The Devil’s journey from Ireland to Stiperstones Revisited

Blogging challenges, England

Last week we were in Shropshire, visiting good friends Perhaps soon I’ll take you with us one one of our trips but today, because it’s Fandango’s Flashback Friday, I’ll revisit a post I wrote last time we stayed with them.

Our road from Church Stretton to the start of our Shropshire walk.

The Devil’s journey from Ireland to Stiperstones

August 2016

Shropshire’s one of England’s forgotten counties, and full of secret landscapes for the lucky traveller to discover.  We found a few ourselves this week, when visiting ex-Riponian friends Hatti and Paul.

Here’s our route, as shown on the OS map.

They took us on a walk along one of those characteristic long, narrow scenic ridges which offer easy walking, and wonderful long distance views to east and to west.  So there we were, rambling from Wentnor to Bridges along the ridge for a rather good pub lunch, and then back to Wentnor along the valley floor.

To the right of us was the Long Mynd, a gently sloping plateau.  To the left, and higher above us were the more rugged Stiperstones.  Both hillsides were covered with an intensely purple carpet of flowering heather.

You’ll want to know how the ridge of Stiperstones came to be covered with an untidy tumbling of large and rugged boulders.

It was the devil who dropped them there.  He’d once noticed an old crone carrying her eggs to market by holding them before her, nursing them in her apron.  That was the way to do it! That was how he carried a large bundle of rocks all the way from Ireland to Shropshire, where he planned to drop them in the valley called Hell’s Gutter.  It was heavy work, and he sat for a rest at the very top of Stiperstones on a rock known since that day as the Devil’s Chair.

The Devil’s Chair (Wikimedia Commons)

As he stood up again, his apron strings snapped.  Out those rocks tumbled, all over the ridge.  He didn’t bother to pick them up.  They’re there to this day.

Look carefully, there on the skyline are the devil’s carelessly-lost rocks.

Climatologists and geologists have a different explanation, more credible but less fun.  If you get the chance, go to Shropshire, savour its varied and delightful landscape, and decide for yourself.

For more on this story, look here.

32 thoughts on “The Devil’s journey from Ireland to Stiperstones Revisited

    1. I won’t disagree. It’s a lovely part of the world, and inaccessible to boot (said she with feeling, not having discovered a quick way of getting there – or back).

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  1. There was a series of children’s books by Malcolm Saville called The Lone Pine Club and they were largely set in this area. How I loved them! Mention the Long Mynd, Church Stretton… and I’m instantly jolted back into my nine-year-old self. I really must visit in my current guise. You’ve affirmed my belief that it’s worth a trip.

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  2. Shropshire looks inviting, Devil and all. My father did part of his National Service there in the 1950s, but only remembers how long it took him and the guys to drive to London.

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