I don’t Mynd if you don’t Mynd….

Well…this is the big one…a monster walk covering all of the other side of the Church Stretton valley – a loop of hills facing The Long Mynd scheduled to be over 18 miles long, have a total height gain of 1100 metres and take a total time of 8 and a half hours…

The hamlet of Enchmarsh….
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This week, Mrs Hill had successfully printed off all 18 pages of our monster walk. This route was so big that the map covered 3 of the pages and there were 80 points waymarked together with accompanying photos..

As we left Sheila behind in a small lay by my son sent me a Fathers Day greeting…he also told me that he’d put the RAF search and rescue on standby…oh how we laughed when at that moment a helicopter flew over us …
It would be a very long time before we saw Sheila again…..

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A gentle start…..

The first part of our walk was a fairly gentle route which led to The Lawleys.
This is a dinosaur ridge of a hill that we did on it’s own a few weeks ago to test my broken toe. This time though, it was just the first of many Hill’s that we’d visit ….
Written walking routes always have a personality ( e.g. Roy Woodcock’s routes always go wrong after half way because he’s visited the pub for lunch !) and today’s route was written by a bit of a joker…part of the route was taking us through a farmyard that he described as “looking like an angry farmer might appear with a shotgun saying that the path had been closed for years “…..
Our walking writer didn’t meet the farmer, but guess what ..we did !
He didn’t have a shotgun but he did have a Shogun and he did politely but very firmly inform us that there was no right of way over his land…
I was the height of diplomatic charm throughout our confrontation and managed to negotiate safe passage through the farmer’s land to continue our adventure.
Mrs Hill made a mental note to email the joker to update him…..

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The double ridge of The Lawleys….

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At the top with the bird….Caer Caradoc in the distance…

Coming down the hill we could see the Caradocs in front of us.
At the bottom of the hill, where a few weeks ago we’d looped back to the right, this time we carried on straight ahead.

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Fields of wild flowers….

Everywhere we’ve walked this summer the field’s have been full of wild flowers and it’s been wonderful to see…

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Caer Caradoc..a mere 560 million years old…

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Pink marble found on the way up the hill…

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This is an amazing place which was used as an Iron Age fort and it’s easy to see why…
The locals would have had a fantastic view of the surrounding area and at troubled times would’ve brought all their livestock and belongings to the fortress on top of the hill…

On a normal walking day doing The Lawleys and The Caradocs would have been a good day…..but not today…..
Today was set to be a real endurance test…getting the miles in our legs ready for the C2C…so on we went..
Next was the wooded dome of Helmeth Hill with it’s mast on top and then on to the open expanse of Ragleth Hill ..
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It was just after this point that my phone decided that enough was enough so no more photos…

From the far end of Ragleth we looped East then North East heading for home….it wasn’t the end of the Hill’s though….
After a walk through the hamlets of Ragdon and Chelmick we came to Hope Bowdler and turned North to climb the mighty Hope Bowdler Hill ( 426m )…and then our final hill, Willstone….

At this point our GPS decided to call it a day, and in the fading light it was down to my map reading skills and a compass…
It was approaching 9 p.m. as we wearily walked up the very steep lane back to Enchmarsh and the welcoming comfort of Sheila…almost 10 hours since we’d last seen her..

” Oh ” said Mrs Hill ..”I’ve lost my sunglasses, they were perched on my hat, they must have dropped off when I took my hat off a few minutes ago “….
“I’ll just pop back down the lane and get them” said I with a smile…..

A local walk for local people…

A few day’s ago I sent an email to someone in Manchester.
The mail included a current photograph of the bridle path where I broke my toe in April.
The person receiving my email said “what a beautiful part of the world you live in ” …and that set me thinking.
We normally drive for miles to get to our walks and..let’s be honest, if you want to go up a mountain, you’ve got to drive to get there but ..if you want to get some miles in, why not do it from your doorstep.

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So, here’s our doorstep…

We crossed over the road from our house and after just a few yards we walked onto our local bridle path.
Within just a few minutes from our front door we were in the country..

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After a mile or so we came onto woodland trails, well used by a local horse riding school..( owned by an old friend of ours that taught us to ride..thanks Helen ! )

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Further on down the path we came to open ground..

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Fleur in the flowers…

At the bottom of this field we came to Caunsall, on the canal and then, on to Wolverley…

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As my colleague said, “what a beautiful part of the world you live in “….

Sometimes it takes a stranger to point something out to you that you should have known all along..

We walked back from Wolverley through Churchill and Blakedown, a total of around 16 miles without getting into Sheila at all…!

The long and short of it …..

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Today’s adventure was scheduled to be our longest walk yet – a 15.6 miler starting at the village of Knucklas near Knighton in Powys.

Not only was this a long walk, it also included a walk to the summit of Beacon Hill at 547m which meant that the estimated completion time was almost 7 hours.

With this in mind we decided to make an early start.
I prepared our delicious breakfast of poached egg on toast while Mrs Hill printed off the route for our walk and  assembled the necessary victuals for such a lengthy adventure.

She lovingly made chicken sandwiches on fresh, crusty bread.
Delicious and nutritious fruit cake was added to our portable picnic as well as fruit, fruity sweets and squash and tea to drink.
A veritable cornucopia of carbohydrates in fact, all assembled to see us through the long day ahead…

The journey to Knucklas was fairly uneventful except for our early stopover at Aldi to purchase a pair of solar chargers to power our GPS guidance system and my phone.
I was well aware that the anticipated time that our walk was going to take would leave both devices out of power.

How well prepared were we ???
Proper explorers eh …

The first inkling that today was not going to be totally straightforward was when we began our walk and realised that the instructions printed off, which should have consisted of 6 pages, only contained 5.
The missing page was THE MAP.!!!

Not to worry we thought, we have our GPS..

So, off we went with me carrying a rucksack laden with provisions…
The first couple of instructions were easy to follow as we made our way up the hillside waiting for the GPS to log on to the satellites…

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This is the moment when Mrs Hill realised that our GPS wasn’t working…
It thought that we were still in Stourbridge…  😥

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With no map and no working GPS we had no choice but to turn around and go back to Sheila…

We did take a slight detour to visit the remains of Knucklas castle where someone had thought it was a great idea to leave a carving of a giant thorn??

I did take the opportunity to sample one of Mrs Hill’s wonderful chicken sandwiches at this point..yum yum…

With sad faces we now walked slowly down the hill, through the village and got back in to Sheila.

Our planned 15.6 mile walk had turned into a 2 mile stroll..

Shortly after driving away Mrs Hill said “I’ll try disconnecting the battery on the GPS and reboot it – let’s see if that works” ….
After just a few short moments it powered up again and instantly displayed our exact location, tracking us as we drove towards Ludlow…

Oh how we laughed…..

A walk on the Welsh side ..

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Today’s Tilley adventure was in Wales, in the beautiful Monmouthshire countryside starting in the village of Llanvetherine…

We were in the area to say “happy new home” to Sam and Wayne, our daughter and her partner, who’d just moved into the area.

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Sam and Wayne are new to this walking lark..but it can become addictive…

The last time we took a new walker out we did 5 miles and it nearly killed her…

Five months later she’d given up work and walked the pilgrims route from France, across the Pyrenees and into Spain..500 miles.!!!

You know who I’m talking about Julia ..!

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Less than a mile into our mini adventure this is what we found…!
This caravan was the actual one used in the film “The Wind in the Willows” and it’s now an unusual holiday home available to rent out..

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This is an absolutely beautiful area…

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A little bit further on we found this….

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This is White Castle….just a random castle at the top of the hill.!
Apparently, there are 3 of them in the area that can all be done as part of an 18 mile route..
We shall return….

From something very old to ….

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Something just as old (possibly)…

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At the end of every adventure…there’s a pub..!
For those of you uncertain about the Tilley hat, here’s Mrs Hill modelling it for you.
I think she was giving me some encouraging words at the time…