It rained all night, the forecast was completely wrong. I have grown to expect that but I did not expect snow – yes when I opened my tent this morning it was a winter wonderland. It was also very cold. I lay in my warm sleeping bag for an hour or so but there was no sign of the snow stopping. The ‘code of conduct’ is to pitch late and leave early so I had to force myself out of bed and into the cold. I very quickly put on every thermal layer I had and started packing. The tent was sodden and frozen and my fingers also.
I walked hard for an hour or so and soon warmed up enough to remove my mitts and get a couple of breakfast bars from my pack.
The landscape is changing again, the old cider apple orchards are lovely especially with mistletoe draped over the trees.
I was soon in Hereford and managed to purchase some new ferrules for my walking poles. ‘Buy one packet and get another free’, the assistant said,’ but I only want one pair’,’ you have to have something free’, she said, ‘how about a miniature caribina with built-in compass?’ ‘ No, honestly, I only want one pair of ferules.’ This went on for some time and in the end I gave in and purchased 4 universal ferrules that fit any pole – needless to say they didn’t fit mine. I managed to bodge them on with some insulating tape!
Why have rubber ferules? The pole tips are very noisy without the rubber ends so I prefer them fitted. Why bother with poles at all? They have many advantages; they take a lot of pressure of my old, creaking knees especially going up or down hills. They are also useful tools for holding down brambles and electric fences and they help balance when fording rivers or crossing tricky terrain and finally they are good for testing the depth of mud and water.
They do take a bit of getting used to – when you first start using poles it’s easy to trip over them but it is worth persisting. The poles I’m using I’ve borrowed from Kerriann; they are top quality poles from Black Diamond and I am very pleased with them. I may have to buy Kerriann a new pair at the end of the walk – I don’t think I want to give these back!
Sadly I have not had any news regarding my Tilley hat. I’ve asked Kerriann if she will speak to Tilley to sort out a replacement.
The sun came out this afternoon so after a look around Hereford and a nice lunch I stopped next to a river gauging station that had a nice fence around it. I unpacked my soaking tent and hung it on the fencing for an hour and it dried out nicely.
I pitched at about 6 pm to catch the last of the afternoon sun, my nomadic home is dry and aired, and I’m enjoying beautiful views over the black mountains.