THE MIDLAND HILLWALKERS

 

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Our DECEMBER walk takes us to the Cotswolds, home of pretty countryside, open views and ancient beech woods.  This walk is now full, but if you are not booked on and would like to join us, you may strike lucky if you are on the reserve list.

For our NOVEMBER walk we were bathed in glorious sunshine, so the fabulous views we were promised did not disappoint.  It was a beautiful and varied walk, climbing out of lush valleys, over hills, through woodland and pine forests and down at last to the pub at Marton.  With the sun dropping below the horizon,  the comfy sofas and wood burning stove were a welcome end to a truly great day.

 

Our OCTOBER walk took us to the beautiful Dane Valley in Derbyshire.  We were promised lovely and varied scenery and interesting buildings, and were not disappointed.  We had spectacular views and wall to wall sunshine.  And if that weren’t enough, we not only had time for a drink in a pub at the end of the walk, but also had a stop at a small brewery  along the way.

 

On our SEPTEMBER walk both groups reached the top of Cadair Berwyn. Unfortunately, low cloud reduced visibility on the top but the A group had the best of it with a superb walk up the Llyn Valley, passing on the way the waterfall Pistyl Rhaedr which was in fine form.

 

Our AUGUST walk took us to the Clwydian Hills, a beautiful and overlooked range of hills in North East Wales, full of ancient earthworks, blooming heather, gorse and stunning views. The weather matched the forecast and we had rain towards the end of the day but it didn't spoil our walk.

 

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What a fabulous walk we had in JULY.  The sun shone brightly and we were walking in a new area for the club.  For the first time we travelled to the eastern side of the country, to Rutland Water.  The hills may not have been so grand, but they were certainly exceedingly pretty.   The countryside was gently undulating, so cumulatively we had quite a good climb.  We crossed rolling farmland and walked through stone villages before lunching on a hillside overlooking Rutland Water in the middle distance.  The grand finale was a walk along the lakeside, with sailing boats skimming across the bright water.  There was even time to stop off for an ice cream.

 

Our JUNE walk lived up to expectations, with stunning views  of distant hills, and lush valleys divided into a network of small fields.  Despite a poor weather forecast, the sun shone on us for much of the day, and our waterproofs remained in our rucksacks.  Quite an achievement given  all the rain we've been having!

 

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Our DECEMBER walk takes us to the aptly names Christmas Common in the Chilterns.  This is a stunning area of rolling hills, beech woods and red kites.  It promises to be a grand day out!

 

NOVEMBER's walk  involved some pretty tough climbs, despite it being in the Cotswolds.  The hills may not be very high, but they are steep sided.  Blue skies and sunshine set off the remaining Autumn leaves, which were a glorious russet colour.  Most of the oaks and beeches were still in full leaf and there were still some flowers to be seen.

 

OCTOBER saw us climbing the steep slopes of Blorenge.  The views were spectacular and the autumn colours were just starting to show.   The walk was a beautiful mix of  moorland, woodland and pasture, providing a wide variety of  conditions underfoot. Another great day out.

 

SEPTEMBER'S walk took us through beautiful  and varied countryside along Offa's Dyke path south of Knighton.  We had a lot of  ascents that were both steep and lengthy, and by the end we all felt we had had a really good day out.  Don't forget we are now booking for the last quarter of 2017, so hurry up before all the seats go!

 

JULY's walk  gave us stunning countryside along a section of the Offa's Dyke Path between Welshpool and Churchstoke.  Beautiful views, wild flowers and butterflies were with us all day, and the lovely warm weather made for the perfect day out.

 

In MAY we returned to the Peak District, this time visiting the lonely high moorlands and gritstone edges.  Some were lucky and heard a Cuckoo, and most of us heard Curlieus.  There was lots of good walking too!

 

For APRIL we went to the Peak District.  It was a glorious sunny day, with spectactular clear views and lots of spring flowers.  Plenty of wildlife to be seen, too, including a Peregrin Falcon, Curliew, Merlin, Sand Martins, and many more, as well as a lizzard.  A fabulous day out!

 

In MARCH  we had a trip to the Welsh borders to walk partly on the Offa's Dyke Path and partly on the Shropshire Way.  We had some very stiff climbs and walked through stunning scenery.  It was a very varied day, with rolling hills, steep valleys, woodland and farms.  Spring flowers and spring lambs completed the picture.  To top it off there were a variery of pubs and cafes in Bishop's Castle at the end to slake ouir thirsts!

 

For FEBRUARY we went to the beautiful Wye Valley.  But the walk was far from flat.  We had a lot of steep climbs to get our hearts and lungs working and were treated to some fabulous views, as well as carpets of snowdrops.  Plenty of choice of pubs or coffee shops in Monmouth at the end too!

 

Our JANUARY 2017 walk took us to Shropshire, and the steep ascent of Caer Caradoc. The views from the top were worth the effort, although the day  was a misty one, as it lent the scenery an ethereal quality.  We also walked through pretty woods and over pastures, where the giant winter skeletons of trees loomed out of the mist. There were some very stately specimens showing off their shapes without their covering of leaves.  The day ended with a sumptuous carvery as we got together for our annual dinner.  With lots of fresh air, exercise and a stomach full of good food, there weren't many eyes open on the journey home.

 

The DECEMBER walk was closer to home because of the shorter day length.  The hills weren't as high, but nevertheless we had plenty of ups and downs to stretch our legs.  The views were stunning, and the weather mild.  Plenty of mud, but on the plus side it gave us more of a workout!

Our OCTOBER walk started in pouring rain, but it soon cleared to give us a beautiful, sunny afternoon.  We had stunning views as we walked along the edge of the Manifold Valley, along Hall Dale and Dovedale.  This really is a very pretty area.

 

AUGUST  brought a light wind, but thankfully it stayed largely dry, after such a wet few days.  The heather and gorse turned the hillsides gold and purple, and there was the scent of warm honey on the air.  A very pretty walk, with some fairly strenuous ups, and some even trickier downs, but stunning views all day.  Those of us who opted for the delightful station cafe in Carrog at the end of the walk were rewarded with  a visit from the local steam train on its way to Llangollen.  Another great day out!

 

Summer finally arrived just in time for our JULY walk.  We had a lovely day out in Derbyshire, walking from Castleton to Hayfield, via Hollins Cross and Jacob's Ladder.  Some quite strenuous ups, and superb views.  Back in Hayfield there was a choice of a number of pubs and a fabulous cafe/chocolatier.  The cake was well worth walking all that way for!

 

For  MAY, due to circumstances beyond our control, our walk changed at short notice.  However we still had a fantastic day out.  The Forest of Dean was our new destination, and we were rewarded with wall to wall sunshine, woods full of Ramsens in full bloom and verges and field edges bright with bluebells.  One bank was bursting with bluebells and the beautiful white flowers of stithwort, a fabulous combination.  

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In APRIL our walk crossed the Welsh/English border, and fabulous scenery was promised.  Was a great day out!

 

For MARCH  we head for the Gritstone Trail, and if the recent sprinking of snow is still on high ground, the scenery will be spectacular.  The coach is now full on this trip, but we run a reserve list as there are always one or two each month who have to drop out at the last minute.

 

In  FEBRUARY a critical bridge closure caused a last minute change of plan, but we still had a fabulous day out, this time in the Cotswolds.  The weather remained favourable and there were many snowdrops to delight the eye.

 

In JANUARY we returned to the Long Mynd, where we had fabulous views and dramatic scenery.  We all got a chance to stretch our legs on some steep inclines, and blow the cobwebs away.  There were even plenty of early snowdrops to brighten the day.  At the end of the walk we gathered in a country pub for our Annual Dinner.  We had a superb meal, and were made exceptionally welcome by the friendly staff.  We had such a good time, I'm sure we be making a return visit some time.

 

Our NOVEMBER walk took us to Gloucestershire and the pretty countryside around Brockworth.  It was a great day's walking, some of it along the Cotswold Way, and much of it through woodland, where we swished through piles of autumn leaves with great satisfaction.  Although there were no tremendously steep climbs, much of the day was up hill, which gave our legs a good stretch.  There were spectacular views for much of the walk, and even a stop at the very impressive new services on the M5 at Gloucester on the way down - worth a visit in their own right!

 

For SEPTEMBER the heather promises to be spectacular, so let's hope it is a sunny day so we get the scent of warm honey as well as gorgeous purple hillsides!

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For JULY we travel to Staffordshire and Hen Cloud and The Roaches.  With varied scenery, including edges and water, it promises to be a great day out.  The coach is now full, but as usual we are running a reserve list.

 

Our JUNE walk was to the Black Mountains, and was a great day out.  We had a stiff climb for the first two hours, and then our hard work was rewarded with a long, gently undulating ridge walk, with panoramic views to both sides.  There were many wild flowers blooming  amonst the bilberrys and along the roadside verges.

 

 

For MAY we were off to Wales and an exciting walk behind a Waterfall (featered on the BBC recently).  The scenery was very varied, with pretty riverside walks through woods filled with wild flowers, across moorland and through fields.   The weather held, but the recent rain meant there was plenty of water coming over the falls.

 

Our APRIL walk was to White Edge in Derbyshire.  With the warmer weather and an abundance of wild flowers this Spring, it was a grand day out, topped off with a Bakewell Pudding at the end of the walk!

 

The MARCH walk began with a stiff climb up to a ruined castle, then continued on through spectacular scenery, following rivers and canals and across a long aqueduct that was a bit of a challenge to those with a tendency to vertigo.  However, there was an alternative route and everyone made it back to the pub for a well earned pint and a good sit down in warm sunshine.

 

Our JANUARY walk took us to The Malverns, which we walked from North to South.  Despite a forecast of cloud all day, the sun shone for most of the morning.  It is easy to under estimate The Malverns, in terms of a good hill walk.  The ridge climbs steeply up and down along it's entire length, so we probably did more cumulative ascent than we would have done climbing a mountain elsewhere.  We all felt we had earned the spendid meal at The Wellington at Colwall, who did us proud for our annual dinner after the walk.  The food was superb, and the staff very welcoming.  A wonderful day out!

 

Our DECEMBER walk was to the lovely Clee Hills in Shropshire.  There was a delightful mix of steep climbs, woods and moorland, and the early mist soon gave way and opened up the views, which were very extensive.  A cold wind blew on  the tops, but thankfully it was behind us.  There was an extraordinary amount of mud after all the recent rainfall, but a freshing drink in a lovely old pub at the end of the walk soon put the world to rights.

 

For NOVEMBER we headed to the southern Cotswolds.  That meant gorgeous countryside, spectacular views and much variety, including streams, deep valleys, woodland, steep slopes and open  vistas.  The Autumn colours were still very much in evidence, with beech woods, so typical of the Cotswold hills, giving a spectacular display.  There may not have been one tough climb, but this area has many very steep sided hills.  When you have done four or five of those, you know you have had a good day's hillwalking!

 

Our OCTOBERwalk took us to deep gorges and steep hillsides.  It promised to be a very interesting day out and it didn't disappoint!  

 

SEPTEMBER'S walk was to the picturesque Tanat Vally, whose scenery is Alpine-like.  We had some stunning views, and even a downhill start when we got off the coach!  Needless to say, we went uphill again later.  

 

For AUGUST we headed to Derbyshire and Ladybower Reservoir, and then crossed th eHowden Moors to Langsett.  It was a rather challenging day, weather wise, but we were compensated with stunning views of heather-clad hillsides in all their purple glory.  And when the sun made a brief appearance the smell of warm honey wafted strongly on the breeze.

 

Our JULY walk was quite the opposite of the stiff climb we had last month.  In view of the hot weather, we had an easier, but spectaculary pretty walk, with chalk downland, beech woods, wildflowers and butterflies galore, as well as fabulous views.  As most of the area around Ivinghoe Beacon is owned by the National Trust, it has been managed with conservation in mind, and the air was thick with the scent of flowers and buzzing with insects.  To top it off, there was even the chance of an ice cream at the National Trust shop and tea room!

 

Our JUNE trip to the Arans was a spectacular day out.  Not only did we have a lovely, sunny day, but the visibility was good too.  We were able to see all the near and distant peaks around us.  The B group had a stiffer climb than they have been used to in recent months, but everyone managed it without too much difficulty.  Several of the group even heard a cuckoo on their way back down to the coach.  Rather late in the season, but hopefully it was not because it was still trying to find a mate!

 

For our MAY trip to the Black Mountains the sun shone all day, while a light breeze on the tops kept us cool.  The first half of the walk was across open common land with hedgerows full of bird song.  A steep climb took us to the top of the escarpment where the views were superb.  Then a steady descent down a ridge known locally as the Dragon's Back was a dramatic finish to the day.

 

For MARCH we travelled to Hergest Ridge on the Welsh borders, where Spring was well under way.  Once again the weather gods shone on us, quite literally, as we had blue skies and sunshine all day long.  The far reaching views were spectacular, and the fields were full of Spring lambs.

 

FEBRUARY'S walk had varied scenery and also passed through a nature reserve.  Despite a poor weather forecast, were once again lucky, and had a glorious day with fabulous views.

 

Our JANUARY walk was Caer Caradoc and, as promised, we had wonderful views.  The forecast was for fog during the morning, but the sun shone on us all day from a cloudless blue sky.  There was a slight, chilly breeze on the tops of the hills, which you would expect in January, but otherwise it was a still day.  

 

This was a very special walk for another reason, it being a repeat of the very first walk the club did 21 years ago.  We never normally repeat walks, quite a feat in all that time, but for our 'coming of age' we wanted to go back to where it all started.  And there were even three people on the coach who had been on that original walk.  As January is the month we have our annual dinner, we celebrated in style this year.  Jan made a spectacular cake, iced with the club's logo of mountains, trees and a stream, and 'Midland Hillwalkers' perfectly iced around the edge.  The cake was delicious too!  Hopefully someone has a photo that I can put on the Gallery Page.  Here's to the next 21 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The NOVEMBER walk was closer to home as the days are shorter.  We travelled through lush valleys, on top of the rocky crags of Froggatts Edge, and through beech woods clothed in gold and orange leaves, where bright red berries added depth to the spectacular Autumn colours.  If you were not on this one, you missed a real treat!

 

 

For OCTOBER we went off to Mid Wales, starting the walk along the Llangollen Canal.  This gave us the chance to get into our stride before we began to climb.  With a forecast of heavy showers all day, it was tempting to find a cafe somewhere, but we are made of stronger stuff than that, and in the end we were rewarded with a largely dry day.  There were a few very brief, heavy showers, but we still had plenty of stunning views.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For SEPTEMBER, part of our walk was on Glyndwrs Way where we experienced lovely rolling countryside.  While the sun only peeped through occasionally, it remained clear and dry so we were able to appreciate the superb views laid out all around us.

 

In AUGUST we were blessed with perfect weather and clear views for a very pretty and varied walk in the Black Mountains.  One of those days that could not have been bettered.  And to round it off, we had a pub stop in the picturesque town of Hay on Wye.

 

Our JULY outing to the Arrans was postponed due to the extreme heat, and instead we had a beautiful walk in the Witley Hills.  The landscape was very varied, with some welcome sections though woodland, which were wonderfully cool.

 

For JUNE we went to Wiltshire, for the stunning views and historical sites that this fascinating county offers.

 

Ou r MAY walk revisited Cadair Berywyn, this time with considerably better weather!  In fact, the sun shone for most of the day, and it  was gloriously hot.  The walk started with a climb through bleak moorland, which had a beauty of it's own.  At the top we even tramped through a small patch of snow, despite the heat.  From then on there was a great deal of variety, as we passed a magnificient waterfall, traversed a lush valley, climbed a steep hill and descended through woodland and through scree slopes.  A wonderful day out.