Post ODP Knighton

Saturday 7th October

I got out of the George and Dragon but left my big bag there to collect later.

Disappointing coffee in cafe across the road whilst I waited for the Offa’s Dyke Centre to open at 10.

It did and I had a very nice cup of coffee which you can buy from the Offa’s Dyke Association. Not cheap though.

Had a good look round and then walked a little of the path northwards, including some ODP stones to say about Sir John Hunt (of Everest fame) opening it ….

Collected bag, dragged it to the station, it felt much heavier than when I started out. Uneventful train journeys home. Manchester was busy thanks to sport so I waited a long time for the tram.

My trip was arranged by Celtic Trails who did a good job, clear information, all the luggage transfers worked. All the B&Bs were very good but the pubs were crap. I’ve told them all this and hopefully next time when I do the northern section, I can avoid the pubs apart from when I’m drinking the beer.

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.



Todmorden circuit (and Calderdale Way section) 23rd July 2017

Cath and I started from Kava Kafe in Tod. We went along the Burnley Road, into the graveyard, into Centre Vale Park and then off up the Calderdale Way rising steeply with views over the town with almost no buildings in sight despite it being just a few hundred metres away, just lots of greenery. We stayed on the Calderdale Way until Whirlaw where we shifted onto the Todmorden Centenary Way. The Calderdale Way goes in much the same direction but takes a lower route. We stayed up, passing the stone face below Windy Harbour. The Tod Cent Way is an old packhorse route with clear stone facings on one side. We crossed Hey Head Lane and continued to the next minor road which we walked along and then turned down Matthew Lane. This has a part with a sheer drop which is quite exciting. We trotted down to the main Halifax Road, along for a short stretch and then took the road to Harvelin Park so we could get onto the canal towpath. Back to Kava for refreshments.

Stoodley Pike
No selfie stick!

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.


ODP 5 Longtown to Hay-on-Wye

Weds Oct 4th

The Crown was a bit rubbish to say the least, disorganised breakfast but they gave me 2 huge poached eggs.

I decided to take the low route to Hay on Wye because of high winds which would be extra high up at 700m. I passed the Mountain Rescue station and asked them for the best route. The guy said I’d made a “good call” re the high winds.

I did 4 miles along the quiet road until I got to a picnic site. No table. Then walked for miles along an old drovers’ track. Some of it was fine, some grassy, some paved, some muddy, many fords to cross, trees to clamber over and under. It was mostly under walked so hard going as not kept in good condition but would be a lovely walk on a fine day.

It started off fine but became much cooler and very wet by the time I got to where I needed to cut across to the ODP. Not for long but enough to require all the gear. The way ahead was completely obscured by mist.

I got the compass out and took a bearing to get me to the ODP. I was bob on but it was good to see the old acorn which told me I was back on the National Trail. It’s nice when the nav techniques work.

Then a 4 mile breeze down to Hay on Wye. Got some nice sandwiches for the next day from the Granary, last visited a long time ago with Chris.

Across the bridge to my B&B called The Start. So much nicer than the pub B&B. Hot bath and out to town to Tomatitos tapas bar for tortilla, meatballs and gratinada de verdura de temporada. 2 halves of Butty Bach. Excellent.

About 12 miles today. Total 53.

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.


ODP 4 Llangattock Lingoed to Longtown

Tues Oct 3rd

A lie in and a later start. Boiled egg for breakfast. Went and looked at the white church. Peaceful. Set off about 10. Had to go through 2 fields of cows before I’d even done 2 miles to Pandy. Crossed the busy road then the river Honddu then the railway line. A train appeared very suddenly but I’m still here. I managed to avoid another field of cows by adding a hundred metres on the road. Steady ascent from the road to Hatterrall Ridge. It was cold in the wind up there but good ridge walk with fabulous 360 views of the Black Mountains.

This was a much shorter day so I bimbled along. Saw Jem at one point. Met a woman ML doing a reccy. Then lunch out of wind in an old quarry. Off the hill down to Longtown. This took longer than I expected. I got to the Crown just after 3.30. There seems to be a pub b&b thing which is about 20 years behind the main b&b sector which is generally very good. So no cake and tea welcome. The welcome was a chalk board notice telling me my room number.

The shower fitting fell off and I couldn’t get it back so had a bath which is first in several years and it was quite nice. Very hot water.

Spinach and chick pea curry in the bar. Ok but that’s all. Half of Otter bitter and then a Butty Bach both good.

About 9 miles. Total 40.5 miles.

Llangattock Lingoed church, I liked this church a lot
Variation on the signage
Hatterall Ridge
I did
Back along the ridge
Lots of lovely fungi
Forward along the ridge
Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.


ODP 3 Lower Redbrook to Llangattock Lingoed

Mon Oct 2nd

Breakfast was good. All fresh and local and organic. I had wild boar sausage.

Left at 9. Briefly walked and chatted to nice man walking his dog. First stop The Kymin which is National Trust, a naval memorial and folly. Into and out of Monmouth passing M&S Food and Waitrose. Up through forest and rang Carol by accident but was good as was feeling so low. Even though it was longer, today’s walk was faster. Fewer gloomy ancient woods, more agricultural land. Only had to walk through one field of cows and they behaved themselves. Passed the site of Grace Dieu ruined monastery but no sign of it. There was a field of white cows I didn’t have to walk through, phew, some of them had horns. Stopped for lunch in a field of sheep. Saw more squirrels, 2 pigs, lots of sugar beet, several foolish dogs. And cows and sheep of course. Hardly saw any people after Monmouth apart from a few dog walkers and farmers. Passed a church and wanted to go in but it was locked.

The last stretch was hard but arrived White Castle at 5 to 4. I rang Karen as did have a signal after all. Quick look at the very large castle then K picked me up and drove me to the Old Rectory in Llangattock Lingoed. Tiny village with pub, the Hunters Moon, a white church and the rectory. This B&B almost as good as last night’s. K gave me tea and cake. Chatted to fellow walker who is also doing the ODP. To pub, very friendly, a bit like when I was a teenager in the Half Moon in Hepworth. Half of Monty’s Offa beer, ok. Butternut squash, feta, filo parcel with fresh vegetables, rice and chips, all excellent. Half of HPA. Then 2 more whilst chatting to Jem.

14.5 miles today. Total 31.5 miles.

The Kymin
Nice piggies
Bridge gatehouse at Monmouth, apparently the only one left in the British Isles
The White Castle and moat
Inner keep
Llangattock Lingoed church
Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.


ODP 2 Chepstow to Lower Redbrook

Sun Oct 1st

Breakfast was ok but not fabulous. They only have a grade 1 for food hygiene, this is terrible and worried me. Left at 8.45. The route went through a lot of ancient woodland and followed the dyke and the bank for large parts of the way. At times it was so very dark in the woods. It was also hot and humid and I was soaked from early on.

I saw Tintern Abbey from up high and from the Devil’s Pulpit. Got to Brockweir at midday. I’d planned to get a drink at the community cafe but it didn’t seem to exist anymore so ended up in the not very welcoming pub. There was no point in going back up the hill so I took the low road along the river. Had to walk through some bullocks which was ok. Then to Bigsweir.

It didn’t rain but the air was wet. Not enough to wear an anorak. The last section down to Redbrook was very slippery. I felt like I spent a lot of time either hot and humid in the woods or hot and humid and soggy by the River Wye.

Finally got to Inglewood House at 4pm so 7.25 hours. Lovely and clean and welcoming. Tea and cake. Hot shower. To pub where I sat with fellow guests Cynthia and Rod. They were very sweet. I had a roast beef dinner and a beer but it wasn’t that great, not hot enough. C and R gave me hugs back at the B&B.

Over 14 miles today.

Total miles 17.

Nice mansion on the outskirts of Chepstow
Donkey Lane
Tintern Abbey
Redbrook at last
Tintern from the Devil’s Pulpit
Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.


ODP 7 Kington to Knighton

Friday 6th October

Nice breakfast from Silvia who is a young East German. She’s 36. Told her of my trips to East Germany in the 70s. She was only 7 when Bruce played East Berlin so she missed that epic show: Chimes of Freedom. This gig was just a few days later than the first Bruce gig Chris and I went to.

Left at 9.15 to go up to the golf course. Soon joined by my 8 new friends. Walked with them all day.

3 significant hills. Gorgeous day, blue skies and warmed up. We were all a bit surprised by elderly woman driving like lunatic. She had a very cold look on her face, she managed not to mow us down but then immediately drove out onto a bigger road without looking and missed a car by inches. Clearly a story there but I really hope she got stopped. My dad would have said “another candidate for the cold meat counter”.

Past Evenjobb, Dolley Green, big climb up Hawthorn Hill. Then down to Knighton. We all went to the Knighton Hotel for tea and cake. Just don’t. No suggestion of service or even inclination towards such a thing.

Said goodbye and hugs with all the 8. They were off to the station to return to York to arrive quite late.

I made sure the Offa’s Dyke centre would be open in the morning then checked into the George and Dragon. More rubbish service so no did not want to eat there. Went and got a sandwich from Spar.

Total about 80 miles.

Ox bow
The actual dyke
The actual bank
The gang of 8
I really was there!
Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.


ODP 6 Hay-on-Wye to Kington

Thursday 5th October

Left at 9.40. Big hug from lovely Liz, my host. Soon started leap frogging with the group of 8 from the day before. They are 4 midwives and their husbands from York and they know a woman I work with. Kath, Geoff, Sue, Dave, June, Nick, Michelle, Steve.

First stop Newchurch where I went in the church and ate stale biscuits but gave them a donation as they have a nice honesty box tea coffee setup. Jem went in but maybe he didn’t see me as never said hello. I had my head in map and only saw him as he went in the church.

Up onto Disgwylfa Hill, I’ve walked this with Carol, lovely ridge walk, lovely weather, sunny and bright.

Into Gladestry. I thought the 8 were ahead of me but it turned out they’d gone to another honesty tea and coffee in the church there so they were actually behind me.

Onto Hergest Ridge. Met a Catalan man and talked a little about the fight for freedom. Later on I met his English companion who had a a bad leg. I tried to give her painkillers to no avail! There was a dead pony and its pony friend was standing next to it completely still. This had me in pieces.

Down to Kington and Castle Hill House, best B&B so far. Immaculate, nicely done up old house with interesting detail and well resourced fittings. All the new bath, shower, bed very comfortable. Nice pieces of genuine period furniture. Young couple who have clearly worked very hard.

Into town to the Oxford Arms, my 8 new pals invited me to eat with them so I did. Open mic night in the room behind so I sang along a bit.

About 14.5 miles today. Nick’s gadget said more. Total 67.

Another ridge
Disgwylfa Hill
Hergest Ridge
Monkey Puzzles on Hergest Ridge, visible for miles

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.


Offa’s Dyke Path 1 Sedbury Cliffs to Chepstow

Sat Sept 30th

3 trains got me to Chepstow. Checked into Castle View B&B which was a sort of hotel and restaurant. I was in a separate building at the back. The wifi password was chipshop so this may be a clue to its former use.

Straight out to walk the first section of the ODP which starts from Sedbury Cliffs so to get there you go through housing estates and along fences of people’s back gardens and of course the sewage works but there is a good view to the “old” Severn Bridge and a good section of Offa’s Dyke and bank straight away.

Back to my room then out to Tesco for some supplies. The room was cold when the rain started but I eventually got some heating sorted out.

Total miles 3.

The acorn is the official sign of the National Trails
It’s the actual start
Nice old bridge leading to the Chepstow castle
Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.


Shropshire mini break 

Tuesday 8th August

There was a problem with dialysis so we were late leaving. Arrived in Ashton Bowdler just south of Ludlow about 7.15. Quickly got settled in to Orchard House B&B then out to the Charlton Arms at Ludford 5 minutes away. We both had beef carpaccio starters and I also had a cheese soufflé starter. We shared a bowl of chips. Not bad.

Wednesday 9th August

C had cooked breakfast and I had continental. Finally got out about 11. First to Richard’s Castle to look at the nice old church with a great deal of discrimination on seating. From cheap seats to a massive box. Also an interesting screw thread on a huge old beam which stops the building from falling down.

Then to Knighton where cash machine ate Carol’s card grrr. But the bank itself wasn’t open on a Wednesday. To Aardvark books at Brompton Bryan where we lingered and ate cake. Then to Haye Park Wood near Ludlow for a short walk. Back to Orchard House and out again to The Baker’s Arms 7 minutes away in Orleton. C had chicken and mushroom pie with chips and salad and I had nut roast of the day with chips and salad. Chips were better than the night before. Nice food but a bit slow to arrive.

The very grand seats
Falling wall
The cheap seats
Cider press type screw

Thursday 10th August

Both had continental breakfast today. Out to Knighton early to see if the card can be recovered but no the machine has not only eaten it, it has destroyed it. Then to Bucknell which has a nice old post office and onto Bromfield to the Food Centre which is a sort of giant farm shop like Tebay services. Got some bits for lunch and supper. To Church Stretton but the road we wanted was shut so a long way round to get to our walk on the Long Mynd. Set off, had picnic, very warm in sun. C not really up to walking back so sent her on to road 300m away. I walked just over 1k back to the car and drove round to pick her up. A long way and it took ages because the road was narrow and there was lots of driving onto verge and backing up. Some drivers find this so hard to do and are completely unable to reverse using their mirrors. I know I shouldn’t get cross but if I can do it why can’t they?! Finally collected Carol who was loitering with some wild horses. We had to go back down and round following the road mending lorries which were way too big for the road and went very slowly until steam was coming out of my ears. At last they went left and we went right. Back to Church Stretton along with some more numpties. It was hot, just like the last time we were there. Wandered about and then back to Orchard House. Had our snacks downstairs. Out to cross the railway line to see the church but it was shut. It’s right on the River Teme, beautiful spot and Ashford Bowdler is a cul de sac so very quiet despite being poised between railway line and the A49.

Ashford Bowdler church

From the Long Mynd
Carol’s pals

Ye olde poste office
Friday August 11th

We had a rough night but managed to get up and leave the B&B in good time. Had a quick look in the little church which was now open, very peaceful and in a lovely location. Having been brought up in the church, I still love churches even though as Carol says, I’m a complete heathen.

Drove into Ludlow, parked up and wandered around. C got the card sorted out. Drove to the Green Cafe as unlikely that C would get back up the hill very easily. C had an omelette and I had pasta with tomato sauce. Simple dishes done very well.

Stopped at the Food Centre after leaving Ludlow and then headed for home which took a very long time indeed.

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.