Step Count: 34,509
Distance: 14.54 miles
Max Altitude: 402 m
Min Altitude: 79 m
Height Gain: 336 m
Height Loss: 535 m
I started where I had left off two days ago in Mainstone, before my junket to the pharmacy.
I had done the worst of the dreaded ‘Switchback’ section of the Offa’s Dyke path, but had one more hill after Mainstone to deal with, which just so happened to be the worst. I looked up at it with trepidation. Edenhope Hill isn’t even a mountain but the gradient on it is insane. And this photo in no way conveys how steep the path is –
I made it to the top but if my calves had vocal chords they’d have been swearing at me.
There were also signs of Offa’s Dyke at the apex of the hill just before the descent began.
At the bottom I crossed the border between Wales and England for the first of five times during the day. The path meanders its way between the two countries an awful lot during this stretch.
There were some familiar sights. Where would we be without stiles?
The next stop was to be at The Blue Bell, a well-known watering hole on the trail. By now I should know better than to look forward to a drink and a nice sit down in a pub on Offa’s Dyke Path.
Yes, another pub door closed. It’s the hope that kills you.
So in light of this, I veered off the trail and made a detour to Trefaldwyn (Montgomery), where I had some chips. Hope restored! I wish I could have stayed there longer to look around the castle and see some of the sights. But I wanted to push on and try to get as far as possible. I loved what I did see of the town though, which included this telephone box upcycled in blue paint to create an information point.
These fields were the setting of some of the bloodiest battles of the English Civil War which were fought on Welsh soil. It was in these very fields that Oliver Cromwell’s troops had dealt a crushing blow to the Royalists. And here I was 372 years later just strolling through with my rucksack on my back.
After a quick break underneath a tree, I ended up walking next to somebody’s house. A woman came out to say hello and we chatted about my walk. She advised me to deviate from the path as it was now evening. She showed me an alternative route which didn’t go via the forest, which I followed.
It took me past The Cock Hotel in Forden. The bar was open! A smile and a large orange juice followed, as well as the chance to replenish my water supplies.
I walked on the side of the road after that. It wasn’t particularly inspiring but I did take a self-portrait. Of sorts.
All was well.