For various reasons I’ve been getting out a fair bit lately, to the extent that a friend I don’t see too often recently asked me if I was now living outside permanently (I took this as a compliment). Having two young children and all the responsibilities that go with it obviously limit the amount of time I can reasonably spend wandering around empty hills and spending nights in a tent, in years to come I like the idea of going away for months at a time or spending whole seasons backpacking. Or maybe I’ve just been reading Into The Wild again…….
For the time being I’m very content making do with a ‘little and often’ approach to backpacking and squeezing as many miles and nights in a tent as I can whenever the opportunity arises. Such was the case last week when I had 24 hours free and nothing important to do, a perfect opportunity to go and explore The Long Mynd in the Shropshire Hills, not the wildest corner of the earth but somewhere I’d not been before plus it wasn’t too hard to get to.
Heavy rain showers had drenched much of the country for days and days, but by late Monday afternoon the last of the soggy grey clouds drifted off to the north leaving behind a cool but clear summer evening. The car was routinely ditched in the quiet little town of Church Stretton whilst I made for the Long Mynd via the Carding Mill Valley.
There was a short but rather steep climb up onto Calf Ridge where a few hours were spent at dusk pushing through dense chest high bracken which was still damp from the British Summer. There are no real monster hills round here but the steep sides don’t tend to flatten out into the valleys which made finding a horizontal pitch a bit of a mare, a clearing in the bracken close to the stream did just fine for me. I watched a slow sunset from the top of Long Synalds before heading down for the night. The temperature dropped enough to put a few extra layers on and it felt like the first breaths of Autumn were in the wind.
Camping close to a small town and not being too far from a road put me a little on edge, I prefer to have a good few hours walk from the nearest road when sleeping out. As it goes the only night time disturbance was purely self inflicted, I woke about 3:30 and discovered that such was incline I was camped on I’d slid out the door during the night and had come to rest in a patch of wet bracken. At least I didn’t wake up in a stream…..
I was lucky enough to experience a fine morning, warm sunshine dried the dew from the ground whilst I had breakfast by the stream and thought about absolutely nothing.
Anyway here’s what I saw……