Having felt that I had been a little lazy on Sunday in the Peak District I was determined to make amends today, and an awesome day it was. I picked Paul up in West Bromwich at 07:30 which was a relative sleep in after the morning going up to Glossup previously. We headed straight for Church Stretton and found somewhere to park, which was in a bay directly below the Gaer Stone.
We walked back about 50m towards Church Stretton before proceeding up a lane past Gaerstones Farm and taking to the hillside near Helmeth Hill. It was quite misty at this point, and it was not clear what the weather would be like, though we were fairly sure that it could not possibly be as dire tas the day previous.
We descended down to a col prior to Caer Caradoc, along a slippery muddy track. I don’t think that Paul was too impressed when I suggested that our predicament was somewhat similiar to that of West Bromwich Albion. The track up Caer Caradoc was much better and far less eroded, though it was very steep. We were soon on the ridge looking at some crags below Three Fingers Rock, and then sauntered along to the top of the hill, which is an ancient hill fort. Looking across from the summit The Long Mynd was still truly encased in mist, and the surrounding hills were fairing little better.
The situation improved rapidly whilst sat on top of Caer Caradoc, and only after half an hour did we meet our first compatriots of the day. After a period of time we headed of in an Easterly direction, meeting several groups on their way up.
We pushed on across the sheep filled fields around Cwm Farm, and then followed a track up the North East side of Willstone Hill. It soon became apparent that this track would not visit the summit, and we made a beeline directly for the Battle Stones on top where we had a little scramble on the rocks.
We left the summit, and proceeded in the bright sunshine to tick the tops of Hope Bowdler Hill, and spent some time scrambling on the Gaer Stone.
Descending to the road, we set off in the car to Callow Hill, Paul a little disgruntled that I made him take his boots off, but he got his own back by making me drive through a whopping great river. There is good parking just after the ford past Strefford below Wenlock Edge, and also directly below Callow Hill between it and Wenlock Edge. We set off up Wenlock Edge through what is the strangest path I have ever walked on. It was pure clay, and the slide marks from tourists in trainers went on for yards. I’m glad that I didn’t have to wash any of their clothes afterwards. Come to think of it, I don’t even have to wash my own….Cheers Mum!
Once we had attained Wenlock Edge we followed it North Easterly for a short while, perhaps a hundred metres or so, before turning downhill towards Callow Hill.
Only on Callow Hill did we really encounter crowds today, passing a couple of families on the route up another quagmire of a path through the forest. The summit itself is a bit of a building site at the moment, with the tower being restored. The trig point, bizarrely, does not lie on the highest point of the hill, but 2m below, and is the other side of a ghastly barbed wire fence. On the summit we were confronted by people, dogs, 4x4s and Quads. I personally couldn’t wait to get down in to the forest.
It was a little more difficult to descend out of the forest than anticipated, but we were soon fighting our way through the fields where we found a dead badger. We followed a country road back to the car where we found a group fishing in the stream spreading litter everywhere. They had disappeared by the time I took my boots off though.