Archive for July 2022

River Fun in the Heatwave   13 comments

The past few weeks have been a bit too hot for any outings to the hills so its been river based activities for us.

But first we had some driving related fun with a very happy morning spent at the Kinsham Raceway.

Apart from the embarrassment of being overtaken by TJF we had a great time. They are friendly folk and its a very relaxed atmosphere (less officious than some places we’ve tried)

The intrepid racers!

After dropping TJS off at the station for his trip onwards to Manchester and Cape Verde we headed back to Dilwyn for a pub lunch at the Crown Inn. Slight embarrassment at having to wait outside on the village green for it to open!

Being early meant we could bag their fine comfy tables and chairs in the sun. A fine place to spend a couple of hours with a pint (or two) and lunch.

Onwards to a secretive little spot on the River Lugg near Kingsland.

The water is only just deep enough for a swim (betagthough there is a much bigger and deeper pool below a weir just downstream) but the situation is superb.

There were fish, dragonflies and damselflies in abundance and not another soul around.

Perfect spot to spend an hour or two before heading home for a BBQ (via the fbedürftig shop for an ice cream)

Next day we spent at our local swimming hole on the Wye at Bredwardine.

Another chance for TJF to make Paddle Boarding look really easy.

She really does have the technique and balance for this. Lets just say that I don’t!

A fine looking board it is though.

The following weekend we had our friends from Macclesfield down for a visit. Like the previous year they brought the full on heatwave with them so we spent a day down at the Warren in Hay on Wye for a day of more swimming and Paddle Boarding.

Next day we went back to Bredwardine again trying to stay cool in the heat but I didn’t take any photos. We are very lucky to have such a great few water spots so near to home, a real bonus on those rare times when the heat descends on the UK.

A Different Hay Bluff Circuit   12 comments

With the Prof back home for the summer (well some of it anyway) it was time for a walk. I wanted to show him the much better way up Hay Bluff than the very steep ascent up its northern edge.

Rather than the promised forecast of “substantially dry” it was gloomy, grey and damp when we parked up. Rather than head straight up to the edges we decided to reverse my planned vague route and took a walk along the road and paths to the far side of Lord Hereford’s Knob and climbed up to the saddle to the east of the summit.

We’d hoped things might brighten up by then but it was ruhig gloomy and decidedly windy and chilly (remember that!)

We decided to head down the Nant Bwch valley to give more time for the bright skies to intervene.

As you can see – they did.

Its a beautiful little valley and quiet as its tucked way from the main Black Mountains routes. We had a snack and cuppa to celebrate.

There is a nice green path through the bracken that traverses around the nose of the Darren Lwyd ridge and avoids losing any height.

As you turn the corner the views of the mystically named Vale of Ewyas are breathtaking.

Its a long walk along the edge of the ridge towards Lord Hereford’s Knob.

Rather than head to the summit we found a nice path traversing down towards the pass where we found a spot out of that chilly wind to have lunch.

Its a great route down to the pass with some great views, that I’ve not walked before. One for the future.

The steep climb back onto the edge of Ffynnon y Parc edge that leads to Hay Bluff gives grand views across the escarpment that overlooks the Wye Valley.

The path used to be something of a boggy mess but those good people in the National Park have done some superb work to improve it.

Its a fine high level stroll to finish off the walk.

We headed back down my new best route from Hay Bluff (following Offa’s Dyke), a wonderfully gentle angled path with top views out over Shropshire and the Marches. Never done this exact route before, made up as we went along. Likely it will become a favourite in future.

The Churchstoke Alps   15 comments

Overstating them a little but I like the moniker!

We’d arranged to meet UF for a walk and as I’d been telling him about this cracking little range for ages he was keen to see what I was banging on about.

A slightly disrupted start to the day as he’d forgotten his boots and had to drive back home to pick them up meaning he’d be about an hour late. This gave time for a cunning plan to slip in a bonus hill, a missing Marilyn in my list.

Heath Mynd is not a character from an Emily Bronte novel but a small outlier of the Stiperstones range. We found a small parking spot on the southern flank and proceeded to dash up to the top, partly so we weren’t then late ourselves and partly because there were heavy rain showers around and I could see one approaching.

There was a fine track for the first part, possibly servicing this small plantation stuck out on its side.

Fantastic views to our mountains for later in the day.

Heath is an apt name as the summit is cloaked in dense heather. There was a path to the top but we only found it on the way down and the way up was something of an undergrowth bashing experience.

Great views across the Marches.

And the storm we raced back down to beat to the car – just!

As it was chucking it down when we met UF, we decided to have a bacon butty in the cafe before setting off. By the time we set off, the sun was out and all was glorious if a little windy. The grand view of Roundton Hill from Todleth Hill.

And in reverse.

Stiperstones from Corndon Hill

Sadly the wind was roaring so opportunities to stop and admire the views were few and far between.

Eventually we found a tiny sheltered spot on Lan Fawr as a storm passed over. Our luck was in as there was a small gap between two very dark clouds and we only had the merest sprinkling of rain.

As you can see from these photos, very lucky indeed!

There was clearly some very impressive rain around.

We returned over Todleth Hill. This sunny picture belying what was about to come.

Heath Mynd and the Long Mynd in the far distance.

Looking along the edge of the storm which I thought might miss us. Our luck ran out and it didn’t, we got a thorough soaking on the way back to the car. A change of clothes and a cracking meal in the Green Dragon at Little Stretton set us back on track. Another fine day on this immensely satisfying and very quiet and unspoilt little range of “Alps”.

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