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Landslide

Member since May 2009 • Last active May 2016

Most recent activity

  • in Cycle Touring
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    Ta! It was great fun, and really quiet on the roads, through riding midweek and out of school holidays almost certainly helped. My in-laws reckon Shropshire's just the right side of out of the way; very few people actually live and work there, and most trunk routes take folk past, rather than though it.

  • in Miscellaneous and Meaningless
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    Worked for Bond in Goldeneye, no?

  • in Miscellaneous and Meaningless
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    Oi! It's Friday, where's our fix???!!!

  • in Cycle Touring
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    The Last Leg
    By now Tom was getting a wee bit pressed for time (as he had to make it back up the M6 for work in Glasgow the next morning), so we pushed on back towards Much Wenlock. Rather than battle the gravel lanes of the JMW, we opted for following the lanes at the bottom of Wenlock Edge, which was easier terrain, but did see us lose our race against the last weather front of the day. Thankfully, we weren’t too sodden by the time we reached my in-laws place, and we were soon warm, dry, and shovelling lasagne down our throats. Tom was left to rue his swift getaway, as we made our final sample of Shropshire’s fine beverages, this time largely from Wood’s

    Day 2 in numbers: 93km, 18 pints, 8 rashers of bacon, 12 eggs, 2 snow storms, 4 tired and happy riders.

  • in Cycle Touring
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    To the long Mynd
    We headed west to be reunited with Jack Mytton, then north to the lower slopes of the Long Mynd. This bit of the route was stunning, and we met only one car as we climbed gently up towards lunch, with the bracken-covered slopes of the 7-mile long heath and moorland plateau on one side, and rolling hills on the other. Aficionados of Mint Sauce will recognise the feelings of “This is why”… Lunch was taken at Bridges, another of Shropshire’s fine hostelries. This one is run by the Three Tuns Brewery, which claims to be the UK’s oldest brewery, having been established in 1642. Clearly their beers do a good job in washing down food, as Mr D actually cleared his plate for once! He had been blowing out of his arse suffering since The Sun Inn on day 1 mind you…

    We were now approaching the final stretch of our trip. There was just the small matter of getting over the third highest hill in these parts. Mercifully, the Lost Lanes route seemed to take us up the gentlest climb possible, topping out at a beautiful little tarn at Robin Hood’s Butts (snigger) before a last little bit of off-roading over to Boiling Well. From here, it was a simple matter of pinning it down the other side onto Church Stretton, something that would have gone a lot faster had it not been for getting stuck behind a car that seemed to be intent upon burning out its brake pads.

  • in Cycle Touring
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    Day 2

    Tuesday dawned, and we blinked into the morning sunshine. “Why have you brought us here, and what are you going to do about the weather?” asked Tom (see pic). Bacon was fried, eggs were scrambled, and bellies were filled. And then partially emptied again by Mr D, who doesn’t have the strongest constitution in the world when it comes to breakfasts…

    To Bishop’s Castle
    We headed through Clun, and on to Newcastle, before the climb up to Two Crosses. Here, Tom got an answer to his earlier question, as we battled through a horizontal snow storm to reach the Kerry Ridgeway, an old drover’s road. Here, the weather improved, and we bounced our way in glorious sunshine down to Bishop’s Castle and into Happy Bap, home to the Bap-O-Matic 3000 and some bloomin’ marvellous soup – parsnip, pear and Shropshire blue cheese. Winner.

    As we topped up our caffeine levels, the weather turned again, with snow and hail lashing down on our bikes. Thankfully it had abated by the time we left the café, and more sunshine saw us on our way. Bonkers.

  • in Cycle Touring
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    To Church Stretton
    Morning broke, breakfast was eaten, and we started winching our way up the hill to Much Wenlock. It only took until the third junction before we became navigationally challenged, but things were soon rectified, and we headed on to the Jack Mytton Way (named after a local mentalist who once tried to jump a fence with his horse… whilst it was pulling him in a carriage). Here we encountered the first grumbles from the skinny-tyred members of the group. Things didn’t improve when we pushed up a steep gravelly track, and Look cleats were confirmed as unsuitable footwear for this kind of thing. Running 42c tyres and SPDs, I did my best not to look too smug, before bombing off down the bridleway…

    Once back on tarmac, we made it to Church Stretton for eleven o’clock, so it was only right to indulge in elevenses, which were taken at Berry’s. Scones live up to their name, and the tea was proclaimed to be “absolutely spot on” by Mr D.

    To Ludlow
    Suitably refueled, we headed south via more grumbling from the 23c brigade, as I led them off a nicely tarmaced road in favour of one of Shropshire's strada bianche. We then took a scenic tour (ahem, ahem, more wrong turns…) round Edgton, before zipping down the valley to Aston on Clun, and over the hill towards lunch. Two slight mishaps here:
    1) Meeting tractors on single track lanes while bombing down them at 40+MPH is “interesting”. All credit to the farmer, he swerved into the hedge pretty sharpish!
    2) The Apple Tree at Onibury is closed on Mondays, which scuppered our original plan for lunch.
    Thankfully it wasn’t too much further via some classic NCN (mud, potholes, gravel, manure…) past Priors Halton to Ludlow, where we found good food and even better liquid refreshment.

    To Clun
    The morning’s showers had now blown through, and our afternoon ride took us through some lovely rolling hills via a nice old stone bridge with a resident Kingfisher to Leintwardine, and more specifically, The Sun Inn. Winner of numerous CAMRA awards, they surely would have won more if there were a category for “Slowest Bartender”. Still, he pulled a good pint eventually, and we had a nice chat with him about our route, before we headed up past Hopton Castle (where the Lost Lanes route sheet was at fault, rather than our map reading for once!), and we passed up the opportunity for an extra loop round Bury Ditches hill fort in favour of the direct route to Clun Mill YHA, where trade was so quiet that the staff had travelled over from a neighbouring hostel to check in our gang of four in addition to one other guest.
    A quick wash and we wandered into the thriving metropolis of Clun. There are two pubs, and we’d been wondering which to try first, but The Sun Inn (clearly a popular moniker in these parts) made the choice easy for us, by dint of being closed (also clearly a popular pastime amongst Shropshire licensees…), so we continued on to The White Horse, which had black pudding Scotch eggs, its own brewery, and plenty of food. They also offer B&B, apparently with secure bike parking if you’re in the area. We then headed back to the YHA for a wee dram before bed…

    Day 1 in numbers: 105km, 14 pints, 3 hangovers, 1 Kingfisher, 1 woodpecker (Greater Spotted), 1 pork pie, 3 hip flasks.

  • in Cycle Touring
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    As promised…

    Prompted by a combination of liking the cut of Jack Thurston’s jib, and having relatives living near the Welsh Borders, I got a copy of Lost Lanes Wales for Christmas. While all the routes look lovely in their own rights, I fancied summat a bit longer, so stitched together the loops round the Long Mynd, Ludlow, and Clun/Bishop’s Castle. It wasn’t especially hard to enlist some accomplices (Tom, Gav and Mr D), particularly when one of them spotted that there were 10 places to eat, drink and sleep listed for a 40 mile route!
    We convened at my in-laws on a Sunday night, and prepared carefully for the next morning (see pic). This may have been to mask my admission that, yes, we would be riding up the steep hill that we’d just driven down. I’d been hoping no one would think to ask…

  • in Miscellaneous and Meaningless
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    Manure's new manager is still Chelsea's:

    m.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/363826­37

    Lulz.

  • in Cycle Touring
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    I recently did a 2 day mini tour round Shropshire, based on routes 24-26 in the Lost Lanes book. I'll do a proper write up some time, but it was great, would really recommend the area.

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