Walked from: Racecourse Common, England
Walked to: Pool Quay, Wales
Walked with: Annette
Distance: 16 miles
Stayed: Powis Arms, Pool Quay
Weather: Overcast but dry except for one hour of the wet stuff
Annette and I spent most of today feeling lucky. The weather forecast for today was so grim and heavy rain laden that it seemed impossible to think we could avoid it. And yet, with the exception of one hour between 3-4pm it stayed dry. Thank you weather gods, it was much appreciated.
We bumped into Compeed Andrew at breakfast this morning. His blisters had proved too much, so he was heading for home. He was the last of the original set of people we met who set out on the walk on the same day as us: I hope we meet some more interesting people heading our way.
Anyway, today was going to be our longest day yet, and as it was our fifth day of walking it was certainly our most tiring. It wasn’t the most exciting day of walking in terms of views but we got through some miles as we continued out journey south.
Annette and I quickly left Racecourse Common and the remains of its old pavilion behind, heading down into the depths of Candy Woods and arriving quite quickly in the village of Trefonen, home to the Offa’s Dyke Brewery. As it was only 10.30 in the morning it seemed a tad early to pop in, so on we walked through a combination of country lanes and fields, admiring many pretty cottages and their beautiful, flower-filled gardens which were a testament to the many hours of labour their gardener must have put into them. We seemed to spend a VERY long time walking though a muddy wood alongside a golf course, but eventually we emerged from there to head downhill into the village of Llanymynech, which sits directly on the border with England. We stumbled gratefully into our first lunchtime pub of the trip, The Bradford Arms, where the hospitable owner made us feel very welcome. Bliss comes in all shapes and sizes, and getting to have a proper sit down and a warm meal was one of the forms it takes!
The section immediately after the pub, along the Montgomery Canal, was unexpectedly lovely. The canal itself hasn’t been in use since the end of World War II, and the riot of vegetation that surrounds it is quite beautiful. There was an absurdly picturesque cottage alongside some disused lock gates and, a little further along, even a swan nesting in the river, in the path of a tree that had fallen across the width of the canal. A lovely and tranquil place.
The final stretch of the walk was dominated by some seriously aggressive cows! We spent a long time following the course of the Dyke, which seemed to involve walking though field after field of frisky cows that crowded by the stiles as we crossed over them and would only move at all when you were within a couple of inches of them. And then they would start running… It was all rather disconcerting, so it was lovely to rest our feet at a set of chairs left out by a cottage, where for another 60p or 80p left in an honesty box we could eat a slice of a choice of home made cakes that were left out for sale in a Tupperware box. More cows followed, and them we had the welcome respite of a field of much more sensibly behaved sheep, before finally arriving at the Powis Arms pub in Pool Quay at around 6pm. Phew!