A short drive to Byton found us back on the Mortimer Trail that we'd discovered earlier. That led us up to near the summit of Shobdon Hill, the actual summit being somewhere next to a track in the middle of a wood. Limited views. Still misty. 5km in an hour and twenty minutes.
We then drove to Kington and knocked off Bradnor Hill. By now the weather was brighter and we had some views. Not being in an Iron Age settlement nor in the middle of a wood helped. We were at the top of a golf course. Tuneful skylarks vied with a kestrel for space in the sky. Our 4km circuit from the club house took about 40 minutes, and we could have halved that if we'd driven further up the golf course.
Do you detect a theme? Martin S is a 'hill bagger'. He 'collects' Marilyns - hills with a relative height of 500 feet in relation to their closest 'relation'. These hills are all 'Marilyns'.
It was now time for a break in the 'walkers village' of Kington, where the Border Bean café provided drinks and excellent bean pesto soup.
Suitably refreshed, we crossed the valley and headed up Hergest Ridge, where (you guessed it?) the summit achieves a relative height of over 500 feet. By now the sun was shining and the skylarks were still warbling energeticaly. At 426 metres this was our high point of the day. Martin S celebrated by dancing on the summit (pictured above)(before he fell over). Returning the same way, this 6km jaunt took nearly an hour and a half.
Then a 10 mile drive to Weobley put us in position for our final ascent of the day, up Burton Hill. This started pleasantly enough. But after passing a JCB that was on 'drainage duty', we encountered ever deeper mud that eventually gave way to trouser ripping brambles as we floundered in dense woodland, searching for the highest point of the hill (a 'bagging' requirement) before adjourning to the trig point that was on a lower path. More mud and a rejection of our planned descent route saw us enjoying the afternoon sunshine on the long ridge, before returning to the car via 3km of 'not too bad' tarmac beside a variety of Herefordshire apple orchards. 9km in a little over two hours.
Phew - that was the best part of 28km and 800 metres ascent. Not surprising that we got back to our Travelodge base some 10 hours after leaving it this morning.
Luckily, the Salwey Arms was on good form again and saw to all our needs.
An excellent day, in lovely weather.