Wednesday, October 7th, 2015
With the promise of an easy day I aimed to be on the trail at 8am instead of 7:30am. Porridge for breakfast, and ready to go. I’d ordered a cab at the Royal Oak in Welshpool to take my to where I needed to pick up the trail again, as opposed to backtracking a couple of kms. I had the driver drop me off at Buttington Bridge. To pay him I only had a twenty and a 1 pound coin and he didn’t have change, so he took the pound coin and left it a that. The total fare was £3.5.
I was back on the Path at 8am as planned. It was spitting a little but really nothing too bad, and it wasn’t cold at all. As everything was wet though I did walk in full rain gear. Mud, fields, cattle make for a messy combination underfoot. After a few fields the climb up to Beacon Hill started, with a few quite steep sections. I got to the summit around 9:10am and was rewarded with brilliant views and the rain petering out. From then onwards it was mostly downhill or flat, interspersed with a few short bursts uphill. I met 2 lots of walkers both telling me to enjoy the easy walking of the day as the next one was all about steep ups and downs with hardly a break in between. For most of the day’s walk the Path was right next to Offa’s Dyke. Some sections were particularly lovely with oak trees on the Dyke. Fields, pastures, woodland, bracken, tarmac, farms, sheep, cattle, horses,… bit of everything. I missed a sign to leave the road towards the end of my day, so I ended up walking more on tarmac then necessary. By the time realized my mistake I’d gone quite a distance and it turned out that the road was taking me to my destination anyway, so I decided not to backtrack and stayed on the road.
I arrived at Shirley Heights (my B&B) around 2:50pm. Sheila, the owner wasn’t there but I found a note with how to get in just in case. I’d rang the bell anyway and a couple also staying, let me in. There was a note with how to get on the wifi network, sweet. Normally this is a ‘shared facilities’ B&B, but since only 2 of 4 guest were occupied and there are 2 guest bathroom, we each got our own. Sweet again. Had a shower, rinsed the mud out of my hiking and rain pants and sat down in the living room. Soon after Sheila came home and she was pleased that we’d all settled in and made ourselves comfortable.
Dinner was arranged for and ready at 6:30pm and we enjoyed a very taste beef bourguignon with potatoes and broccoli. Sheila’s establishment is one of the few B&B that also does dinner. It is assumed you will have dinner there, unless you let her know otherwise. I assumed it also has to do with there being no other options anywhere close. Worked for me. It was nice to chat to Pauline and Dirk, the other guests (from Melbourne).
Moleskin. Eventhough I hadn’t used that material in a very long time I’d packed some, just in case I guess.. And this day it came in handy; not for my feet mind you. I wear these rather substantial knee braces when I am on walks like this, and one of them had been chafing the back of my leg, to the point that a little sore developed. And it was beginning to sting and hurt a bit too much for comfort. And then I remembered my moleskin. So I put a patch on my leg in the morning and put the brace over it. And what do you know, nor more chafing. However, when I took the moleskin off in the evening, it actually broke the skin. For those that know moleskin, you’ll understand. So only half a victory. The plan for the next day was to put a plaster on the sore first and then moleskin on top of that.