DAY 45: Shrewsbury to All Stretton – 16 miles
I could easily have stayed in bed all day but the sun was shining outside and those miles were not going to walk themselves. Last night I emailed a bunkhouse at my next stop, and this morning I heard back that they have a bed for me, so with all that taken care of I got stuck into Sonia’s epic breakfast spread. When I eventually came to check out Sonia would not accept any payment but told me to donate the money to my charity – the first of many kind acts I would experience today. I hadn’t seen any of Shrewsbury on the way in yesterday so this morning I made sure to take a side-step over the bridge for a quick loop of the pretty city centre. As a result I somehow ended up in the beauty salon getting some pampering done… which I didn’t begrudge at all, but meant I didn’t actually start walking until 12:30pm which was by far the latest I had ever got moving.
On paper my journey today was under average at only 12 miles, however this meant taking the direct (boring) A-road all the way. Having now learnt from previous mistakes I didn’t want to start going all round the houses and double my journey today – especially as I was starting off so late – however Sonia had suggested I could follow hill trails all the way to All Stretton without having to go near the main road so at some point a decision did need to be made. Since I’ve been walking in England (as opposed to Scotland) I haven’t downloaded Ordnance Survey maps for every area, as the cost soon mounts up. Today however I decided to download the relevant tiles which helped me mix and match my route today… and I reckon I got it totally spot on!
From Shrewsbury I walked through Bayston Hill, then turned off road where I started on sheep filled farmland before getting lost amongst the cornfields (and the swarms of flies!). Eventually getting back on the right path which led out onto the spectacular clearing at Lyth Hill, which I so wasn’t expecting I actually let out a gasp! The path that ran alongside this simply stunning viewpoint contined along the top of the valley for quite a while and I could easily have spent hours up there… but eventually it wound down to more idyllic countryside lanes, which I followed for the rest of my day. Stopping briefly at the Dorringtons Horseshoes for a lovely late lunch and chat with some locals, I set back off with the sun still shining and no major rush to be anywhere. I was grateful to receive two more donations along the way; one from a lad driving a tractor who pulled up alongside on a country lane and another by Steve, the Boots Chemist van driver who also pulled over to donate.
What with the beautiful weather and the exceptionally stunning scenery I ended up taking over 50 photos of Shrewsbury town and the Shropshire Way walking track (which I walked on or crossed over for most of my journey this afternoon). I eventually found the bunkhouse which was tucked away up a long winding lane into the National Trust area, and was pleased to find a clean and peaceful room waiting just for me. It was already 7pm, so I just about had time to reminisce about my wonderful afternoon before I was ready to crash.