- Day: 31 – Wednesday 14th June
- Started at: Kington YHA
- Finished at: Panpunton Farm, Knighton
- Miles: 14
- Miles from LE: 382
- Duration: 9hrs (9:00-18:00)
- Trig points visited: 0
- Ales imbibed: ??? it was either quite forgettable or really really good!
On my rest day in Kington I picked up the next batch of maps from the Post Office courtesy of mum & dad and spent much of the day plotting out the route and researching campsites etc. I did manage to head to the high street for a wander and sought out a delicious hot chocolate.
After a slightly disturbed night – someone at the hostel had lost the doorcode and so was banging the door down at 11pm, and then my dorm companion who’d I’d not yet met came in at gone midnight. Ah the joys of hosteling! Though neither of these have ever happened before and I’ve stayed in quite a few hostels, so don’t let this put you off – I think they’re great.
Today was going to be my last day on the Offa’s Dyke Path, I’m going to miss the well trodden paths and copious waymarkers. It took me from Kington (King’s town) to Knighton (Knight’s town) past nearby Presteigne (Preist’s town). It was a warm morning and a stiff climb out of Kington and I was soon walking alongside the actual wall & dyke.
Either side of lunch I met some interesting people. Firstly; Dave, who knew who I was before I’d opened my mouth – it’s funny how news travels along the trail! He is walking JOGLE and set off on 30th April. After I’d picked my jaw up off the floor, I saw he had a very small pack and then I found out he has a support crew – his wife is following along with a camper van the vast majority of the way. We compared notes, Dave gave me one of his JOGLE-based business cards – used to try and boost his fundraising (how organised!) – and then we wished each other well for the rest of our respective trips. After lunch I met a couple who were out with some members of BBC crew who were doing a recce for an episode of ‘Weatherman walking’, in which this couple’s son would feature after he had published a book of his 1,100mile walk around Wales. (As an aside, the book came about after the success of his WordPress blog he kept whilst walking…just saying!)
It was a lovely day’s walking in undulating hills with gentle ups and downs and great views all round.
I passed quickly through Knighton and to the campsite on the other side of town. On approaching the campsite was this sign so I obliged, as it was one of the last times I’d cross the border – cheerio Cymru, it’s been a blast!
- Day: 32 – Thursday 15th June
- Started at: Panpunton Farm, Knighton
- Finished at: B&B in Craven Arms
- Miles: 13
- Miles from LE: 395
- Duration: 8.5hrs (9:30-18:00)
- Trig points visited: close to Stow Hill, 434m – SO317745
- Ales imbibed: 1x HPA
Left Knighton later than planned due to a brief spell of drizzle at the moment I wanted to pack up, I waited a few minutes for it pass but there was just enough rain to soak everything so I packed up a wet tent – having awoken to a bone dry one!
The morning was dominated by two stiff ups and downs one straight after the other. In between them was a field of half a dozen young bullocks. Experience has taught me that either the Devon and Somerset livestock are on uppers or the Welsh livestock are on downers because around here the cows are much more relaxed. Given this, I felt able to tackle this small herd and entered the field where they had already begun to migrate from lazing under a tree to gathering around the exact gate I was heading for – typical! I approached with confidence, but not looking to split the herd I headed to one side to encourage them away from the gate. When I got to within a walking pole’s length and they hadn’t shifted I began to jesticulate and shout incoherent farmer type noises. Lo-behold they started to back away, still staring, but moving off enough for me to reach the gate. Heart pounding and repeatedly glancing over my shoulder caused me to fumble the latch but then all of sudden I was through and they were still on the other side of the gate. Yippee! Phew! I did a celebratory touchdown-esque song and dance and then went on my way. The score is now level: Cows 2 – Lucy 2!
After some food, I came to the village of Hopton Castle, which actually has the remains of a castle – although never technically a castle but more of a stately home-cum-tower. I love finding unexpected and understated historical sites like this – they definitely add colour to the trip.
By mid afternoon I was starting to get excited about the prospect of a tearoom which the guidebook purported to be ‘the best tearoom between Land’s End and John O’Groats’. I was dreaming of the cake selection and of propping my feet up for half an hour. I was absolutely devastated when I rounded the corner and the sign read ‘Sorry we are closed’. I could’ve cried! I pulled myself together and carried on to where I found a gateway where I could hang out my tent to dry and ate some sugar snaps. Not quite what I had in mind, but it’ll do!
I took minor roads to Craven Arms and the B&B was a pleasant surprise – I wasn’t expecting much for £35.