The Magical Welsh Border

Today was a really fun day. Clare, Tom, and I crawled into their red Peugeot and started driving around the Welsh border.

It started with a trip up to Stokesay Castle. It’s really a fortified manor, but interesting nonetheless. The main hall and tower are in excellent shape, with some really neat rooms. It also has a quaint little church next to it.

From there we went to Knighton, which houses the Offa’s Dyke Museum. We strolled around and identified the Dyke, which is not as easy as you might think. While they have tried to keep it in repair in the last century or so, much of it has disappeared. Also, what is left has been overgrown with trees and bushes. However, there is a 182 mile path along and atop Offa’s Dyke you can hike. We wandered a bit on this, and where we were, which was right next to the River Teme, was beautiful. I have seen and done quite a few wonderful things on this trip, but I’m not sure that any of them top this place. Here, in the shadow of the Dyke, I performed the Wanderer for Clare and Tom. Magical. Plus, I got some cool Anglo-Saxon souveniers and books (sorry Mom).

We then proceeded up from Knighton with the ultimate goal of getting to Shrewsbury. Most of the Welsh border roads we drove today are hedged lanes amidst beautiful scenery with pretty English countryside towns popping up periodically. Plus the road to Shrewsbury leads through some other interesting sites. We stopped at the town of Clun and visited their castle. This castle is mostly in ruins, but what’s left is impressive. It’s also at the top of a hill, and I have to say the Markovi Kuli Exercise Program ™ was very helpful in allowing me to run around much easier.

Also on the road to Shrewsbury was the Mitchell’s Fold Stone Circle. This stone circle is not in tremendous shape, with only a few stones standing above the ferns which surround the circle, but it is neat nonetheless. People aren’t supposed to have fires on this hill, but I have to admit, if I had a chance, I’d love to build a fire at the center where others obviously have and sing until the wee hours. More magic.

And yet more magic and more song to end the excursion. We got to the Shrewsbury battlefield and I roamed around it and to the chapel which honors the dead there. Like the Hastings battlefield, there are purple and gold wildflowers and I sang Hotspur as I walked around. Yes, I’m totally geeky, but singing that song in that place was totally and completely magical to me.

So tomorrow we’re going to do a similar drive. We’re not sure where yet, but there’s lots of magic in the air, and we’re going to find it.

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