Sunday, 31 July 2011

Part the second... I was saying before I rudely interrupted myself...

Saturday and today have been spent in the south Shropshire hills, particularly the Long Mynd, the Jack Mytton trail and the Shropshire Way.  We parked the car in Church Stretton yesterday lunchtime, and over the following 26 hours, covered 35 miles doing a big anti-clockwise loop through the various hills and footpaths just mentioned.  Six of those miles, admittedly, were spent hunting down food last night, but hey, we did them regardless of the reason.

The loop took us to Craven Arms at its most southerly point, and we camped a couple of miles to the west of there, very near Aston on Clun.  The weather was fine (a bit too fine in fact as my burnt head testifies), the walking was good, our packs were heavy (tent, sleeping bags, water, change of clothes, towel, food [never knowingly under-catered]), and there were many, many hills.  I won't claim it was as good training as being on a bike, but there's been very little damage done through not doing any formal training for 3 days.

The point of the weekend though was not to train - it was to get in some good walking, father and son style.  I certainly enjoyed it loads, hope Seb did too.  Every time we spend time together I think he'll surely have got beyond his "Dad, what do you think would win in a fight, a bear with a machine gun, or a hyena on acid?" phase, but he never does (and he's only 3 months away from being 18!).  The choices were a bit more prosaic today, and each time I expressed an opinion it would be verified or disproved by reference to YouTube.

It was fun camping again - hadn't done it for a while, and I really like that feeling of self-sufficiency.  Times move on and people change though - you're thinking I'm going to make a really profound observation about the nature of the father-son relationship aren't you - nothing like that I'm afraid.  We allowed ourselves to start fantasising mid-morning about what we'd like to eat when we got back to Church Stretton - after all, you're allowed anything you damn well like after 35 miles of pack-laden yomping.  After some procrastination I confessed that last night's fish 'n' chips, and the sausage and egg sandwich for breakfast (at the same bikers' caff in Craven Arms Mendip Rouleur and I refuelled at on one of our LEJoG days) had sated my need for crap food, and I really wanted a salad.  Amazingly, Seb said the same, so it was Co-op salads all round.  Didn't stop us having an almond custard Danish though, and that was ruddy lovely.

We saw many things that were interesting to us when we were out from a nature point of view that are too boring to bear description here.  What was Quite Interesting, however, was being directly underneath gliders as they were being winched into the air at the Long Mynd Gliding Club - I'd never seen that particular operation before, and very impressive it was too.

So, to finish, a mention of all my kids - I've spent quite a bit of time with them all individually in the last week or so.  Without getting too gushy, I've enjoyed it all; they're very lovely in totally different ways, and I'm an incredibly lucky father.  That is all.

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