Some twenty people booked to go on this 9-miler, which started and finished at Wilderhope Manor, a Tudor manor house situated in a remote valley 20 miles from the University campus.
In a Victor Meldrew moment, I found myself saying , "The clue is in the name Gay OUTDOOR Club", when only seven guys turned up, the drop in numbers presumably linked to the threat of rain. As it happened, although it was drizzling when we started the walk, within half an hour the rain had stopped and soon afterwards we were treated to a watery sun. We peeled off our wet-weather gear in time for the full sun which followed.
As it happened, the smaller number of walkers was much easier to manage: morale could be kept at a permanently high level and our backmarker, Glyn, was able to join me at the front for some of the time without running the risk of losing anybody.
The first half of the walk took us up Wenlock Edge on the eastern side, where gradients were easy. The local farmers had obligingly harvested the crops, so we were not forced to battle through ripe corn or, worse still, chest-high oilseed rape. As we crossed over the top of the ridge to begin the descent to the old railway track for our return route, we did have to scramble up a steep and rather slippery bank. However, being tough outdoor types, we managed this very well and without loss of life.
All the way back to the cars, the sun shone through the canopy of trees which lined the track and we had wonderful views across to Caer Caradac and the Shropshire Hills (although we could not quite see Julian leading his own walkers up the North Face).
On arrival back at Wilderhope Manor, we enjoyed tea and cake and a quick snoop round the Tudor interior, which is occupied by the YHA. Sadly, the cake was pre-packed Railway Cake but we didn't allow this to spoil what was otherwise a glorious day out in Shropshire.