Catching up with some of my wife’s Shropshire blogs…
By courtesy of Shropshire historian and author David Trumper (an old – in the nicest sense of the word! – friend from the days of Shrewsbury folk club), here’s a photo of the ceilidh band Haywain that certainly rang bells for me.
Tom Dunn on fiddle, Jo Dunn on accordion, Dave Evans on concertina, Phil Pritchard on drums, Graham Higson on guitar. Jo and I shared a flat for a while in the early 70s, but I was never a member of Haywain. I do have a faint recollection of a gig or two playing bass with Merrion Wood (a very proficient banjoist and no mean fiddle/mandolin player, as I remember from working with him as a duo) in a spin-off band called Chuckwagon.
As far as I know, Jo, Graham and Merrion are still around and gigging: I’ve seen Merrion and Graham around a few times recently with guitarist Bob…
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…as engaged in by sheep on Titterstone Clee Hill.
The Clee hills are the highest hills on the English side of the Marches, and while they don’t get the attention now that the Wrekin or the Stretton hills do, they have a significant part to play in the industrial history of Shropshire. Their sandstone deposits have yielded coal, copper, iron and limestone, while their distinctive shapes are largely due to a basalt capping. While there is still some Dhu Stone (dolerite, a coarse basalt – dhu is Welsh for black) quarried near the village of Cleehill for road covering, industry on the Clees has otherwise been and gone, but has left a permanent mark on the landscape, not only in the remains of buildings but in the way the land itself has been changed by quarrying and the steep inclined planes built for tramway access. On Titterstone Clee, the combination of the partly man-made landscape and the presence of the NATS and Met Office radar domes have an almost lunar appearance. It seems custom-made for an episode of Dr. Who.
Here are some less conspicuous remnants to be seen on Titterstone Clee.
Small Blue-Green World
ESET Senior Research Fellow