Highest in the county

We stood  above everyone else in the county at about 2.45 this afternoon, when we gazed out from Abdon Burf on Brown Clee, Shropshire’s highest point (1772 feet, or 540m). It’s a good place to be on an afternoon like this – positively springlike, it would be a crime to stay indoors. It’s quiet too – despite being school half-term week, we saw just four other people while we walked. Wonderful!

View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=360130&Y=285861&A=Y&Z=120

Bright and breezy: Brown Clee

Cool, too, in the wind. The east side of the hill is in the lee, and the walk is very pleasant through the parkland, warm in the sunshine with views improving as we gain height. Boyne Water is twinkling as the breeze lifts wavelets; a little further on, we’re out on the ridge. Now we have extensive views to the west, but we’re in the wind, and we need to keep going. It buffets the camera as we stand at the highest point. Moments later, as we begin to descend, we’re sheltered and it’s a warm spring afternoon once more.

View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=359885&Y=285911&A=Y&Z=120

Brown Clee skyscapes

The sky’s blue today, with photogenic clouds (best kind) – let’s have a walk on Brown Clee! We’ll walk up from the telephone box (it’s a free library these days) and take the terrace path around the hill to the far side. At first on the open hillside, it later skirts the forest, where there’s some attractive deciduous woodland beside the conifers. When we meet the path up the east side, from the picnic place, we make a gentle and cautious (it’s a bit sticky underfoot) ascent to the summit where, for a few minutes, we’re the highest people in Shropshire. It’s downhill from here, of course, but no-one has told the water – the moor is rather squelchy. But who cares? It’s great up here on a day like this.

Soon we’re back at the car – better change the library books before we head for home…


View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=359115&Y=286916&A=Y&Z=115

Longer days ahead

22 December: We’re past the shortest day now, though it will be weeks before the evenings become noticeably lighter. It’s a fine and breezy afternoon – a last chance for a good leg stretch before the weather deteriorates and the Christmas fun begins. Brown Clee beckons!

As ever, it’s quiet up here. Just as I leave the car, two families arrive, but I’m away, and won’t see them again. Other than a solitary photographer at the highest point, I’ve got the hills to myself (and the sheep, and a couple of small groups of wild horses). The breeze stiffens at Clee Burf, the secondary summit, but it’s quiet enough at the seat above the five springs for a lunch break.

I’m off again, following a soggy path to the summit at Abdon Burf, and for a few seconds (the wind is cold here) I’m the highest person in Shropshire. I’ll return to Cockshutford down the track towards the telephone box, before taking the contouring path back to the lane. There’s a glimpse of a red kite for a few moments, but try as I might, I won’t see him again. Until the next time, perhaps…


View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=358625&Y=285576&A=Y&Z=120

Watercolour days

Friday: spring is in the air – and there’s a spring in our steps. It’s not warm, but this is the first day we haven’t needed gloves, scarves, hats etc. With the change in weather has come a haze, shortening our horizons and fading them to shades of watercolour. We’re following a new (for us) route, using a permissive bridleway and gentle gradients to reach Boyne Water, an attractive pool which is larger than one might expect, so near the summit ridge of Brown Clee. Minutes later, we exchange the eastern view – pleasant gentle countryside, for the western view – the indistinct pastel-blue ridges of the border hills. It’s good up here on a day like this, but we can’t stay, and we’re soon threading our way back down between moss- and lichen-clad trees, towards the car and the short journey home.

Or view OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=360140&Y=285876&A=Y&Z=120