This event is unique in its organisation as each year it visits a different area of South Shropshire giving those taking part a diverse mix of our beautiful rugged and man managed countryside on an undisclosed course that is not revealed until the morning of the event, anticipating a sense of adventure. Registering at a village hall in Cleobury North from 6:45am, some two hundred runners/walkers busily plotted the route for what promised a testing 25 mile route, plus some 1160m of ascent.
Starting from the village hall with the grass frost dissolving and the sun getting ever warmer and higher the event wound across fields and on forest tracks before making its final ascent across open moorland to the toposcope/trig point on the summit of the Brown Clee Hill. Retracing part of the route you could see a quality field of runners that seem to be attracted to this event with runners from Ludlow, Mercia, Helsby and beyond which psychologically made it feel like a race as we contoured the hillside with lovely views towards the Long Mynd and beyond, to the ramparts of Nordy Bank Fort, an area I’ve always heard of, but had unfortunately no time to visit.
The route continued on to the Jack Mytton Way before picking up the Shropshire Way towards Titterstone Clee and the highest point in the county. At this point I was just in the lead and chose to take a route over the summit as described in the route description, but became a bit overzealous as on reaching the top expecting to find a self clip before realising that I needed to descend the rock-strewn slope to reach the disused quarry and railway incline the other side to where the clip point was under a bridge. Having moments of self doubt and looking at my map again and again I navigated myself down the incline, but by then a pack of runners had made ground and had passed me. It was also good to note that the route description also gave an alternative route contouring the eastern end across moor which many took and whilst longer gave a direct approach to the bridge rather than trying to find a needle in a haystack.
The route made its way across the common and down a vague bridleway on an exhilarating descent towards Cleeton St Mary before making its way back towards the Brown Clee Hill. This part was on quite a tricky route which needed the use of the route description rather than an OS map as many routes to our cost were either non-existent or had recently been rerouted despite being shown as rights of way. Having made a final ascent to a rather windswept and barren Clee Burf the route descended swiftly past the welcoming lake and far reaching views down through beautiful parkland of the Burwarton Estate to finish back at the village hall in a welcoming joint first place in a time of 4 hrs 23 mins .