Tuesday, September 04, 2007

From the Stiperstones

If you look long and hard - and it may help to do the click-click thingy on the image to enlarge it - it's just about possible to see where we live. (Should you want to of course.) About half way down the picture and running from the right hand side to about the centre is the Long Mountain, its eastern slopes basking in the afternoon sunshine. About halfway along this slope is the dark outline of Badnage Wood and nestled in its leftmost trees the little black and white St Mary's Church. Follow the hedge line down - imagine it continues from where it stops and you will find yourself, well, in our garden. I hope that's clear.

We found ourselves today with an eager 7 year old who can see the Stiperstones from his bedroom window, looking back from that ridge to see if we could see his bedroom. Great in theory but very hard to put into practice. From our vantage point on Manstone Rock we did our best to point out landmarks to him and guide his inexperienced eye along contours, woods and shapes to the place we call home. I'm not sure we succeeded but he seemed happy enough with the notion that 'here', in its boulder strewn vastness could be seen from 'there' - and that 'there' was over in the distance.

Such a wonderful day to be clambering over the Stiperstones - the craggy outcrop that runs roughly north to south between the Long Mountain and the Long Mynd - above us a clear blue sky with a handful of cartoon clouds. England spread below us to the east, and Wales to the west where today both Cader Idris and Snowdon were visible on the horizon. We scrambled along the rocky trail that links the massive quartzite tors; Nipstone, Cranberry, Manstone and Shepherds Rocks and the Devil's Chair. This trail is an ancient routeway and this is an ancient place. We looked down on other sites where man had made his mark in former times, leaving forts, cairns and circles - the enigmatic Mitchells Fold - and goodness knows what else beneath the soil in his wake. The 19th century's miners have come and gone, their predations now disguised by fields and trees. The landscape below is restored and pastoral once more.

We ate our picnic lunch - a jam sandwich (most yummy) and an apple, lodged amongst the stones, lounging in the sunshine and curiously comfortable. Our boy leapt and sprang amongst the heather and the rocks to emerge jammy faced and happy. It's back to school for him tomorrow so today was something of an end of holiday treat. For us all.

Here's my souvenir, a sprig of heather and a couple of stray feathers.


Wipso said...

Hmmm happy days eh? Hope you had your fern tickets with you. In the days of my dad's youth it was joked that you needed a fern ticket for a romp on the hills. Many happy hours has been spent up on those hills picking the winberries and the devil's chair was a favourite place of mine to go 'rock climbing'.

Milkmaid said...

What a superb view, you live in a beautiful place, mmmm jam sandwich now that's a very underrated lunch

Mopsa said...

How lovely - and it could be Devon!

snailbeachshepherdess said...

Aha ...one lady on the wrong side of the valley ...and i didn't know!! must have aword with passport control on the bridge again...cant get the staff these days!!