Monday 4 April 2011

Two To The Power Three

Two days and two walks in which the number “3” cropped up with unusual frequency, and were improved as a result.

This last weekend, three of us spent two days in the west Shropshire area around the attractive town of Bishop’s Castle. A promising forecast had persuaded us that a couple of walks might be attempted without the inconvenience of getting caught in a downpour.

Saturday morning, after an early “clearing-up” shower, the sun broke through gracing the remainder of the day with some beautiful, spring-like weather. Almost for the first time this year it felt as though warmer days were beckoning. We decided on one of our regular short circuits – 5 miles-or-so round the wooded hills and lanes to the south west of BC.

The first stretch headed southwards along the Shropshire Way, and the town was quickly left behind in favour of fields full of newborn lambs. Then we turned west for the long pull along quiet lanes up the side of Colebatch Hill. The sun was out and the golden trinity of Daffodils, Primroses and Celandines shone in the hedgerows as we passed.

We took a short stop, parking ourselves on a log pile. In the field opposite, tractors buzzed back and forth harrowing the red soil; a whiff of diesel fumes followed by the sharp scent of newly turned earth drifted by on the warm air.

The return leg followed more of the Shropshire Way, through Middle Woodbatch Farm and further quiet lanes. On the final rise, the Long Mynd filled the horizon beyond Bishop’s Castle, from where a short stroll led us back into town. A quick check of the football results revealed a significant number of hat-tricks completed that afternoon.

That evening we went to see Whalebone – a “rootsy, funky” three-piece acoustic folk/rock band – for the third time. Their very enjoyable show mixes interpretations of classic rock tunes and traditional folk music with their own self-penned material, much of which was taken from their new album, The Three Fires. It was only right and proper that such an excellent evening be accompanied by a trilogy of fine ales.

Next morning, the three of us were up early in order to take advantage of the best part of the day. Breakfast over, we drove up to Mitchell’s Fold and walked round the stone circle before heading back the three miles towards Churchstoke via the track running between Lan Fawr and Corndon Hill. For such an easy stroll, this walk has some of the finest views around – to the Stiperstones, the Vale of Kerry and the Ridgeway beyond and, off to the west, the high peaks of Snowdonia – and this bright, clear morning didn’t disappoint with the sunny green swathes laid out beneath blue skies and white cottonwool clouds.

Having worked up an appetite we indulged in Sunday lunch – not, as you might think, a roast dinner with all the trimmings – but that other truly British repast, the delightful triptych of Fish Fingers, Chips and Mushy Peas. What could be better!

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