Distance: 23.9 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,763 ft
In a break from our normal mid week night ride we decided to take a day off work this week and get some riding done in the day light hours. At the last moment this trip almost didn’t happen. I had installed a new chain Thursday evening which at the time all seemed fine. Come Friday morning however, I attempted to ride into New St and the bike was un-ridable due to the crazy amount of slippage I was getting from the new chain. I quickly returned home and got the old chain on and hot peddled it back into town to meet Jim and get the next train. As we pasted through the Shropshire country side and the hill raised up on either side of us we got excited at the prospect of some decent hill climbing and descending. I say decent anything over 1000ft is rare pleasure in the Midlands. the highest peak in the Long Mynd is about 1500ft and that’s starting at about 500ft above sea level.
We got off the train at Church Stretton and headed into The Mynd… or so we thought. Turns out we came out the wrong side of the train station and were on the opposite side of the village to where we thought we were. We followed some signs for bridle way and had at it for a while. After an hour or so of looking at the map and scratching our heads we finally asked a local and were pointed in the right direction. We headed back into Church Stretton and decided to go towards Little Stretton and get up into the hills in the middle of the range and then turn south and head towards the gliding club.
The first climb, route 9, was pretty tough to say the least. The weather had closed in by this point, with rain in the air and stiff head wind. The going was fairly slippery too so traction on large sections was pretty minimal. We fought our way to the top eventually and stopped for lunch. The wind continued to howl and the rain came down. Nothing to extreme to be fair but it truly wasn’t picnic weather. We didn’t hang about long eating our soggy sandwiches and got back on The Shropshire Way towards the gliding club. As we peeled off the road skirting around the back of the club the weather cleared, and we headed towards route 2. A fast rocky switch back section that descends approximately 1000ft in 700m which I would recommend taking a run at. Be warned however; the climb back up to top is fairly significant. It is on a narrow road which makes it slightly easier but it gets very steep and you will have to watch for the on coming vehicles that may or may not give you the right of way. As time was pressing on and the light fading we decided to make route 7, through Minton Batch, the final descent before heading back to Church Stretton. This again is a great section of fast but very narrow and flowing single track, that follows the stream through the gully next to Callow Hill. It was very picturesque and fitting end to a great day’s riding.
You can find out more about Mountain biking in Shropshire and what the above route numbers mean at mtb-shropshire.