View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Tuesday 15th March, Ironbridge to High Offley

….but not one Wetherspoons

A tough previous day called for a relatively short and easy day, giving my little legs a chance to recover. The ride from Tewkesbury to Ironbridge had been quite lovely – Kidderminster, Worcester, the Severn Valley and Bridgnorth all deserved far more time than I afforded them. The next time I take that route it will be in reverse, ie heading north to south, and at a much more leisurely pace.

My planned destination for tonight was to be High Offley, near Woodseaves – which is close to Eccleshall in Staffordshire. It’s main claim to fame is The Anchor Inn, a wonderful gem of a pub on the Shropshire Union Canal. I’ve been visiting this pub and camping behind it since 1975. I was looking forward to another overnight stop there.

Back to Ironbridge. I’d had a small dorm to myself in the YHA so I had a quiet and restful night, no snorers…..apart from me maybe.

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The view from my hostel dorm window

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Ironbridge YHA

After an enormous YHA breakfast I spent a bit of time wandering up Ironbridge Gorge, it had been nearly 30 years since the last time I’d visited the area.

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On the Iron Bridge

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Up the Severn Valley

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The Iron Bridge

Leaving Ironbridge was going to be hard, not just because it’s a lovely place, but because of Blists Hill, probably the steepest hill I’ve ever tried to cycle up. It ended up being yet another hill the was too steep for me to pedal up so another push was called for. The sun was shining and there was no breeze, I was soon wet through with sweat.

The plan was to cycle through Telford and then enjoy a gentle trundle up the quite lanes of Shropshire and Staffordshire in good time to enjoy a lunchtime beer or two at the Anchor. But I’d underestimated Telford. It was quite the most difficult place to cycle through: poor road surfaces and few roadsigns – hardly any aimed at cyclists. In fact the roadsigns that I came across just wanted to funnel me on to major dual carriageways.

Eventually I made it through Telford and out of the other side – back on country lanes. Next destination of the day was to be Newport in Shropshire, a fine little market town. The sun disappeared behind cloud and the temperature dropped considerably, another layer was needed – as were warm gloves.What a change in just a short time.

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Newport’s Ballroom

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St Nicholas Church on Newport High Street

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In no time at all I arrived at High Offley but it just seemed far too early to end the day there, it was too cold to enjoy a beer anyway.

So I carried on to Stoke-on-Trent, like you do….