Today’s section of Offa’s Dyke was difficult but beautiful with stunning views. This section of the route is known as the Shropshire Rollercoaster. Take a look at the contours on the map and you’ll see how steep the climbs are – the closer the contour lines the steeper the hill. I take them very, very slowly, especially on a sunny day like today. I also give myself a breather every 100 steps. One advantage of taking lots of breaks is that I get to notice the wildlife and especially the kites and buzzards that seemed to circle over me like vultures over a dying animal. Maybe I looked worse than I felt.
I met a few walkers that were suffering today, one had set daily targets of 17 miles plus and was, I think, regretting it. Having hauled myself up and down the hills I was looking forward to a pint of shandy or two at the Blue Bell pub but no such luck – it doesn’t open at lunchtimes. I sat down outside the pub and looked at my maps – with no pub lunch I would need provisions. A lovely chap pulled up in his van and rearranged things on his roof rack then wandered over and started telling me about the area. He advised me to go into Montgomery which has pubs (open ones), shops etc. He also advised that I should follow the Shropshire Union Canal after Welshpool – an easier and more interesting route he said. Thank you nice man.
I’ve booked into an lovely B & B called Llwyn House in Montgomery. I’ve had a soak in a Radox bath and my washing is done and drying. Linda who runs this establishment didn’t even seem to notice how smelly I must be after several days of wild camping with no water.
When Offa built his dyke in the 8th century he managed to avoid almost all the pubs and shops – bloody silly of him if you ask me!
I recall that the ancient track, The Ridgeway, had similar problems. One has to drop down into the villages to find water, shops and pubs then have the steep climb back up to the path.
I had the bright idea of photographing all the styles today to show you how many there are and how beautiful some of them are. By 10 o’clock in the morning I realised that there are far too many to make this practical. So here are some styles in the sun before 10. I particularly like the triple decker with zigzag steps – which one do you prefer? Do you think I am becoming a style nerd?
It was also a rare surprise to find a water tap on the path.
Maybe tomorrow I will do the gates of Offa’s Dyke before 10 am. What do you think? Feel free to suggest themes for these blogs.
I could have done with my hat today in the sunshine – my face is looking rather weathered.