You’ve not heard of Wild Edric? Unfortunately, you’re not alone. There is a book, but it’s been out of print for a while, and I’ve not laid hands on a copy. His way is also referenced in the little freebie leaflet for Clun.
We had a fine day at the Great Yorkshire show; most of the shearing I watched was with hand shears and I find it impressive that there seem still to be plenty of practitioners of this craft.
And, of course, I watched the pole climbing; an 80 foot pole. Imagine climbing that! and what if you’re 84 years old? in less than a minute. The youngsters strive to do it in 10 seconds.
The next day saw us on a train to Church Stretton. Wild Edric was a Saxon who seems to have had the same approach to the Normans as Asterix & Obelix had to the Romans. I presume he met a sticky end though I cannot confirm that. He rampaged around Shropshire & vicinity apparently, and a bit of the Shropshire Way is said to be named after him. Not that anybody would know. Or does.
Here in Calderdale, we have the Calderdale Way – a loop around the area. Like the Rossendale Way. And plenty of others. They do it differently in the West Midlands. Rather like a cross between an octopus and a deranged spider’s web, the Shropshire Way has tentacles going off in all sorts of directions. I don’t think one can walk the Shropshire Way – only walk on the Shropshire Way.
So we went up the Carding Mill Valley – been there before for fell races, and it’s lovely. Over the Long Mynd and down to Bridges. Could have stayed there for a day or two; the pub was nice, the beer good, and, though we didn’t have any, I gather the food is good. Then on and up to Stiperstones.
Really pleased I’ve been there. A ridge, some similarity (alright then, not a lot) to the Long Mynd, but these individual great big rocky outcrops on the top. We climbed one of them so that we could say we’d nabbed another trig point.
Down and down to Bishop’s Castle. A fine town. We stayed in an absolutely amazing B&B; a 1564 house. Constructed of oak. On the main street. Rescued from dereliction 30 years ago by the previous owners and then by the current ones who laboured for ten years before setting up the B&B. We will go again.
We got to Newcastle, Clun, Craven Arms and finally to Ludlow, another place very well worth visiting. When high – lovely walking with breathtaking views. Lower down, Shropshire appears to be a land of nettles, thistles and brambles, largely strategically positioned around stiles and gates one has to go through, as there is no alternative route. Plus one large field of inquisitive young cattle, which, en masse, did prove a little disconcerting. Next time we might stick to the upland walking. Though it was of interest to walk through varied chest high crops (sometimes varied within the same field). And I guess Shropshire is one of the few areas where arable and livestock farming continue cheek by jowl. Not what we have in Yorkshire.
Other than the stinging plants, Shropshire also has an impressive density of castles to the square mile; and impressive castles, at that. I liked Clun.
Though it’s actually much more impressive as you approach along the Shropshire Way.