Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Thor’s Cave

Thor's Cave

This cave was created over thousands of years by the effects of water and wind on the limestone rocks formed from layers of dead marine animals between 280 and 360 million years ago. The area was submerged under a shallow, warm sea near the equator, and the hill would have been like a tropical reef.

The name may be a corruption of ‘tors’ (meaning hills), or it may come from Thor, the Norse god of thunder.

Around 20,000 years ago the huge cavern would have been used for shelter by both humans and animals.  Bones of bears and giant red deer have been found in the area, and Thor’s Cave is the site of a Bronze Age Burial.

Sue and I visited it yesterday.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Saturday/Sunday 2-3 October 2010 – A Visit to Ironbridge and The Wrekin

Ironbridge, built in 1779 by Abraham Darby; cost £6000

Ten of us assembled in The Swan in Ironbridge on Friday evening before adjourning to GS’s range of accommodations, carefully selected from his Observer’s Book of Fawlty Towers.

Saturday morning found us joined by Keith and Carol and lingering at the old iron bridge, with Tove visiting a local café to purchase the continental breakfast that the Robin ‘Music til Late’ Hood* was unable to supply.  It seems that in the absence of a chef, breakfast there had been cooked by the cleaner.  Perhaps the chef had been one of those making merry until 4am in the room below the B&B accommodation.

Those of us staying at the Bird in Hand had been relieved to find that its 12noon to 10.30pm opening hours were strictly observed…

Ironbridge 

Photocall at the start of our walk

Here’s the route we embarked upon after a photocall in the sunshine.  It was 22km, with over 500 metres ascent, taking around 7 hours.

Saturday's route - 22km, 546 metres ascent, 7 hours

Shortly after gaining the thick woodland that seems abundant in the Ironbridge Gorge, we came across this enticing sign.

"Let's go that way..."

We strolled by museums – there are lots around here – and over chicken wired duck boards, up and down ladders, along grassy paths strewn with conkers, and past some of Telford’s numerous lakes.

A short loop took us through the church yard at Holy Trinity Church in Dawley, a parish in which my grandfather was vicar, before the new town of Telford was even a planner’s dream.

It was hot.  Chocolate caramel shortbread and apple and raisin cake were washed down with tea and coffee.

We passed close by Telford Town Centre.  It appeared to be inhabited by Old Mother Hubbard and some dinosaurs.  We, of course, boosted the dinosaur population.

A brief pause from walking found us transfixed for a while by a magical performance from The Invisible Shakespeare Company.  The audience was sparse, but it was fair value for the price.

It was a poorly attended performance

Further on, not far from Blists Hill Museum, the All Nations Inn provided welcome sustenance by way of some local beers and a black pudding, cheese and onion buttie for Keith.

Refreshments at the All Nations Inn

The beers had a particularly drastic effect on one of our party, who later hastened across the widest level crossing in Britain without realising that the risk of being hit by a train was relatively low.

First aid kits were deployed for the second time in six days, but Graham’s was, luckily, only a flesh wound.

Rail hopping goes wrong

How things change!  I used to come train spotting here!

There are more pictures here.  Or you could wait until the end…

Our day concluded at the Swan, where a reasonable meal was served, though the residents at the Robin Hood were entertained by juke box bandits until ‘late’ – or should that read ‘early’?

Sunday

Rain hammered down on the thin roof of our penthouse suite.  It was indeed an extremely wet day.  A shame for Robin and Jenny, who had joined us only the previous evening.

We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast.

After which the rain was still hammering down.

Sunday morning - what next?

So whilst half the party had urgent hill-bagging appointments, the remaining seven of us chose to visit the Tile Museum.

Very interesting it was too.

The tile museum (1)

Here are some exhibits – above, a typical butcher’s shop; below, a typical fireplace for a ‘modern home’ of the 1930’s.

The tile museum (2)

I know such fireplaces were still being made in the mid 1960’s, as the memory of carrying them from delivery lorries to the living rooms of Harry Peacock’s lovely new houses is still scarred on what remains of my brain.

They were Heavy.  But not as hot as the bags of cement, fresh from the cement factory, which had to be carried up to a small shed on the top of a hill in a pre-re-enactment of Sean Connery’s performance in ‘The Hill’.  We student workers got all the best jobs in those days!

We spun out the tour of the museum, and a compulsory visit to its coffee shop, until lunch time.

It was still raining, but our resident medic, after holding a brief surgery, prescribed fresh air.  So we went up a nearby hillock known as the Wrekin. 

Here’s our route – 5km, over 250 metres ascent, in 1.5 hours.

Our route up the Wrekin - 5km, 269 metres ascent, 1.5 hours

My father used to take us up here every Christmas morning for a number of years in the 1950’s.  It hasn’t really changed much since then, but today’s views were less than inspiring.

It was still raining...

Even when the rain stopped there was little visibility, and Jenny never did make it to the summit, having become tragically misplaced en route.  She concealed her disappointment well, and was consoled by luckily encountering us at a random point on the descent.

So by the time this photo was taken our 14 strong band was down to 4 plus the photographer (self timing proved impossible due to the camera blowing away), 7 having gone bagging, Jenny having got lost, and Robin having wandered off into the mist.

The Wrekin - The Summit

Here’s the view on a day with slightly better visibility in the direction of Snowdon, a pimple on the horizon some 71 miles distant.

A view from The Wrekin on a sunny day

So, another jolly weekend was over (not so jolly for those kept awake by the antics of the Robin Hood’s clientele), and everyone dispersed, with Blackpool and Manchester City supporters in nearly as euphoric moods as the European Ryder Cup golfing team.

In case you didn’t click on the earlier link, there’s a slide show of the weekend’s photos here, if anyone is interested. 

The weekend wasn’t over for everyone.  There is now a short postscript of three final images provided by our illustrious hill-bagging department, who report as follows:

“Not a good menu choice for us….car got stuck in a flooded stream. Needed a tractor to pull us out. There was water up to the gear stick... see if you can see the hidden sign saying ford / unsuitable for motors…they say things go in threes – no sleep in the pub, smashed up leg, flooded car…hope that’s the lot for now!”

At least there were no ripped hands on barbed wire fences, though I suppose that’s of little comfort just now…

* I suppose you could always be the first to record your experiences at The Robin Hood on the proliferation of pub ‘appreciation’ websites.