Walking with an aching foot.

There is a beautiful stretch of Shropshire Hills called The Lawley. It’s an unusual name and is a peculiar promontory jutting out of the ground alone approximately 1240 feet high. You certainly get a fabulous panoramic view when walking along its humped back with vistas across the flat plains of Shropshire’s fabulous countryside to the Long Mynd, the Wrekin and other surrounding hills in the deep distance. It’s particularly beautiful.

Harriet and I hiked along the full length of its base, which must be a couple of miles and then clambered up the slow assent starting from the north end, through the small glade of I think Beech trees and onwards towards the summit. The weather was very much on our side. While other parts of the country were drenched in down pours and surrounded in grey clouds, the lucky people of the North West Midlands we enjoying a near cloudless blue sky and delightfully warm sunshine.

I had driven up early on this Saturday morning, leaving as I usually do when I see my lady friend at 6am. It is of course a great time to be motoring along as the road is not hogged by commercial traffic racing at break neck speeds to make their deadlines, deliver their cargo or make the all important meetings. Although there was traffic and people were still traveling faster than they really needed to, there was much less of it and on patches of the M40, I simply had the motorway all to myself.

I spent a few hours in the delightful market town of Shrewsbury, doing what now has been a bit of a ritual that of purchasing freshly roasted coffee beans from Aroma. It’s very much the iconic independent shop complete with its many tantalising glass jars of mysterious coffee beans from different parts of the equator displayed in row upon row on its shelves behind the long counter at the front. All freshly roasted within the last week and expertly weighed, ground, if desired and packed by hand in front of your eyes by a lady in her middling years who has a cheery smile and welcoming demeanour.

More coffee was purchased in a newly opened cafe and the guests of a wedding studied as they paraded themselves in the street dressed to the nines in their best and probably brand newly bought outfits, kissing, laughing and joking in a pre-ceremonial drink feast before heading off to one of the nearby churches to watch the union of two of them as they tie their knots and make unreasonable vows to one another.

For lunch, Harriet and I decided to drive a little south of Shrewsbury to a pub we frequent fairly regularly just off the A49 just short of Church Stretten. It’s called the Horseshoe and obviously was very much an old pub in traditional style up until a few years ago when it was revamped and now has a much more modern feel about the place. The decor is not entirely to my liking, favouring as I do the old dusty low beamed flag stoned quiet country public house of ancient times, but the food is good, the owners are nice and Harriet loves it.

Fortified with ham, egg and chips and pint of summer ale from a Shropshire brewery I was very much ready for a walk and climb and the food was digesting and we basked in the sun that I suggested to my lady friend that The Lawley might be the answer to exercise plans.

Now what I haven’t mentioned is that my left ankle is causing me a lot of pain. It’s as if I have knocked it severely and bruised it, but I don’t remember banging hard and there is no outward sign of swelling or discolouring so I am not sure that is what giving me the jip. I wondered if I have in some way pulled a muscle because if I force myself to put the full weight of my body in it and ‘open’ it in the normal way as I walk and flex it the pain slowly eases. It never completely goes away, but does become progressively reduced.

The idea was that a medium length walk and mild climb might actually do the ankle a world of good. I have to confess this theory was right, although as I started off hobbling along the path way at the base of the Lawley there was slight trepidation on my part that Harriet would have to resort to having my legs around her waist as she dragged my useless body along the bumpy ground back to the car when the shear weight of my body was too much for me to stand let alone walk.

In the event, the trip to the top of this splendid volcanic mini mountain was more than successful with the pain dissipating and my ability to completely forget the unfortunate injured ankle and enjoy the fresh Shropshire area and stunning scenery.

Of course, I may well pay for it all in the hours and days to follow!

July 10th, 2011 by