We parked opposite the musical loos in Church Stretton and Graham led seven of us on a real feat of route finding and navigation on a circular walk via Chelmick, Hope Bowdler and up onto Caer Caradoc and back down to Stretton. Welcome to Steve, who joined us for his first walk with us – hope to see you on our walks again.
We went up through the smart houses of Clive Avenue and Ragleth Road then out onto the damp paths and lanes through Ragdon to the lovely village of Chelmick. Then more tracks and lanes towards Hope Bowdler, coming out near the Church.
The weather was now improving greatly: from damp and misty to blue sky and warm sunshine. East along the main road to the end of Hope Bowdler village then sharp left up towards Hope Batch. It was here that elevenses was delcared. It was now getting warm and layers were coming off. We crossed the top of the hill and looked down towards the Plantation and the massive bulk of Caradoc with extensive views to the east. We joined the track at Cwms Cottage and headed east round the end of Caradoc then south west towards the steep path up to the bwlch between Little Caradoc and the main mass of the hill. It was here we lunched. The views across to the Long Mynd and beyond were slowly disapearing as the mist gradually filled the valley from the south. Annie and Steve opted for the pretty walk out – over the shoulder and down to the track at Cwms Cottage – while the rest of us engaged low gear and toiled up to the summit. As we got higher the mist rolled in and up, so on reaching the top we only had a short window of views before the temperature plummeted as the mist enclosed us it damp greyness.
One of our number declared we were lost as we wandered across the top towards Three Fingers Rock to pick up the steeply decending path. We reassured her that Graham did know the way and to prove it we came out right on target. Down to the main track leading back to Church Stretton, across the damp fields then dodging the trains and through the houses back to the carpark.
As I left my camera in the van again, pics from Annie and Graham in the gallery. Thanks to all who came and all who drove.