RAMSOC is Sue's old Nottingham University walking club, and there's a reunion of her contemporaries every October, or thereabouts. I've reported on these reunions and other gatherings many times over the years - here.
This year Sue booked Wilderhope Manor, in Shropshire, and about 30 people sent in their deposits. But by the time we arrived, Covid and other ailments and commitments had reduced the numbers to a very manageable 20, for whom there was plenty of room in this magnificent Elizabethan building owned by the National Trust. Alison and Russell even got a honeymoon suite with a four poster bed - not bad for a Youth Hostel!
I'll report on this trip mainly by way of captioned photos. If you click on any picture you should get a slideshow that doesn't include the captions etc. This may not work on phones. Anyway, it was a lovely weekend, as recorded below.
We set off from Wilderhope, next to Coats Wood, above Hope Dale
After congregating on Friday evening, Pete and Mary went for a ride on their tandem and the remaining 18 all took a stroll from the Manor. Tom had worked out a route - both Saturday and Sunday involved walks along or near Wenlock Edge, rather than wrestling with parking a convoy of 11 cars in Church Stretton, so we gave the Long Mynd a miss on this trip.
The path soon entered the woods
On my map, this place is marked as 'Springfield Coppice', above Hope Dale
Much of the weekend's walking was along a route known as the 'Jack Mytton Way'
It is named after John Mytton (1796–1834), also known as Mad Jack, a Shropshire landowner, MP, horseman, foxhunter, gambler and Regency rake
The walk proceeded along Wenlock Edge, seeking out a spot with a good view for elevenses
Then we headed down the back of the escarpment towards Munslow
There were good views towards the Long Mynd
Fungi identification was briefly challenged by rock identification as the primary distraction, shortly before a very acute angled path turn at Middlehope
Lunch was taken in the sunshine above Munslow
Munslow sports a fine cricket pitch, for which game today's weather was ideal, but the season is over...
Beyond Munslow, we entered Millichope Park, which has ornamental gardens overlooked by an impressive residence
Millichope Park is a Greek-Revival building, with six Ionic pillars supporting its front portico.
It was built in the mid-19th century by Shropshire architect Edward Haycock for Reverend Norgrave Pemberton, Rector of Church Stretton, to replace a black and white timbered house.
In 1544, the More family brought Lower Millichope and Thomas More, who inherited the estate, started the creation of the pleasure park. The estate passed to his daughter, Catherine, then to her cousin, Robert Pemberton, after which, it descended to Norgrave Pemberton. He left the ‘new’ house, gardens and estate to his cousin, Charles Orlando Childe. He passed it onto his son, who sold the estate in 1896 to Captain Beckwith whose family thereafter descended.
The Grade II, 25-acre landscaped garden includes large lakes, cascades and the George Stuert temple, which pre-dates the house and is perched at the top of a steep cliff rising out of the lake. We saw this from our path, together with a distant view of the impressive Ionic pillars.
Sue W thought she was a champion hurdler, but she turned out to be more of a carthorse
A pleasant lane was followed, with views up the gentle gradient of the escarpment
Soon, a left turn offered the easy option of a stroll back on an easy path - the Shropshire Way, but our esteemed leader chose instead to slither up a path next to Stanway Coppice
This gave us the opportunity to admire lots of buzzards and red kites playing in the thermals (this may have been earlier) and Sue and I picked a box full of field mushrooms that we would savour, fried in butter, the following morning.
Several rainbows appeared as we approached Wilderhope, and a few people donned waterproofs.
Approching from the rear, the stone enclosed circular staircases are prominent
Our route was about 19km, with 400 metres ascent, taking a little over 6 hours
Afternoon tea on the verandah
Dinner in the Great Hall, was provided by an assortment of trainee chefs:
tomato tart with side salad
salmon curry with rice
Beef and mushroom stroganoff with rice
and apricot tagine with couscous and naan
Meringues and berries
apple crumble with ice cream
and ginger trifle
cake with cream
First challenge: negotiate the narrow winding staircase without falling over...
Simon and Aedan went in search of fossils, so we were down to 16 for a walk along Wenlock Edge to the north - to Presthope, returning via the Shropshire Way.
There was lots of milling around before we eventually set off
Outside the manor, a water pump pointed the way up to the Edge
We passed some tasty looking Parasol Mushrooms
The Wenlock Edge path was along field edges by Woodside, soon finding its way to the dismantled Wenlock Railway
, opened in 1867 and used mainly for mineral traffic until its closure in 1951.
Mushroom identifation was the main distraction along the Jack Mytton Way,
as foliage hampered the views
A blocked tunnel was reached. We climbed some (some missing) steps for the final path into Presthope
Here's the view from my perch, as we paused at a (so called) viewpoint for elevenses (well, twelveses)
A little later, on the field paths of the Shropshire Way, an excellent spot for lunch
Further on, in the Easthope area, a sustained section of slurry was followed by much boot cleaning
There were several massive haystacks in the vicinity
A final wiping of slurry on the grass as we approach Wilderhope, and the end of
an excellent couple of days' strolling
Today's route was about 15km, with 250 metres ascent, taking us 4.5 hours.
Then we went home via Much Wenlock, where we found a nice tea shop for tea and waffles/crepes
A lovely weekend. Thanks to Sue for organising it.
Here are a few more of Sue's photos, taken in the Manor and in Much Wenlock.