Yesterday, storm clouds gathered over Shropshire and the BBC weather app warned that thunderbolt and lightning would be very, very frightening in the immediate vicinity of the MadGang ere the day was out. So we decided to do our walking before lunch, which was, as it turned out, a very good decision as heavy rain mixed with the heat and humidity we are enduring at the moment to create monsoon conditions in the afternoon that it would not have been at all pleasant to be caught out in.
Not wanting to risk straying too far from the shelter of our car we decided to have a stroll around the top of Titterstone Clee Hill (titter ye not, that is its real name), the lower of the two main peaks of the Clee Hills (the higher being Brown Clee Hill to the north). It is just up the road from where we are camped and has loomed over us enticingly since we arrived.
Now, for me Titterstone Clee Hill is a near perfect hill insomuch that you can drive almost to the top of it. As far as I am concerned, it could only be improved upon as a hilltop destination if someone built a funicular railway all the way up its one thousand, seven hundred and forty nine feet and opened a pub selling fine Shropshire real ale on its summit. However, Mrs MP is a bit of a purist about hills, having the foolish belief that you have not actually climbed a hill unless you have done so on foot, carrying a heavy haversack, all the way from sea level. She also likes her hills to be as unaltered by man as possible. So she was not at all impressed by the top of Titterstone Clee Hill which has been blasted and dug up by quarrymen over many years with the destructive enthusiasm you normally only find so thoroughly employed by Canadian mining companies in Mexico.
A "miserable, godforsaken place" she called it.
Me? I thought it was beautiful. It is a landscape straight out of a Doctor Who episode set on Skaro. The huge white spheres of the radar station that is perched on its summit just adds to the science fiction vibe. Best of all, the clash of the man made with the natural against the wide and brooding skies, made for some excellent shapes just crying out to be photographed, which I did.
Inside the radar station, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, fifty two point one seven seven five weeks a year, plus the occasional leap second, ever vigilant officers from the Royal Signal Corps scan the skies for incoming Welsh missiles. The Welsh WMD programme is a closely guarded secret but sometimes there are leeks.