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