The Monthly Newsletter of Chelmsford YHA Local Group
Having a Wrekin Good Time!
August Bank Holiday and CYHA are heading out to the wilds of Shropshire and the rather wonderful Bridges hostel, in the shadow of the Long Mynd.
The forecast wasn’t 100% brilliant, but after a rather damp August most of us decided to take a chance and start out early enough on the Friday to squeeze in a bit of a walk. I think most of us sumitted the Wrekin at some point on Friday, but not necessarily at the same time. The Wrekin isn’t very big, but because it stands alone it makes an extremely rewarding view point. CYHA weren’t the first to notice this great vantage point: not only was it the site of an Iron Age hillfort, but also a modern day communications mast. There are also legends to explain its very existence, including one involving a vengeful giant. Having taken against the people of Shrewsbury, the giant marched over with a spadeful of soil, meaning to bury them for good. On the way he met a cobbler and asked for directions. The cunning cobbler, fearing for his customers, showed the giant his sack of worn out shoes and said “It’s miles away. Look at all the shoes I wore out getting here!”. Disheartened, the giant dropped his shovel (the soil became the Wrekin), sat down, scraped the earth from his shoes and turned back. The shoe scrapings became the neighbouring hill of Ercall.
Having bagged the Wrekin, Dave, Tom, Yasmira and I decided to continue on to Ercall. Although smaller than its neighbour, extensive quarrying has left the hill with a rather lovely, narrow, wooded ridge. Beautifully dramatic.
Our Saturday walk was over the heady heights of the Long Mynd to the cosy tea room of Carding Mill. It was a fairly long hike, so most people decided to catch the bus back. Unfortunately the timing was such that those for the bus didn’t have time for that slab of cake before it was ‘all aboard’. Of course they had the consolation of a rather marvellous walk which included the sublime valley of Ashes Hollow, but some of us got that and a slice of cake. The amazing scent of heather flowers up on the hill deserves a very special mention.
Sunday’s walk took us up the Stiperstones, a rather nice ridge bristling with knobbly tors begging you to climb them. Somewhere around Cranberry Rock we managed to lose John, James and Gavin, who somehow managed to get in front of us whilst thinking they were behind. Although this meant they missed out on a rather fine pub, they did manage to find a tearoom we didn’t. We also managed to temporarily mislay Trudi, who hunkered down on the Devil’s Seat for a sketching session, but sauntered up to join us after lunch.
Bank Holiday Monday was looking a bit grey, so we headed to Ludlow and had a lovely afternoon watching full contact medieval combat at the castle. Authentic fighting in authentic armour complete with authentic blood and injuries.
Thanks to Cressida for leading us on a fascinating walk around Chelmsford - we all discovered some new facts about our city, and famous people associated with it including…
· Ceolmaer, the Saxon leader after whom Chelmsford was named.
· John Dee, sixteenth century mathematician and scientist.
· Thomas Hooker, ‘The Father of American Democracy’.
· Sir Nicholas Conyngham Tindal, lawyer and judge, who introduced the insanity defence for the first time.
· Anne Knight, anti-slavery and women’s suffrage campaigner
· Guglielmo Marconi, the ‘father of wireless’
· The chemist on Tindal Street who made flavoured drinks and founded the British Vitamin Company (Britvic)
· And Lord Ashcroft, businessman and politician and Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University.
Please send any comments on these pages to Dave Plummer