PYW - New Years Eve 2010 in Ironbridge 

My first trip away with PYW was to the beautiful town of Ironbridge in Shropshire.  Thirteen of us were to embark on a long weekend of walks, eating cake and New Year celebrations.  The hard core arrived at lunch time on NYE Michelle, Chris, Karen, Chris (Lincs), Paul, Sara, Jane, Claire and John. ready for a 6 mile walk starting from Ironbridge along the gorge and up to Coalbrookdale.  We trundled off towards Buildwas, many with walking poles which were useful as the ground was rather muddy and the path narrow and close to the full River Severn,. My poles were at home so I had to slide my way around, we all managed to stay standing after climbing a steep bank through trees which was good although Karen seemed to have gloves full of wet spiky thistles?  Christmas colds also ensured there was plenty of coughing after climbing the slope.

We then walked across the fields to a small hamlet, where the footpath disappeared down someone’s drive through the back garden and descended again into the wooded valley at the top of Coalbrookdale.  The original footpath had disappeared due to some nice decking “family friendly” walks so we took a detour to the source of the Industrial revolution.  Not content with two climbs and resulting descents we headed for a third which brought us right to the top of Ironbridge town.  The walk back down into town through the zig zag of alleyways barely wide enough for a horse let alone the cars that kept pushing us out of the way.   Not the best place to live or park a car in icy conditions!

We arrived back in good time ready for the night ahead. In the evening we all met at the Malthouse where half our group was staying for a lovely meal and the chance to strut our funky stuff to live music in the bar next door. Only a select few (myself included) seemed to like the music so the rest decamped to Sarah and Steve’s pad for a drink or two to bring in the New Year.

StiperstonesThe Wrekin was to be our New Year’s Day awakening. Claire and John had organised a great set of walks and for this one we set off on the route around the hill leaving the mass of locals in the car park at the bottom of the easy access path. It was a misty day but we were hoping this would go by the time we reached the summit. The walk started off gently uphill but not for long as we were to embark on Little Hill followed by Big Hill, the former was a killer, a narrow slippery very steep hill that made your heart pound in your ears! I was dreading Big Hill but actually this was less steep but never ending and every time you thought you were at the top there was another hill to go! We finally made it with Paul and Steve sprinting to the finish, Steve piping Paul proving that age has no barriers! We stood at the top with a large number of people and dogs admiring the mist, there was even a family having champagne and nibbles on the Trig point

We then had a short descent back via the tourist route back to our cars. A well deserved tea and cake was had back at Ironbridge in Truffles Tea room. Jane particularly enjoyed herself by eating a tea cake followed by a second course of carrot cake leaving just enough room for dinner at The Malthouse later that evening.

Sunday we set off early for the big walk. Quite a commute to The Stiperstones via the hairy icy road that goes up and over The Long Mynd. Some preferred not to look but fortunately the drivers did.

From our start point at Bridges (next to a pub we later discovered was closed) we had a gently rolling ascent to the north end of Stiperstones and our first crag called Shepherds Rock. On the way up we encountered a Chieftain tank parked in the corner of a farmyard which some of the group found fascinating. All along the Stiperstones ridge are various crags of differing degrees of difficulty which some found it difficult to resist climbing. Indeed at some the PYW became the PYM (Peterborough Younger Mountaineers). The Trig point was on top of a particularly challenging crag but was conquered. All that was missing was a flag!

A gentle descent included some unexpected boggy areas and a stream with some wobbly stepping stones which proved interesting but unfortunately all made it across safely. As the pub at the end was closed the group then split into those going home and looking for toilets and those looking for warmth and a pint. The latter was found at the Bucks Head in Church Stretton.
Cold Hill The Bog

Dinner was at the Malthouse once more where they had more live music from a band called KRAP (Klassical Rock And Pop apparently).

A hardcore group of 7 tackled the last walk of the trip from Bridgnorth up around the hills surrounding including a quaint mill village. Along the River Severn we even managed to spot a Kingfisher! Back into town we enjoyed the funicular ride up to High Town before a final split up for lunch, shopping and sightseeing.

Another challenging trip to a new area with splendid walks led by John and Claire to whom many thanks.

Sara Branch with input from Steven Abbott and Claire MacDonald-Rose