Date: Tuesday 3 June 2014
Walked from: Hay-on-Wye
Walked to: Pandy
Walked with: Tracey
Distance: 17.5 miles
Stayed: The Rising Sun pub, Pandy
Weather: Good visibility, little bit of rain
I have been wanting to walk this journey for nearly three years, ever since the ex and I peddled up the road to Hay Bluff as part of a Anglesey to Bath cycling trip, so today’s walk was hotly anticipated – and did not disappoint.
Bidding Annette farewell, Tracey and I headed off – and up (and up a bit more) towards Hay Bluff and the lengthy Hatterrall Ridge, the highest point on the Offa’s Dyke national trail. The climb out of town was actually pretty straightforward; it was the stiles we had to cross at the top of most fields that were the bugger – I swear they were steeper than normal!
My guidebook describes today’s section as one of the most demanding on the Offa’s Dyke Path, and I imagine it would be if the weather wasn’t with you: once you’re up on that ridge you’re there for most of the day, without any shelter. Luckily for us the conditions were perfect for walking through moorland at a pretty constant 600m height – no wind that you would notice, a bit of rain for 20 minutes that looked ominous as it approached but was actually fine, and great visibility to enjoy the incredible views of the Welsh and English countrysides beneath us. Lucky old us! Once again, the photos will speak for themselves, although I’m not at all sure they do them justice.
As we got close to the end of the ridge we also saw the Severn Estuary; after 11 days of walking the end of the trail was finally in sight – a realisation that left me both happy and sad!
Tracey and I spent much of today following an orange dot in the distance – the bag cover of a guy called Neil who Annette and I met in Kington. Post the 20 minutes of rain mid-ridge walk, we caught up with him by a trig point, shared Jaffa Cakes and Murray Mints, and we ate together tonight at the quite brilliantly run Rising Sun pub. It doesn’t look very promising from the outside, but the quality of the food and the accommodation makes it an absolute gem for anyone walking in the area: it defiantly has the Silka seal of approval!