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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Distractions

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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Sunshine and solitude

Sunday 19 August: At last, some decent weather. The clouds have cleared, no rain is forecast, the wind’s dropped. We’ve had a reminder in the past few days that Skye is full in August. There are huge numbers of visitors, who struggle with the single-track roads in the north of the island – especially those in hire cars, and as for all those monster camper vans… There are some very popular destinations up here, but if we avoid them, we should be OK. So we’re walking from Port Gobhlaig, along the very quiet coastal path to Rubha na h-Aiseig, and our companions will be the sheep and the seabirds. If the tip of this grassy promontory was a few yards further north, it would be the northernmost tip of Skye – and probably more popular. But wait – what’s this? As we walk back towards the start, there are two other people! How dare they? (Why are their voices so loud?)

Tomorrow we’re heading for home. Reminder to self: avoid high summer in future.

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A grey day in Uig

Saturday 18 August: we’ve been on gardening duties all morning. This afternoon, we need to go down to Uig to pick up supplies – we could have a leg stretch too. It’s a grey afternoon, but the rain seems less likely. The waterfall on the river Rha is a good start, then we’ll follow the shore path to the river Conon – and walk up the road as far as the Fairy Glen. The once-quiet side road is now busy with visitors, who struggle to park when they reach their destination. On foot, we can simply enjoy the scenery.

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