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Friday, 1 April 2016

Heath Mynd, Burrow, and View Edge

Heath Mynd       SO 335 940
Burrow               SO381 830
View Edge         SO422 809

I put my trust in Tom Tom to get to the obscure minor road to the west of Heath Mynd. Using latitude and longitude gives one the feeling of setting out on an ocean exploration, and I was not disappointed.That road seems to have no reason for existence and where it eventually becomes an unsurfaced track in the middle of nowhere the OS map shows a windmill which in its turn seems to have no reason for existence. Perhaps Earth is really flat and that is where you drop off the edge?

Just past the farm the road became unsurfaced - the Yeti came into its own.Then Tarmac reappeared. Parking looked problematical. There was a fenced compound with silage bales across from a cottage. I went to ask permission, but only dogs barked and nobody  appeared. Everything looked reminiscent of Deliverance. I parked in the compound feeling glad, really that no hillbilles had been around.

Steep climbing on turf gave way to thick heather and hard going. Surprisingly for this somewhat undistinguished and lonely top there was a grand circular stone shelter to accompany the trig point.

Onwards to Burrow. A wet track lead into old woodland on steep slopes and Land Rover forestry track. A sign said the route to the hill fort on the top was "way marked" which I never saw any sign of. The path leading off the track through trees to the summit could not even be designated a rabbit trod and could easily have been missed.

The summit was a magnificent, monumental earthwork construction which would have been a
serious challenge for a fleet of JCBs, and seriously, it is something that would take a long time to
achieve even using that technology - how the ancients managed to do these things is difficult to comprehend. Did they ever get attacked, and what must that have been like?  Hill forts marked on maps are invariably just the figment of archaeologists' imaginations, but this one would give them enough material for several Ph.Ds.

View Edge involved driving to the road summit then striking off on a steeply descending bridleway through woods, the summit being way up to the right with no apparent path. I thrashed through the deciduous woodland contouring on a steep slope, dodging tree branches and fallen trunks and eventually climbed a sort of stile to arrive at a high point enclosed by trees and no view.

It was time for a café. Craven Arms is sandwiched between Church Stretton, posh, like a mini Harrogate  to the north, and Ludlow, a renowned centre for good food and trendy tourism to the south. Craven Arms has nothing in common with either. It is a dull crossroads on the A49 with down at heel shops, a worrying mixture of inferior architecture, and the gateway to Wenlock Edge, the most
 disappointing long distance path I know of. But, I did find an unpretentious little café for tea and toasted tea cake which was all I really needed.


afootinthehills said...

Sir Hugh - one of the best posts I've read in a while. Not a single photo but packed with images. Poor Craven Arms.

Gayle said...

A fine collection of hills today that all proved memorable for me for various reasons:
1) Heath Mynd - as I navigated Mick (driving Colin) onto that tiny, semi-surfaced lane I had to repeatedly reassure him that we were really on a public road. He was convinced that I'd gone awry and directed him up a farm track.
2) Burrow - that's the one where I came within a hair's breadth of heading off from Colin in completely the wrong direction and taking Mick up the wrong hill! To make it even more memorable, our trespassing return route clashed with the location of a pheasant shoot. Nowt like a line of men wielding guns in my general direction to make me exceed all previous speed records up a steep slope!
3) View Edge - tackled after a night plagued by boy racers using 'our' car park as a snowy skid-pan, but on the most gloriously snowy morning.

Sir Hugh said...

Afoot - thanks for that Gibson. I hope there is more to come.


Gayle - it's a good job I haven't invented things with your recent knowledge of these hills. I am enjoying Marilyinitis again - nothing is predictable, and the variety is amusing and entertaining.

afootinthehills said...

Gayle - heading off in the wrong direction. Pheasant shoots and men wielding guns. All sounds so familiar. Have you been caught in a heather burn by any chance?

Gayle said...

Not yet, Gibson. Emphasis on 'yet'!

Sir Hugh said...

All - this multi commenter exchange is great. More specifically the current content underlines the variation and attractions of Marilyn bagging.

I'm just watching Billy Connelly tracking across America and he has the knack of individual expression, as with Ms, no two accounts will be the same.

Roderick Robinson said...

I agree with afootinthehills; and you know how sparing I am with compliments. The first time I encountered Craven Arms I felt the name was some kind of joke - wilfully imported from a place where jokes come dropping slow, if at all. As to Wenlock Edge its existence is primary literary; donning boots and eating a cagoule fried for breakfast is no compensation if you aren't into Housman:

Oh often have I washed and dressed
And what's to show for all my pain?
Let me lie abed and rest:
Ten thousand times I've done my best
And all's to do again.

Within a week or so of first meeting VR (then VT, of course) she quoted that. I felt we might well be soulmates. The rest is history.