Well finally sunshine and 21 riders for another of Brian’s’ “interesting” routes exploring the Badlands beyond Clun. Among those who rode with us we had two visitors from each of the Warwickshire and Shropshire Sections.
Completing the route a month ago our final ride around three days before the run should have been a pleasant ride out, however it ended up with us having to revise 60% of it.
Following a brisk ride out to Diddlebury we turned off the main road into the glory that is Shropshire, narrow tree covered lanes proving respite from the fierce sun, with glimpses of the verdant valleys and fields that make this area a jewel. Brian describes this view of Shropshire as ‘buxom’ with rounded rolling hills and vales, nothing stark and loud. Rising up through woods we head for Ticklerton (RIP Ken Dodd), we entered tiny twisty lanes with patches of rain swept gravel, then to be spat out onto the busy Church Stretton road. Neil Trinder on his beautifully restored WD Matchless describes having to ride trials style on the pegs to take the next sharp left turn onto Hazler Hill and past Ragleth Hill on our way to Acton Scott. Praise indeed from David Spencer and Paul Harris who are acknowledged experts on local byways they claimed to never having ridden along here before, with Dave insisting this magnificent stretch be included in all further runs.
Sadly no tea, cake nor piano recital at Hopesay this year but on we pressed for lunch at The Hundred House at Purslow (below) for their bargain ‘light’ sandwich and mineral water offer.
There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth
with the challenges promised for the afternoon run up onto Edenhope (Ednup) and for those brave enough to take on the optional Kerry Ridgeway loop, well worth the effort for the fabulous views across to Snowdonia alone. Most did including Peter Fisher on his little 250cc Moto Morini, just to prove it’ll do it, however the prize must go to Nick Woolley from Shropshire Section who fresh from the Banbury Run rode his beautiful 1919 Triumph H (right), belt driven bike along the Ridgeway! Those of us in the rearguard were persuaded to stop along the droveway to visit the Cantril stone complete with history lesson. Below: Six of the Magnificent Seven at the Cantrill Stone. The seventh, Charles Bronson-Munroe, was taking the photograph.
Our esteemed chair decided he too would ride the loop on his Honda 400/4 and quickly chased down Paul Harris on his Harris, (what else?) but didn’t realise that Paul had just completed the loop and off they went down the hill towards Bishops Castle.
Dave Spencer was foolishly followed by a group comprising Neil Trinder, Nick Fitzpatrick and John Williams up onto what may well have been the Ridgway, where a ‘period of uncertainty’ ensued. Following guess work after a couple of road forks that didn’t feature on the route sheet they came to a gate across the unmade road that by then looked like a desert version of the SSDT Pipeline Section. Maybe this wasn’t the Ridgeway, but some cyclists coming the other way said that it was, so on they pressed. After a while and another gateway tarmac was regained, but the next instruction of a left turn just before a car park didn’t appear. They continued, deciding to head for Bishops Castle, which was on the route, and after a few miles came across a junction that so exactly matched the drawing of one on the route sheet that it had to be it. St. Christopher had guided them accurately back to the right direction! More stunning hill top, gravel strewn lanes complete with free roaming sheep and cattle took us down through Bishops Castle and on to our final stop at The Swan Inn at Aston Munslow. Glorious weather and a great day out, thanks to all who rode with us.