Wonderful Wales

A month’s walking, some 415 miles; a lot of nights under canvas and I’m still going strong, well strongish.

I thought that, by now, I would be as strong as a lion and would be running up the steepest hills but no, they are still hard work and my legs and feet ache at the end of the day. I’m getting better at pacing myself on the steep climbs and my recovery time is improving. Today I ran off the edge of the map and have not yet found a shop that sells them so I have been using way marks and the GPS – this has been interesting especially as I decided to venture off the planned route and try the Montgomery canal as recommended by a couple of locals. It all worked out fine but without a (paper) map it is difficult to know where you are heading other than very locally. The tiny screen is ideal for making sure you’re on the correct track but no good at showing the position of nearby towns, woods etc.

I had a lovely time on the canal towpath, not just admiring the industrial architecture, the locks and lift bridges but the people around here are, without exception, lovely. Whilst phoning Kerriann this afternoon a couple who I had chatted to earlier came and invited me to join them for tea and scones on the towpath! Michael had made the scones himself and Helen only had half a scone so that I could have a full one complete with cream and jam. ‘If you have any problems when you are in Wales just give us a call and we will sort it out’ they said giving me a phone number. What nice people.

cream tea on the canal
cream tea on the canal
I walked a mile or so further on when I met another chap who, it turned out, had a keen interest in wild camping – he usually uses a hammock rather than a tent and is the second person to recommend hammocks. ‘ Would you like some homemade flapjack? It’s made with my friend’s honey and has no sugar.’ Well it would be rude to say no. Thanks Gareth.

Later, a dog walker offered his garden as a camp site. Are the Welsh always this friendly and welcoming or is it that I am looking particularly pathetic?

I am camped up by the canal this evening – it’s by a road bridge so is a little noisy compared with my usual secluded spots but is flat and dry at the moment.

Over 18 miles today.