Monday, October 12th, 2015
After a bit of arm wrestling the evening before Luc and I managed to get breakfast organized for 7:30am (instead of 8am suggested by John). We had a long day ahead – distance wise the longest of my walk, 29km/18miles) – including climbing up Hay Bluff to get up on Hatterall Ridge in the Black Mountains.
The guidebooks (at least mine) referred to this day as being ‘one of the most demanding days on the entire walk’. ‘This section can be enormously rewarding – on a good day, but can also be something of an endurance test’; ‘wild open moorland at a continuous altitude of around 600m with hardly any shelter’.
We walked out the door of our B&B in Hay at 8am and were greeted by a glorious looking morning, with not a cloud in the sky. After leaving Hay and crossing a few already upwards sloping fields, the long steady climb to the Ridge began. At about 10:30am (incl a mid-morning banana stop) we reached the top of the Ridge. Those weather gods must have really liked me, because it was glorious up there! Cool yes, but sunshine, no clouds and 360º views all the way to our destination, Pandy! Incredible!!
Once up the Ridge, the going was easy and fast at it was mostly level. We enjoyed the views of the patchwork fields of England to the East and Brecon Beacons National Park Mountains to the West. Then we walked for about 16km/10miles along the Ridge and enjoyed every minute of it. We were lucky to see some of the wild ponies that roam these hills.
Finally we started to long descent into Pandy, were we arrived at The Lancaster Inn at 3:45pm – to find our luggage wasn’t there yet. Oh well. We were warmly welcomed by Sandra and sat in what used to be a pub, chatting until our bags got there. Sandra rang ‘Rest for the Tired’ to see what’d been the hold up. The Lancaster used to be a pub but now operates a as a guesthouse for walkers only. It was lovely sitting in the former pub, now a living/dining room, with the bar still there, and having the place to ourselves.
For dinner we both had the excellent fish pie; possibly the best fish pie I’ve had.