Shropshire was the location of the fifth family camping week and 12 families camped just west of the imposing Long Mynd.
For 5 families this was their fifth year and it was great to see how things are progressing. So it was congratulations to Becky, James, and Matthew who were off the back of the tandems this year and on solo's happily chasing the older children. Understandably though, they weren't to be caught as most had undergone winter training. Flora was Scottish junior sprint champion, Sam was Scottish hill climb champion and Jonathan and Sarah were also amongst the medals.
5 day rides were arranged which took in most of the interesting things in the area, so on Sunday we set off for Montgomery. With its ruined castle we munched in the tearooms and climbed the hills. Monday took us north past the Stiperstones in blazing heat. At 29 degrees the 2 arranged stops at Stiperstones Inn and Bridges were a welcome relief and 22 miles was just about right. We paid for this though as the tremendous thunderstorms in the night caused such a downpour that 3 families took it in turns on flood alert in the early hours as our tents were pitched close to a stream. Tuesday took us to the talking toilets at Clun. Set next to the castle it spooked a lot of us as a booming voice gave the impression that in fact you weren't alone. Wednesday was a rest day and we either watched Wall-E in Shrewsbury or took in the delights of Ludlow. The day ended with a take out curry consumed at the site.
Thursday took us to Stokesay Castle, with its tower, hall and tearoom, after which we visited Acton Scott working farm. Of course everyone was taking it easy as the annual Scotland verses England Softball game was due in a sheep field in the evening. It started well for the Scots, however Jonathans lack of grip on the grass and other offerings summed up the Scots night as they were severely drubbed by an innings and 12 runs. 3-2 to the English then, see you next year.
Friday naturally meant the Long Mynd. There are 4 routes over and I chose the 2 easiest at the far north and south. It was a beautiful day as we wended our way over, firstly via the Ratlinghope valley and then back over via the glider club. However the fast peleton full of Scottish cycling champions took the harder route over, gamely pursued by their fathers. I'm assured that next year the teenagers get the trailer bikes, I can hardly wait.
We finished the week with the traditional BBQ, Dave's farewell speech and Malcolm’s fabulous photographic show. It's Dumfries and Galloway next year; we're off to practice our pitching right now.