Leaving Martin S to venture into the depths of Mid Wales, I set off home from Woofferton in fog, after scraping a good layer of frost from the car.
Deciding to maintain the spirit of the trip, I drove up out of the cloud to the quarry below Titterstone Clee Hill. It soon became apparent that I was lucky to avoid trial bikes up here, their tracks being everywhere. All I saw was a frosty landscape with fog below and sadly no other hills poking their noses into the sunshine. The top photo was taken near the 533 metre summit. It was cool, but after an exhilarating 20 minutes and less than 2km I was back at the car. A radar station near the summit, together with the quarry ruins, give quite an industrial feel to this hill. Signposts indicate that the Shropshire Way passes through here.
Onwards in the car to Stokesay, from where the modest summit of View Edge is easily attained. I left a lay by on the A49 in bright sunshine at 9am and soon found myself next to Stokesay Castle, briefly again on the Shropshire Way. Leaving that path, I went easily over the railway and through fields of lambs before reaching the first mud of the day (my boots were already caked from yesterday) on the track to Clapping Wicket. Beyond here a small stile led to a brutally steep and pathless ascent through deciduous woodland full of bluebells - still far from being in flower. At the fence at the top of the wood, someone has kindly replaced a section of barbs with a wooden slat, allowing easy access to the unmarked but obvious high point in a private wood. Thank you. I slithered back down to Clapping Wicket and avoided more mud by taking pleasant field paths to the east of Highfield Farm, to rejoin the Shropshire Way and complete the 6km circuit in the company of lambs and the shining facade of Stokesay Castle. An hour and fifty minutes for the walk.
A short drive through Craven Arms and along narrow roads found me at spot height 214 in front of the looming bulk of Carrow Hill. A slanting path through Frizland Coppice switched back to a lovely ridge top path to the summit of Callow Hill, next to a stone tower - Flounders Folly - recently renovated but not open today. This is the highest point on Wenlock Edge, but today there were very limited views due to lingering mist. After a visit to the trig point I said goodbye to the resident woodpecker and after the gentle zigzag ascent I embarked on a rather quicker and unerringly direct, plummeting descent. 2km in 40 minutes.
To Hopesay now, through narrow lanes with now familiar neatly trimmed hedges. A sunlit village. Soon I was tramping through a field of crops with no path, but reassuringly signposted as the Shropshire Way. Mewing buzzards circled above. Rabbits dashed around, nearly getting under my feet! Permissive paths led to impressive hill fort - spread over a wide area, with mature trees and high ramparts. I enjoyed lunch in the sun at the highest point (pictured), with hazy views and a teasing comment from Conrad on yesterday's entry. Returning the same way, this jaunt amounted to 4km in an hour and a quarter.
Another short drive took me to Pitcholds, from where a narrow lane took me to a small triangle of grass on which parking was possible. Heath Mynd was then ascended in sunshine from another muddy track, over open access land on which I disturbed a sparrowhawk. Lunch number two was taken on the summit, with good if hazy views to Corndon Hill and its satellites. A rough, direct descent over open access land finishing with prickly gorse and a steep bank concluded the day's exercise. 3km for this final hour long stroll.
Overall, just 17km with 800 metres ascent for today's five hills, and I was back in Timperley by 5.30 despite a half hour delay in Chester.