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.