Not flying…

Flying Scotsman certainly could fly, metaphorically, in his youth. Today we’re visiting a couple of Scotsmen whose top speed is barely into double figures – definitely not flyers – at the Telford Steam Railway. One of them, built by Grant, Richie of Kilmarnock in 1894, is just visiting for his summer holidays, which are almost over – we’d better go and see him. Take a look at “Scotsmen, not flying” on Geoff’s Rail Diaries – now!

Mucklewick and Stiperstones

Thursday 13 September: a cool fresh day on Shropshire’s wild western fringe – this weather is great for a walk in these quiet (apart from the gunfire) hills. From The Bog, we’ll head for Mucklewick Hill (whose summit may be lower than our starting point), then down to Nind and up past the shooting range, where it sounds like they’re playing with their rocket-propelled grenades today. After a late lunch below The Rock (imaginative names in these parts), we’ll follow the ridge northwards, past the Devil’s Chair (he’s not sitting today, fortunately), before dropping back to the start, for tea and cakes at the Bog Centre (was the walking just an excuse?).

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Weds. 5 September: The London and North Western Railway used “Blackberry Black” paint on its locomotives – black with just a hint of colour. It’s probably that hint of colour in the fruits that makes them attractive to eat – a hint of something tasty, perhaps, and at present they’re ripe and juicy in great profusion in local hedgerows. They all had to be sampled, and as a result, we probably took a little longer walking around this enjoyable route on the quieter side of Much Wenlock. It’s not just blackberries that are fruiting – there are all kinds of fruits and berries ripening nicely, though we didn’t try nibbling the sloes or the crab apples, and certainly wouldn’t touch the toadstools. There were just a few sugar-sweet damsons within reach too…

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Autumn’s Edge

An altogether different feel to today’s short outing – a walk along the Wenlock Edge, on a day when autumn feels as though it’s just around the corner. The air has a refreshing coolness, the leaves are on the cusp of changing colour, and there’s all manner of fruits and berries in the undergrowth. The blackberries are better than we expected during those hot days in June and July, and caused some delay to our progress…

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Coughton Court

Wednesday 29 August: That’s “coaton”, not “coffton”, we’re told. We’ve been here just once before, but there are no photos – I’d left the camera at home. Today we’ve had lunch in the Bull at Ambridge, served by none other than Jolene (some readers may know what, and where, I’m talking about), and after that, we’re ready for anything. Coughton was home to the Throckmortons (spelled “Throgmorton” on the stained glass), a Catholic family with close connections to the gunpowder plot. Try not to mention bonfire night… Whatever its history, it’s an interesting place to visit and explore. The latter is a prerequisite to the house – the use of timed tickets, to regulate the flow through the building, means there’s time to kill in the grounds – including an impressive walled garden – and the tea room (of course!).

Coughton Court NT

Lazing at Attingham

The deer, that is. They seem to be taking it easy this afternoon. But never mind the deer, look what’s parked outside, taking a drink at the Mytton and Mermaid. Those ploughing engines, on their way to the steam rally at Onslow Park, use a lot of water. (I suspect their crews were ready for refreshment too). Elsewhere at Attingham, there are signs of the advancing season. Autumn’s approaching, and the apples and pears in the walled garden look juicy, despite the dry summer.

Attingham Park NT