Balmacquien – stacks and caves

Tuesday: Port Gobhlaig. We’ve walked many times from here, following the shoreline northwards to Rubha na h-Aiseig. Today we’re starting from the same parking place, around the other side of the bay and up onto the cliffs, above a wonderful selection of stacks and the odd cave or two, to end at the old RAF radar station high above Bagh nan Gunnaichean. Returning, we follow the main (single track) road as far as the Balmacquien lane, which takes us back to that little white house out on the point, from where we retrace our steps to the start. What a spectacular stretch of coastline!

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Jam tomorrow

…or perhaps in a week or two. Wednesday 11 September – a walk near Much Wenlock, armed with bags for the blackberries we hope to find on our way. It’s a breezy big-sky day, good to be out, and there’s no shortage of fruit, even if we have to brave the scratches and the nettle-stings. The jam will be worth it, perhaps not just yet – the berries (just under 4lb) are in the freezer, waiting for a couple of days when we’ve time for boiling, sieving and boiling again. It needs to be soon though – we’ve just finished the last jar from 2018.


Lunch at Ledbury

Tuesday 10 September: a day out using a “West Midlands Day Ranger” (just £18 with an old buffers’ card). We’re taking a roundabout but interesting route to the Herefordshire town. First stop is Stourbridge, for a ride on the Parry People Mover, and we pause for a while at Great Malvern, where the station’s ironwork is worth a look. Finally, Ledbury (“Junction for Poetry”) provides us with an excellent pub lunch and equally good beer to wash it down with.

We return homewards via Barnt Green, where a ride on the short line to Redditch takes us through pleasant countryside, but we don’t hang about at the new town’s station (it’s not a patch on Telford Central, despite having electric trains). The return trip takes us to a crowded New Street, and an equally crowded (it thins out along the way) electric train to Rugeley, a line whose electrification was completed relatively recently. Time for a photo or two here, before returning to Shropshire on three more trains, connecting perfectly at Stafford and Wolverhampton. Fifteen journeys on thirteen separate trains (if the “People Mover” counts as such), every one on time. Great fun!

Early Autumn on Brown Clee

The Met Office’s autumn starts on 1 September – summer’s over! It certainly feels like it today – there’s warm sunshine in-between the clouds, and the lightest of breezes, which is just as well, as the air’s cold. Perfect walking weather, of course, and once we’ve left behind the dog-walkers, there’s hardly anyone else up here. The views to the east are extensive, but unexciting,  as we ascend gently. The views to the west, once we’re on the summit ridge, are also extensive – and much more interesting. Line after line of hills stretching out to the limit of visibility, perhaps 40-50 miles – yes, it could be clearer, but we’re not complaining…

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Woodland creatures

It’s too warm for anything energetic, and it will be wise to keep out of the sunshine. A walk from Benthall Hall could be just the thing – we can find shady ways to the dense woodland of Benthall Edge. Who knows what there might be lurking in the shadows? Oh look, there’s a little old man of the woods!  Someone has made this tiny chap, and left him on a tree stump to enjoy the passing scene. A little further along the path, another tiny local resident scurries across the path, freezing in the leafy undergrowth for long enough to have a camera pointed at him. There must be thousands of little rodents in these woods, but how rarely we see them.

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