Kites and alpacas…

It’s busy on the Stiperstones this afternoon – lots of black sheep, at least two red kites, a grouse, a good number of alpacas and several llamas. There were quite a few people too, in the more popular parts – something to do with it being half-term, and the weather fine, clear and sunny? Young parents and children, a largish party armed with pointy sticks and a large group of – were they schoolteachers? Our greatest fear was that they might arrive at the Bog before we did, and that it might be packed anyway. Our fears were unfounded – just a medium-sized group around one of the tables, and it seems one of us knew them all anyway, so that was OK. The tea and cakes were, as ever, excellent (and well-earned, of course).

The Bog visitor centre

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Grey sky, red kite, Brown Clee

The sky may be uninspiring, but it’s a fresh-feeling afternoon, and the weather forecast thinks it should stay dry. A track follows the contours around the northern part of Brown Clee – we’ll join it at its northernmost point and follow it round to the west, then walk over the top of the hill and down the other side. We can then use the eastern arm of the track to get back to the start. A red kite is overhead briefly; sheep are everywhere, but there’s no-one else to be seen today. Do they know something we don’t, or is it the other way round?

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Kites above the Devil’s Chair

They must have thought as we did – that it was a perfect day for the hills, almost too good for mid-March. A cloudless sky, warm sunshine, cool air and the lightest of breezes – much better than mid-summer. Fewer people about, but at least four red kites. First there was one on his (or her) own, then another, then a pair, hurrying away to the north – and moments later, another pair circling to our south. The alpacas and llamas were enjoying the sun too. This is south Shropshire, isn’t it? It’s hard to be sure sometimes.

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