30th July – Knighton

Monday

I woke at 4.00 this morning and quickly realised that my leg was still a problem. I decided to spend one more day in Knighton. My sister in law Susan and her husband Michael kindly took me out to lunch which cheered me up no end.

I think that the leg is getting better and I plan to move on to Craven Arms tomorrow. Plan A is to try to catch up the lost days by cutting out rest days. Plan B involves leaving out a section of the Pennine Way near my brother’s home in Co Durham. I will fill this part in once we return from Scotland. I am committed to being at Fort William by September 13th. The weather seems to be improving which is always useful but tomorrow will be a critical day.

29th July – Knighton

Sunday

I woke up to hear the torrential rain hammering against the window of my room. For once I was thankful that I did not have to walk.

My leg seems to be a little better and less swollen. Hopefully I will be able to move on tomorrow. I will decide tomorrow morning after another night’s rest. I have spent the day reading the Sunday papers and lying on my bed with my leg raised. All a bit of a nuisance but it has to be done. As long as I do not loose too many days I should be able to get back on schedule.

28th July – Hello Houston we have a problem

20180728 Drying the tent in my room
Drying the tent in my room

Saturday

While I was on the Hatterrall Ridge I noticed a slight pain in my right leg.  On Thursday I just took some ibuprofen and it seemed a bit better. When I woke at Kington my lower leg was very swollen. I did not really enjoy the walk to Knighton as it was painful and I was worried that it might be shin splints.

Luckily in Knighton I was able to get an appointment to see the nurse.  She looked at it and said, “I will just get the doctor to examine that.”  He diagnosed an infection in my leg and has given me antibiotics.  He advised me to take 2 days rest and keep my leg raised as much as possible.  Luckily I could extend my stay at the pub and they have changed things around so that I can stay in the room I had last night.  They have even very kindly arranged to do some laundry for me.

We will just have to see how things progress as the antibiotics kick in.

All a bit depressing, and I am pleased that my friend Karen and her Mum are coming to see me this evening.

27th July – Kington to Knighton

20180727 Offa's Dyke near Rushock Hill
Offa’s Dyke near Rushock Hill

Friday

I left the campsite at 7.05 intent on reaching Knighton before the forecast rain arrived.  The trail rises steeply from Kington to Rushock Hill via the golf course.  As normal there were no signs at the course and I wasted 10 minutes trying to sort things out.  Crossing Herrock Hill I went down to Ditchyeld Bridge, before climbing again to cross the ridge to the next valley and Dolly Green.

20180727 Hawthorn Hill
Hawthorn Hill

From there it was a long pull up the ridge to Hawthorn Hill and then the descent into Knighton.  I reached the George and Dragon just after 2.00 p.m.

26th July – Hay-on-Wye to Kington

20180726 Looking down to Newchurch
Looking down to Newchurch

Thursday

Another hot day was expected so we left Hay at 8.00. A short section walking next to the river was followed by a long climb up to the border before descending into Newchurch.

20180726 Disgwylfa Hill
Disgwylfa Hill

 

At the church there were hot and cold drinks and biscuits with an honestly box. Replete with tea we ascended over Disgwylfa Hill before going down to Gladestry for a late lunch.

20180726 Wyn descending towards Gladestry
Wyn descending toward Gladestry

Wyn ideally wanted to catch a bus to Hereford to start his journey home at 5.10.  As we were concerned about the time we decided to give the pub a miss.  This proved a good decision as it was closed!

20180726 The Hergest Ridge
The Hergest Ridge

Next came the Hergest Ridge which was a disappointment as in every way the Hatterrall Ridge was far superior.  Apparently it inspired Mike Oldfield to write Tubular Bells: Fields of Bracken would have been more appropriate.

20180726 Wyn on the Hergest Ridge
Wyn on the Hergest Ridge

The walk down to Kington was pleasant and we arrived at 4.30 in plenty of time for Wyn to catch his bus. It was very enjoyable to have had Wyn’s company for the last few days. We have been friends for over 40 years.

Now on my own again, I camped in Kington at a good site near the football ground.

25th July – Pandy to Hay-on-Wye

20180725 Ascent to the Hatterall Ridge
Ascent to the Hatterrall Ridge

Wednesday

Today was one of the red letter days of the trip so far.

20180725 Pandy from the Hatterall Ridge
Pandy from the Hatterrall Ridge

We left Pandy at 7.55 and immediately climbed 350m up onto the Hatterrall Ridge.  Once there we were blessed with amazing views as we gently climbed up to the highest point at 706m.

20180725 Trig point on Hatterall Hill
Trig point on Hatterrall Hill

The day was not without incident, as we met some soldiers on a navigation exercise, who were being assisted by medics on all terrain vehicles.  No lifts were offered despite serious hints!!  The parachutists on Hay Bluff also added some excitement to the walk, as did the ravens which accompanied us for much of the route.

From Hay Bluff the trail drops steeply to Hay mainly crossing farmland.

 

20180725 Wyn on the descent from Hay Bluff
Wyn on the descent from Hay Bluff

We arrived at Hay at 5.45 for a well-earned pint.  The Seven Stars was obviously once a pub but is now solely a guest house.

Tomorrow we will go over the Hergest Ridge to Kington.  The guidebook considers this possibly the best part of the entire Offa’s Dyke Trail.

24th July – Monmouth to Pandy

20180724 Monnow Bridge
The Monnow Bridge

Tuesday

We had an early breakfast and left Monmouth at 8.00 having stocked up with food at Waitrose.

After crossing the Monnow Bridge, the initial ascent into King’s Wood was quite pleasant as we had shade from the trees.

20180724 Sugar Loaf from the trail
Sugarloaf from the trail

After King’s Wood the trail mainly crossed fields. We picnicked at Llantilio-Crossenny before climbing up to White Castle.

20180724 White Castle
White Castle

The kiosk was closed so we continued to Llangattock-Lingoed and finally got some tea at the Hunter’s Moon, a fine 13th century pub. From there we made our way to Pandy and the Rising Sun Inn.

The accommodation was great as was the meal. The landlord kindly agreed to 7.00 a.m. breakfast in the morning. The Rising Sun also has a campsite and is highly recommended.