had also gone to sleep, some of them were resting on us. Fortunately it was far too hot for blood sucking.

On emerging from the swamp the heat became so intense that the ramble had to stop and became a pub crawl instead. A very interesting and enjoyable day was had by all.



Goyt Valley, 4th August

Goyt Gander

Goyt Valley Despite heavy overnight rain and early morning drizzle, we were fortunate enough to warrant some decent weather for this long but equally rewarding circuit of the Goyt Valley with stunning views all round.

Shining Tor Our trek took us upwards onto the ridge of Shining Tor, Cats Tor and Windgather Rocks ( butties and chunky Kit Kats here!) before dropping down over open moorland with views to make your mouth water !. Alongside Fernilee Reservoir we followed a meandering woodland path with some much needed shade before meeting up with Erwood Reservoir and - just what the doctor ordered - an ice-cream van !

Erwood Reservoir Our final leg took us over the opposite side of the valley across undulating pastures and then skirting the edge of the gorse and heather-clad moorland. As we finished our journey on a minor road winding upwards at the side of a babbling brook, it became very dark, eerily quiet and the storm started. We were lucky enough to see only one flash of orange lightning as we dashed to our cars - dry - just !



Church Stretton, 11th August

A walk leaders lot is not a happy one.

When I planned this walk (the first I have officially led), I had visions of dozens of happy walkers following me. It was therefore something of a disappointment when only three people turned up (that's not including myself Paul!). It was also a disappointment to discover that the sunny weather I'd ordered hadn't arrived and that instead it was overcast with intermittent drizzle. Determined to make the best of things I set off with my small band of faithful (ha!) followers towards All Stretton. Jane Butters, clearly sensing my disappointment, decided to provide both the chatter and the blisters of a dozen or so ordinary walkers, the later being supplied twice within the first two miles. As the walk progressed, everyone (that sounds like a lot of people doesn't it?) seemed to be enjoying them self and I began to feel a little happier.

I had planned to stop for lunch at Pole Bank Viewpoint, which affords majestic views of the surrounding countryside (we were able to see the Wrekin). Unfortunately, around 100 other people had the same idea. After a very quick bite and a couple of photos, we moved on. We were again alone in the hills until we saw a man, walking what looked like a bear, coming towards us. As he drew nearer, the bear turned out to be a dog (some unusual oriental breed apparently). The man, who I think was a ranger (got to check those hills are still there!), was keen to point out that we were due for rain shortly. As we continued on our way to Little Stretton, I couldn't help thinking that I must have done something terribly wicked in a previous life and that I hoped I'd enjoyed it.

Once we had reached Little Stretton we made our way to the nearest pub. This turned out to be a bad move as the barman grumbled about providing Kathy with a pot of tea and just did his best to ignore Jane (I understand he'll make a full recovery). We quickly left the pub and decided to press on. Once back at Church Stretton we found what looked like a nice teashop, only to discover once inside that it was actually a pub (don't ask). The perfect end to a perfect day.

Neil (I'm not the slightest bit bitter) Scott

Oh and by the way, there were more people on this walk than Paul's.


Baslow and Froggatt Edge, Sunday 1st September

Nautical Notions

Nelson's Monument After fighting our way through the traffic queuing for Chatsworth's Country Fair a select band of six of us met at the Robin Hood Car Park in Baslow. The sunshine was glorious as we climbed up to Nelson's monument, after an obligatory photo stop we headed to Wellington's monument (all very nautical).

Froggatt Edge We enjoyed clear views as we headed along the edges to Curbar Gap and then onto the Grouse Inn for lunch, mouths watered over Phil and Roland's lamb dinners. We headed back via White Edge enjoying a conveniently located ice-cream van in Curbar Gap and retraced our steps along Baslow Edge. A final climb lead us back to the car park in time to join the queues heading out of Chatsworth.



Lake District, 6th-8th September

Pottering in Patterdale

Patterdale It's a long way to Patterdale, in the rain, on a Friday night. Still, everyone made it in time for last orders at the local.

Striding Edge Saturday morning saw us donning full waterproofs before we'd even left the car park. "Why I are we doing this ?" thought the footpaths officer, as we set off in the rain.

A climb towards Striding Edge was interrupted when miraculously the sun came out, and we had to take off all that gear again (apart from those who stubbornly refused to believe that the rain had finished for the day). Striding Edge was crossed before a sharp ascent to the summit of Helvellyn, and yet more showers. The lunch stop was disturbed by a sheep that seemed to prefer sandwiches to eating grass. Suprisingly, it failed to understand the few choice words spoken to it, and had to be repelled by more physical means. Striding Edge

Much deliberation on Sunday morning as to what to do was finally resolved with a decision to walk over Boredale Hause and then down to Ullswater. This time lunch was disturbed by killer midges. We returned along the lake shore path, dodging the crowds brought out by the afternoon sunshine, before arriving back at the hostel and facing the prospect of the M6 once again.



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