Category Archives: Adventures UK 2015

Day 15 – Offa’s Dyke Walk

What a magical day to finish our walk on.  Beautiful sunny and practically clear skies.

The walk today started with an immediate very steep climb back up to the tops of the Clywdian range.  So we could see our destination pretty much all day.  It looked so close but took us about 5 hours of walking to reach.

As usual I had mixed feelings as we walked the last day.  It is great to complete something you’ve started but I love being out in the hills and the end meant the end of another adventure.

Prestatyn is a relatively new seaside town so not much to talk about but we made our way down to the sea as is the tradition (although we didn’t walk down the beach into the water as you are supposed to do). We had a celebratory beer that afternoon and a lovely dinner to celebrate that night.

Today we catch a train down to London to go to the theatre tonight with our lovely friends Kiko and Mie.

Rod still has his outing to Lord’s to watch the third day of the second test to look forward to and then it is homeward bound for us.

It has been a fantastic trip!

Day 14 – Offa’s Dyke Walk

Our second last day.

What a brilliant one as we near the end.  It started off clear but quickly clouded over and started to lightly rain.  By the time we climbed onto the Clwydian Range is had socked in.  But it got better as the day went on.

We were mostly up on the moors all day today and it was so great to be walking out in the open so high above the patchwork valley below.  We finally saw our final destination in the distance.

One of the stand out things in the distance are the (seems like) hundreds of wind turbines out off the coast standing in the sea.

We’ve dropped down into the valley tonight and will climb out steeply tomorrow morning for our last day of walking to our final destination – Prestatyn and the Irish Sea.

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Day 13 – Offa’s Dyke Walk

Another great day.  Rain off and on but never heavy.  We had considerable time up high today on scree slopes and moorland.

Day 12 – Offa’s Dyke Walk

What a day! Our walk into Llangollen.

We’d been excited about this day as we were revisiting the wonderful Llangollen Canal and stunning aquaduct that we’d experienced a few years ago when we hired a narrow boat to travel the canals around this area.  I love boats and boating too so I was looking forward to seeing some in action and walking the tranquil (and flat) tow paths.

We’d really enjoyed our night with Riv, the 80 year old B&B owner in his converted barn.  He and his wife had renovated the old barn nearly 30 years ago before it became trendy.  We had breakfast in his lovely old kitchen along with two Swedish young girls who were competing in the Llangollen International Choir Eisteddfod. Turns out he is the grandfather of the current Western Bulldog’s sports scientist – Jon Bartlett.

The walk was spectacular going past the Chirk Castle (the only one we’ve seen so far that was still in working order)  They happened to be running the Chirk Half Marathon at the time so it was very festive.  After a few hills we headed down to the canal side and walked the tow path to the little hill side town of Froncysyllte after which is the 120 feet high Pontcysyllte aquaduct for the boats on the Llangollen canal.  We had an enjoyable picnic lunch sitting by the canal watching new skippers panicking to miss other boats or turn their newly hired boat around.  Ah it brought back memories …

Next we headed into the hills again high above the River Dee along under big limestone cliffs before a final climb up to a ruined castle above Llangollen – the Castell Dinas Bran.  Even from here high above the town we could hear the music from the Eisteddfod festival.  Unfortunately all the choirs had finished by then as they’d been competing all week but the last day is more of a music festival with rock bands.  We were excited that we’d bought tickets to attend the final concert that night which was featuring, would you believe, UB40!  What a blast from the past!

We had a wonderful dinner in town (although the choice was severely limited as the crowds had cleaned the restaurant out over the weekend).  And then off to the concert.

Neither of us were particular fans of UB40 but I’d been aware of their hits through the 80’s. A lot of the earlier songs were unknown to me but probably some of the 50 or so chart toppers they had here in the UK.  But the last couple of songs and the entire encore were songs that made it big in Australia so we were really bopping along then.  It was a great night and a terrific finish to an outstanding day.

Day 11 – Offa’s Dyke Walk

Day 10 – Offa’s Dyke Walk

My Teva sandals purchase meant I could trust the feet to the walk again a day earlier than we thought we’d be able to.  We shortened an already short day by getting a lift a little way along the route.  We thought it might be better not to go hard straight off if we want this strategy to succeed for 5 more days.  It was perfect terrain for a recovery day too as we walked along a river and the Montgomery Canal to the town of Llanymynech – all flat and scenic.  All went well so I’m keen to see how it all goes as we go back to the hills tomorrow.

Luckily it was also a beautiful dry and bright day too.

Day 9 – Offa’s Dyke Walk

The task today was to find some alternative footware,  Our second day off the track but with a mission in mind.

It’s a beautiful sunny and warm day. We caught a train in Welshpool heading for Shrewsbury where there are a few outdoor shops.

I was mainly concentrating on getting some goop to soften up my boots, thinking that it would be unlikely to find some boots I was happy with.  However, first store we went into I tried on a pair of Teva sandals which left my toes free and the back strap passed above my heel blisters – Mission Accomplished.

As a bonus, Strewsbury was a really interesting and old town – lots of Tudor buildings and the place where Darwin went to school.

A leisurely trip back on the train and we were back in time for a spectacular dinner by our hosts in the manor house.  By the way, I didn’t quite give up on my boots.  I found some leather conditioner and gave them a big treatment.  My friend Letitia has written to say she thinks I have my boots up on a pedestal they don’t deserve.  Rod wanted me to through them in the bin as soon as we bought the sandals and was PO’d that I bought the leather goop.  I think everyone is ganging up on me and my boots!  I guess I might have to let them go after this experience but it will be a trauma.

Day 5 – Bonus day in Hay-on-Wye

Sorry I was enjoying wandering around Hay-on-Wye so much I forgot to take photos.

Our big effort yesterday meant we had a whole free day in Hay-on-Wye.  Normally we would have been dropped back up the track 3.5 miles out of town and then had half a day to explore.  But seeing as how we walked all the way in yesterday instead of being picked up short of town we got to sleep in!!!!

We are in an absolutely beautiful old Inn now converted to a modern and stylish B&B – The Bear.  Terrific hosts as well.  What better place to get to spend two nights!

Day 8 – Offa’s Dyke Walk

I woke about 2 am with my feet throbbing in pain and came to the realisation that I wouldn’t be able to put my poor feet back in my boots in a few hours time. I started working out options and thought it might be best to jump ahead for an extended stay at the place we were expecting to reach in three days time.  Alternatively we could just stay with the schedule and move by taxi with the bags for the next three days but it just so happened that we were staying on isolated farms for the next two nights which would be awkward for the host and would leave us at a bit of a loose end – especially if their internet coverage was poor as was usually the case.

Rod woke about 3.30am so we discussed our options.  Rod was all for buying a new pair of shoes for me and seeing as how the biggest town (read tiny anyway) we were going to be in for the next few days was the one we were currently in, he was all for staying here another night while we checked out the shoe shops.  This was made more difficult when at breakfast we learned that they were fully booked for the next two nights.

Luckily our wonderful Celtic Tours lady, Anne, although on route by train to work, gave us a few more options.  One had us travelling back about 60kms to Hereford where shoe shops and outdoor shops were more prevalent, but we ended up deciding that because of my double whammy of blackened toe nails as well as broken heel blisters, there was no sort of shoe that was going to be able to be bought that wouldn’t have its own problems.  She wrangled all the options and logistics of baggage transfer, prior bookings, place close to shops, etc and came up with a plan to jump one night ahead which would put us at a place within a bus or train journey from shops but not disrupt our schedule too much.  All while allowing my feet a couple of days off in thongs to see if they’d respond positively enough to keep going.

It is now a couple of hours later and we are happily ensconced in a terrific manor house outside of Welshpool.  I’m catching up with the blog and Rod is watching the cricket.  If I can put aside my huge disappointment and unease at not being able to walk the entire Offa’s Dyke route I’ll be able to relax into the luxury of the days off.  I’ve been given the name of a good leather treatment so if I can find it when we go off to have a look at Welshpool and Shrewsbury tomorrow it might help soften my boots up so they can go easier on my feet.  You see I’ve come to the conclusion (rightly or wrongly) that I’ve created this “boot situation” with my lovely old good quality boots (that have always given me a little heel blister to start with each walk but never black toenails) by neglecting them.  I didn’t give them any special attention after they successfully lifted me over all the high Alps in Switzerland last year and I think they’ve just gone hard on me. I should have been treating them with leather conditioners and oils before putting them away.

Anyhooo, enough whinging and whining from me.  Tomorrow is another day.

Sorry about the pictures but I had to record somewhere to prove I wasn’t whimping out.

Day 7 – Offa’s Dyke

A lovely day today.  A mile less distance and lots of variety.  Lots of sheep.

Feet still suffering but the shorter distance made it better at the end of the day.