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Saturday, 2 April 2016

Callow Hill and Bradnor Hill (Marilyns)

Saturday 2nd April

Callow Hill. SO 460 850
Bradnor Hill SO 282 584

After only three days I have settled into a routine. This morning that has been

Non-stop rain has forced a slow down and a leisurely breakfast - no prospect of my habitual early departure.

The forecast says it may be OK after twelve and there is a quickie Marilyn near "poor" Craven Arms. Also near there is Ludlow Food Centre which I know nothing about, but plan to visit first, hopefully to forage for the next couple of day's meals.

So, I will finish off the play I am reading for the next meeting of our reading group. It is a cheerful little number called Death and the King's Horseman by Wole Soyinka. By tradition, in an African tribe, the hereditary king's horseman's mission is to commit ritual suicide when the King dies so that he can accompany the King into the afterworld. As this is about to happen the British colonial officer tries to intervene - I can't wait to see how it turns out; you don't win Nobel prizes with happy endings.


I finished the play but you will have to read it if you are curious.

Ludlow Food Centre is purpose built, housing a variety of stalls selling farm and country-crafty fodder. I bought a steak and ale pie, a pasty and some cheese. There are other shops on site including a post office. I wanted a Radio Times. The PO was closed. Later the post office in denigrated Craven Arms came up trumps - that place is starting to redeem itself.

Another hairy drive up single track, grass-in-the-middle lanes with high hedges like Cornwall brought me to the bottom of an unsurfaced road leading to a huge stone tower folly on Callow Hill. The road obviously took a long route zig zagging to cope with the gradient. To the right was an incredibly steep,straight up muddy path through trees. I slip-slided up and then did slip within six feet of the flat top and muddied my Paramo pants which had do far remained immaculate on this trip. The tower appeared to be higher than a trig point a few yards along the ridge. There was a mini cairn built round the base of a fence post near the tower - curious.

I had now exhausted all the Marilyns in this target area and decided to set on the more northerly ones relating to Hereford where I will be staying with brother and wife, RR and VR in a week or two. So it was an hour's drive to Bradnor Hill near Kington. Driving was swift and non-stop and sheer delight on almost empty roads with immaculate instructions from Tom Tom for the complicated route.

A left turn took me up another twisty, single-track steep climb for nearly a mile ending, full stop,on high at Kington Golf Club. A Tarmac road continues to climb through this mountainous, not for the feint hearted course, with no apparent restrictions on walking. I walked the road to a high point then took a compass bearing on the summit and crossed various fairways, through some dead bracken, then some gorse, with a couple of friendly greetings from Kington's hardy golfers, and still having essential need of the compass and GPS I found a nestle of three or four boulders in some grass marking the summit.

A sign outside the clubhouse welcomed visitors for refreshments, so in I went for tea and toasted teacake. The steward attended to me and there were only a couple of other golfers drinking pints of Guinness, and from what I overheard boasting to each other about competitions they had nearly won.

As is often the case t.v. was blaring away with nobody watching, but for once it was of interest - the practising for tomorrow's Grand Prix.

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John J said...

You're visiting a beautiful part of the country. I must confess to actually being quite fond of 'poor' Craven Arms - although that's probably remembering the place through rose-tinted spectacles, my first visit was 45 years ago when it was a very different town.
Progress eh?
Currently reading Ian Rankin's 'Tooth & Nail', NOT using the total loss reading system - I think it's sinful to tear the read pages out of a book, even a paperback.
I'm enjoying following your adventures, as always!

Sir Hugh said...

JJ - I agree with you about despoiling books, BUT with one exception: guide books. I do not need pages and pages on "how to get there", what footwear to take, a biography of Joe Bloggs who invented the route and a history of the English Civil War along with the other half of the walk that I am not doing. Some of those guides weigh half as much as my tent. All I can say in mitigation is that the discarded sections do remain at home.

afootinthehills said...

Sir Hugh - It sounds like you should be roped up on some of these roads. Golf Clubs allowing scruffy (no offence) walkers in for a bite to eat? Changed days indeed.

Gayle said...

I probably wouldn't have remembered Callow Hill by name, but your description jogged my memory. We trespassed our way up that one, having decided to approach direct from the campsite we'd stayed at the previous night.

Bradnor Hill is on our agenda for later this month, when we'll be walking Offa's Dyke Path in its entirety, taking in a few Marilyns on our way.

AlanR said...

Did you have to become a temporary member of the club to use the facilities? I recall Dawn being seen off just for using an outside tap at some golf club.

Sir Hugh said...

Afoot -I always thought the roads in Cornwall were the most harassing but some of these are good rivals.

You have obviously formed a mental picture of my scruffiness, but I suspect it is underestimated. I'm not sure what attributes I have that allowed my access.

Gayle - I reckon I have now thrown down the challenge and you will feel obliged to get yourselves into that golf club.


Alan R - no temp. membership required, just the gift of the gab.