Thursday, 23 November 2017

Howden Moors - Cut Gate, Margery Hill and Howden Edge

When I did my second walk on Howden Moors a couple of months ago, I was so taken with the area I plotted a third walk there soon after I got home. This took in another clough on the eastern side of the Upper Derwent Valley, followed by Margery Hill and Howden Edge. I'd walked these two summits last year as part of a longer trip but Rich hadn't, and I thought the terrain and views would appeal to him. Taking a punt on the forecast - 20% chance of rain - proved to be a mistake, though, and we spent most of the walk in drizzle and mist. Even during the dry intervals there was little to see or photograph and it became clear that we'd need to return on a better day to do the route justice.

At the summit of Margery Hill in September.


Friday, 10 November 2017

Shropshire Hills: Caer Caradoc

There must be something in the beer in Shropshire. Normally, two walks in the same weekend would be a "hard sell" but by the time we were finishing our shandies, I'd clinched an unprecedented second walk in the same day and achieved it without bringing the next day's hiking plans to the negotiating table.

To be honest, our exploration of the Long Mynd hadn't been particularly strenuous - and we were spurred on partly by the increasingly fine weather and by Caer Caradoc itself. In terms of size it's a fairly modest hill but its prominence and the outcrops of ancient, Precambrian rock along its ridge make it alluring aesthetically. It had caught the attention of both of us as we approached Church Stretton that morning. In addition, the historical interest of the hill is more than geological, as an extensive set of earthworks lie around the summit, the remains of an substantial Iron Age hill fort.

We set off out from the town over the railway line and then across the thunderously busy A49. It was a relief to leave this behind and turn onto a quiet residential road, Watling Street North. This was named after an ancient track that had once passed through the valley, which had subsequently been paved by the Romans when they occupied the region. Eventually we came to a narrow thoroughfare that led to New House Farm and this we took, wondering where we'd squeeze ourselves in its neatly cropped hedges should a tractor come rolling along.