YHA Memories

Wye Valley YHA is a lovely old fashioned hostel, rather like those I remember from my youth. It’s an old rectory and comes complete with a church in its grounds. The location, overlooking the river, is to die for. When I was still in primary school my mother would let my brother and me cycle off to Youth Hostels on our own; this would be unthinkable nowadays. Of course back then there were no provided meals, you had to cook your own. You slept in large dormitories often with no heating. You also had to take your own sleeping bag liner and guests were expected to do ‘tasks’ like cleaning the floors as part of the deal. I rather liked the old format as it forced people to interact.

 

tree across a path
tree limbo

 

antler on the ground
too heavy to carry

 

river in green fields
by the river

 

green field with figure mafe from a tree pointing the way
this way Sir

But I enjoyed my stay at this hostel and met some nice people; a cyclist, a metal detectorist, a birder, and a Duke of Edinburgh award scheme instructor. An unlikely group of people but one guaranteed to inspire interesting conversation. On my walk today I had brief chats with various people who were all very encouraging. One chap walked with me for half a mile or so. He was a very keen walker, I suspect ex-military, and he was saying that the boys from the regiment do the Wye walk in 3 days, ‘mind you’, he said, ‘they walk all night as well!’

Which brings me onto one of my gripes about guide books for long distance walks. Why do they assume that all people walking the routes are super athletes and set day walk distances of 17 to 22 miles? In my humble opinion, 10 to 14 miles a day is more than enough. It reminds me of a couple Anthony and I met when we were walking the Two Moors Way. We had set up camp at about 5 o’clock and were sitting by the fire having a mug of hot chocolate when this middle-aged couple came hobbling along the path. In conversation it turned out that they had pre-booked their accommodation based on the guide book recommendations of 20 plus miles a day – they were exhausted and still had 6 miles of hilly terrain to go.

closed bridge on the river
yes I managed to cross this

 

map in foreground of field scene
yes this is the right way

 

field of bluebells
bluebells ringing

So take my advice and ignore the expert advice, set lower targets and enjoy walking without pressure – the worst that can happen is that you will have more time to enjoy your surroundings.

Ross-on-Wye made a nice lunchtime stop today and this afternoon’s walk took me past some very affluent looking houses – there is money around here – posh country estates. Hereford and further tomorrow with any luck.

selfie in frnt of old building
in Ross On Wye

Thanks for all the comments – I really enjoy reading them. It can get a tad lonely spending all day and night alone so your messages are areal boost. Forgive me if I haven’t responded to all of them but it’s difficult operating the iPad in a freezing tent and I have to do it quickly to preserve battery life.

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7 thoughts on “YHA Memories

  1. Mollie and Ken Setterington

    Hello Graham,
    Really enjoying your walking blog. Wish you all the best in your venture. I am Helen,s (from Boscastle)s mum. from Yorkshire. We are going off to Filey in our motorhome on the East Coast. regards Mollie and Ken

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    1. Its nice to hear from you Mollie and Ken and I glad you are enjoying the blog. Have a nice break in your motorhome – maybe I should simply have driven ours to John O Groats – the tent is good but I miss the blown air heating and hot and cold water on tap!
      Cheers. Graham

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  2. I’ve never stayed in a youth hostel. At least your managing to get some warmer and more comfy accomodation other than the tent. Hope you havent had any of the snow and hailstones that we have had here today.

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  3. Louisa Morgan

    So love the Wye valley! It’s important to do a trial walk to see how much is achievable in one day. We’re doing this now as we’re walking the South Downs way later in the year. Keep it up Graham so enjoying this blog xxx

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    1. I agree, a trial walk with loaded backpack. And remember that when there is a lot of mud it is much harder work.
      I did the South Downs Way for Winchester many years ago and loved it. Especially camping by Chanctonbury ring. Enjoy it!

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