This morning I said farewell to the River Wye. It had become a friend and accompanied me for the last week or so and a lot of miles. I joined the Hereford trail and cut across to The Offa’s Dyke Path. Many, many years ago I planned to walk this path over The Christmas holidays but the man in the walking boot shop warned against it; ‘Offa’s Dyke is too dangerous in Winter’, he said ‘ and anyhow it has too many styles and is a mud bath’. This rather put me off so I walked the North Cornwall coastal path instead.
I recall at one point the path was closed because of a land slide – I ignored the signs and tried to negotiate the scree slope that was once the path. I frightened myself witless. It is amusing to think that years later I would be part of the excellent Boscastle Coastguard team and would be helping to rescue stupid walkers like me.
Anyhow, at last, some twenty five years on, I am walking the Offa’s Dyke Walk and very nice it is too. Clearly it is quite hilly but, touch wood, it has not been too muddy and there hasn’t been an unacceptable number of styles.
This morning I had a small slip in the mud, my right foot slid but it twisted my left foot. This was quite painful so I slowed down and let the poles take more weight. I came to a pub that had a sign on the door saying that it was outside its normal opening hours but ring the door bell and they might be able to open. The landlord did open for me and I enjoyed a couple of pints of bitter shandy and a baked potato. I also thought about my throbbing left foot. What would nurse Godwin (Kerriann) tell me to do? I could hear her saying take some anti-inflammatory tablets and take it easy. I took two nurofen and continued the walk slowly. Soon the foot felt much better.
Offa’s Dyke is obviously a popular walk. I met several other walkers today including a couple that have, in the past, walked from Lands End to John O’Groats. They were telling me that their favourite walk was The Pennine Way. I have avoided that walk as I have heard so many bad reports about it being very difficult and very crowded. They did look extremely fit so maybe the difficulty didn’t worry them.
This will be my third consecutive night wild camping – let’s hope this weather holds.