Now we’re stepping back out into the world, adventure is closer to home than usual. For the next few months, we will follow a happy tribe of Millican wanderers as they explore what it means to adventure everyday. This week Tom Allport heads out to find a moment of calm amongst the Shropshire Hills, with his Smith the Roll Pack 18L and Packing Cubes packed safely into Graham the VW Transporter.
Word & Photography by Tom Allport | @tom_allport
This place is by no means wild. Sure enough it's remote, its beautiful, but it’s pretty far from wild. Crowds flock here on sunny days, lay-bys full, car parks full, coffee shops and cafes full. You’d almost avoid it during the summer but it’s the closest place to home with some dramatic landscapes and I’ve always wanted to experience sunrise in these hills.
Companions on the Trail
"I was accompanied on this trip by my trusty Smith 18l. This bag has been a part of almost every journey over the last few years, the perfect amount of space for a couple of nights away or more if you pack light, I’ve had a week out of it in the past! The material is burly enough that I know I can throw it down anywhere and hike through the elements whilst my camera gear or dry layers stay protected. This pack is a workhorse and I know for a fact it has hundreds of adventures left in it."
Recently we’ve not had the luxury of choice, of places to visit or avoid, any time spent outdoors has been more valuable than ever and so with that in mind, I resisted the urge to keep seeking wilder places. As I parked up the van I was wondering how much solitude I’d actually get over the next 24 hours, solitude that I had been craving, I luckily managed to find a parking spot close to some locations I’d scoped out for photos and got straight out for a hike.
The beauty of staying here on a Sunday night meant the crowds disappeared by about 8pm. I cooked dinner in the van before setting off on my sunset wander. The 360° views from the Long Mynd Trig Point were breath-taking and this was probably the most peaceful I’d felt in a long time; the primary goal of this short trip. It felt like I had the world to myself. The sky stayed bright until at least 11pm when I called it a night, crawling into my sleeping bag and setting a 4am alarm for sunrise.
For some reason the alarm tone doesn’t sound as bad when you’re waking up in the middle of nowhere. A peak through the curtains looked pretty gloomy, very overcast, I considered shutting my eyes for a while longer but a step out of the van revealed a cloud inversion down in the valley. Time to scramble. I threw my kit in my bag and set off, no time for teeth-brushing.
The light got better and better, I wanted to move locations to different viewpoints, but I couldn’t take my eyes away. From cold blue to the occasional break of golden light it was changing constantly. The mist in the valley was advancing and receding like a tide, even rising up to me a few times before dissipating again.
I stayed until the sun had risen fully, menacing clouds were on the way so I trudged back through the heather to the shelter of my hilltop camp spot. Bacon butty, a cuppa, huge raindrops on the tin roof, heaven. Once the rain had left it was time to set off. I tidied up the van for an audience of sheep, who had taken to using the back bumper as a scratching post. I cruised back into town arriving with the smell of brakes. The valley was still quiet so I walked up to a popular waterfall and small reservoir, as the trails began to fill I decided to head back downhill for a coffee.