Annie … Clun Valley is in Shropshire not North Wales….26 miles of hills, 4300 feet of ascent …owch

The Clun Valley Challenge day began at 05.15 with a departure for Clun at 05.45 crikey (as they say in these parts).  A cup of tea for breakfast (sensible Annie as always) and we leapt into action.  Oooops slight wrong turn by me meant a trip through miles of hairpin turns with moaning minnie Sue threatening illness for the remainder of the trip, this did not bode well.  Another muttless walk, dogs not allowed due to risk of picnic sabotage apparently, shame.

Rocks squash rocks

Ali and Fi (sister and cousin of Sue) turned up at the scheduled time, clad in shorts and t-shirts, (some of the runners appeared to be in bikinis so no issue here), we all checked in for our laminated check point clip charts and we were off.  Hurrah.

Hawthorne on the hills

En route a few other “chums” tried to race past, no chance, Nilou, Jenny and Sally,….ummm I had heard about Nilou and her need for speed, oh dear, no matter as this spurred Sue on…the 26 mile route was now a must.

Walking through part of the Shropshire Way, our first checkpoint at 8 miles bought: brownies; Cadburys; Tyrrells; flapjack; cups-of-tea; coffee and frankly every other fattening thing you could imagine all provided by the good folk of Clun. Yummy, shame the dogs were not in tow. (Point to note Sue had started an “in case of emergency” fill of her backpack with bars of chocolate and crisps, would this be her undoing?).

Clun cake makers did themselves proud

On-we-marched undaunted by the hills and the threat of rain, spurred on by the thought of the next tent full of cakes, were we so simple, yes is the answer? 13 miles hove into view (cake tent) and one of our team had a wobbly leg moment but a hot cup-of-tea and a hot dog soon sorted that out, (Sue stashed choc and more crisps). Onward and upward. Graham, (carefully lost by Nilou and crowd early on) had re-joined the party; OMG, 6 foot 3 with legs the length of the M1, his gruelling pace was it going to break us all?

Ali and Fi left us at this point, the Shropshire County Show was calling them, even I was tempted by the “quack pack” (duck herding) and the young farmers “it’s a knockout competition”?

Whilst I would like to say this walk was all about the gruelling hills of Offas Dyke etcetera my memory will be cakes, chocolate, tea again and again and again….

Nilou, Jenny and Sue take another breather...

Most of the gang were not map readers but those that were managed to get us into a few diversions so the 26 miler was probably a 27 miler,  10 hours walking / eating got us back to Clun City Centre, guess what, more food!  The first marathon held where everyone put on weight.  PS (Sue realised she was more tired than most due to the collection of “emergency” chocolate bars and crisps in her backpack!!).

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