Day 5

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Origin:        Ross on Wye
Destination:   Wem
Waypoints:     Mordiford, Leominster, Ludlow,
                 Longville in the Dale, Upton Magna, Clive
Lunch:         sandwiches in Ludlow
Cake:          The Bell Inn, Cross Houses
Accommodation: The Coaching Barns, Wem
Dinner:        The Castle Hotel, Wem
Google Maps (likely to go stale/inaccurate over time)
Distance:      80.0mi
Ascent:        3074ft by Google

Ross feels (and sounds) very west-country. But by the end of day 5 we'll be somewhere (or should I say somewem) that feels like it's in the north. That was quick!

We had out of Ross on some lovely little roads. Our route is carefully planned to bypass the metropolis of Hereford, by the villages of Fownhope, Mordiford, Prior's Frome and Lugwardine. This was well worth it; some absolutely lovely villages. We took a brief stop in Mordiford.

Shortly further, by the A465, there is a little square that Google does not want to commute. But it does and we did. The A465 was quiet on our trip. In a similar trick, we joined the A417 briefly but then jumped off again; it was not a busy section.

On the way into Leominster there is a little cycle bypass on the right before the roundabout on Worcester Road. From what I remember it was worth taking, and it is shown on the GPX route here.

In Leominster we stopped at the Spar on the corner of West St and the A44 to buy supplies. From there, it is a pleasingly fast B-road all the way down to Ludlow, where we had a deserved lunch.

I've a feeling that this is where we first ran into the pack of friendly MAMILs who were doing the ride over a similar route to us; we would see them again several times over the coming days. They seemed somewhere between bemused and affronted when we told them we were doing LEJOG in 14 days (to their 13), with no “support vehicle” (they had a van and driver) and relatively little lycra.

Again taking the back roads out, we chose the minor road instead of the B-roads to get us up towards Wenlock Edge. The mileage and climbing are within a whisker of each other, but I've added this B-road (diversion 1) in case you prefer smooth to bucolic.

Either way, we were on the B-road at Broadstone and take the left over the top, to Longville in the Dale. This is a fair climb, but manageable and the down bit is fun. We pushed on to Cross Houses before stopping for cake at The Bell Inn.

From there, it's time to avoid another metropolis, this time Shrewsbury. Traffic for Attingham Park was a bit busier than we'd like, but we pushed on. Astley is particularly pretty. The brief A49 section in Hadnall had me concerned, but it turned out to be a pushover, being none too busy and 30mph through the village.

This bit of the ride did seem to drag a little, but we knew it wasn't a matter of how; only a matter of Wem. There were signs for Yorton and Clive (but whither Wem?) as we climbed up, reaching the church at Clive (a lovely spot), before turning right on the High Street. Finally all was Wem with the world. The sign said three miles to go, and they were mostly downhill. We cruised into town, over the level crossing and along Mill Street to meet the High Street.

The Castle Hotel provided a basic but tasty evening meal and local ale. Finally, a Wem fact: the Treacle Mine is a sweet shop but it also serves a very nice cooked breakfast from 7.30am (and even had some friendly people to chat to). This proved handy, because our accommodation this time was only B (no B) and we had a long day the next day.

You'll notice that according to Google's elevation gain figures, this day's route marginally breaks my rule of not both climbing more than 3000ft and going further than 70mi. I'm fairly sure it was within budget when I first planned it, so I can only blame changes to Google's algorithms (which perhaps, by the time you read this, will have changed back).

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Content updated at Sat 25 Jan 11:12:00 GMT 2020.
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