Monday, September 08, 2008

Long Mynd - a taster

The Long Mynd near Church Stretton in Shropshire is often spoken about with affection amongst those loving natural trails and although I have done several walks in the area I have never ridden there.

A weekend break in nearby Ludlow gave me chance to get a taster in. Originally I had a couple of route options to try, one 21 miles and the other around 16, but the weather and the fact that I had a friend new to off-roading, George, tagging along made me go for a simple loop.

The rivers locally were running high and had burst their banks in places, I guess it was not the ideal time to sample this area for the first time, but I was determined not to be put off by the rain. The climb out of Church Stretton was on a single-track road and consistently steep for 2miles. Very soon there were fabulous views and thankfully the rain held off. It was a harsh climb, but we both managed to keep going to the top.

The aim was to descend on one of the best pieces of single track called Minton Batch - one of the narrow valleys typical of these hills- and if it had not been for the GPS I am not sure we would have found it because by the time we reached the top of the trail visibility had deteriorated and much of the ground was under water. We followed the direction show on the Garmin and soon picked up other tyre tracks and a narrow trail through the heather. When I say trail, in places it had become a stream in narrow ruts with the only option to ride on wet sloping grass which threw the back wheel out from under you. We managed to pick our way through this section and then it all became much more ride able and it was easy to understand why this is such a popular area - fast single track running down a valley side not unlike some of the trail centres, but with less stable surface and plenty of water thrown in. It was all over too quickly and then to another road blast back to the car park with the rain setting in again and some deep floods to negotiate.
George did well to get down the Batch and thoroughly enjoyed himself - my worry that he might be put off was unfounded.

It is a place I would like to go back to, not just to explore more trails, but the town also has plenty to offer with tempting pubs and an excellent Fish & Chip shop.

Posse: Geoff - Turner; George - Ventana
Mechanicals: None
Weather: err, Wet


dahnhilla said...

Dad, that looks awesome.

I wanna go!

Farqui said...

I'm glad you didn't get washed away. I bet that long descent (profile) was fun...

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