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The Stiperstones[800 x 600 JPG]
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|Description ||A cairn to the southern end of The Stiperstones. The visibility here on a good day is fantastic.
"The Stiperstones" is the name for a hill on the far west reaches of Shropshire, well into The Welsh Marches, overlooking the Welsh border. It is the second highest hill in Shropshire, affording superb views in all directions, and having several bronze age cairns along its ridge.
The cairns themselves, excepting the largest, can be quite hard to locate. At a very reductionist level, they are basically piles of stone amidst a whole ridge of piles of stone! The company of a 1:25000 map, a guidebook (and probably most helpful) a GPS will help locate them. The most noticeable cairns are at SO367985, SO368985, SO368988 (this last one being the biggest).
The hill is made up of quartzite rock - if you visit on a sunny day, it is impossible to miss the glistening rocks everywhere. The landscape here is blasted from the effects of projecting above the ice during the last Ice Age. Subjected to incredibly intense freezing and thawing, the otherwise strong rock was shattered, and now makes some of the toughest walking one might find in Shropshire.
Corndon Hill (the site of the Cwm Mawr neolithic axe factory) is to its southwest side, and Stapeley Hill - the ridge where Mitchell's Fold stone circle is located, is visible from The Stiperstones.
The Hoarstones stone circle, north from Mitchell's Fold also has an alignment with The Stiperstones, and the probably lost circle (or cairn) at Shelve, immediately west, is not far away at all.
To the north east, The Wrekin can be seen, and to the east Caer Caradoc's summit (Church Stretton) is noticeable, across the stretch of The Long Mynd. Stitt Hill and Ratlinghope Hill with their cross dykes and prehistoric farming features are to the immediate east.
Folklore abounds on The Stiperstones. There is The Devil's Chair, the northernmost tor, where His Infernal Majesty is claimed to take up residence at times. A thunderstorm will immediately occur should a human seek to sit in the place.
At the midwinter solstice, all the ghosts of Shropshire are also said to assemble here.
There are "The Seven Whistlers" - six birds fly together searching for the lost of their number; if found, the world will end.
Wild Edric, originally an historical figure of The Welsh Marches who made peace with William the Conqueror by 1070 haunts the Stiperstones (as well as around Church Stretton hills - here as a massive hound with fiery red eyes). As punishment for betraying the nation, he (still alive) is confined with his spectral army to the mines of the area (miners have heard tapping noises), to be released at times of National threat. Claimed sightings have happened around the times of the Napoleonic Wars, Boer War, Crimean War, and the First World War.
If similarity with King Arthur springs to mind, there is supposed to a huge magical fish which guards Edric's sword at Bomere Pool, and will only give it up to his true heir.|
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