To Ratlinghope

Friday 25 November: Just over ten miles – an easy and pleasant day’s walk. Starting from Carding Mill Valley, we head for the Batch Valley, up to Jinlye, past Jonathan’s Rock and over to Betchcott Hill. Here, the weather forecast catches us out. Despite ‘sunny day’ symbols, and ‘<5%’ chance of rain, the clouds gather and an unexpectedly-heavy shower sweeps across. It’s enough to cause my companion to struggle into his waterproof overtrousers; inevitably by the time we’re moving again the rain is nearly past. We follow the path down Golden Valley (it wasn’t!) to the pleasant (if rather damp underfoot) path above Darnford Brook.

There’s nowhere dry to sit down for lunch – or is there? These knobbly (and very uncomfortable!) tree roots near Ratlinghope will do. Soon we’re heading uphill again, at first on the beech-lined road, then over Wild Moor to the Long Mynd ridge. That little froggy pool is full again! Lastly, down Mott’s Road (can we cross the brook without getting wet feet? Yes! We’ve made it!) to return to the Carding Mill Valley – where the cafe has just closed…

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