Myself and Lou had been talking about walking offa’s dyke for years and during the summer of 2016 we finally got started on our first long distance walk, Offa’s dyke is a large linear earthwork that roughly follows the current border of Wales and England, named after Offa, the Anglo-Saxon king of Mercia from AD 757 who is traditionally believed to have ordered its construction. Although its precise original purpose is debated.
Offa’ Dyke Path roughly follows the Dyke and the Welsh boarder; It stretches the whole length of wales from the seven estuary in Sedbury in the south to the seaside town of Prestatyn in the north and is 177miles in length.
We are no strangers to walking having climbed near 70 mountains across the UK but walking 12-16 miles a day, every day, is an entirely different challenge. We decided to attempt this walk not all at once but split in to 2, walking for 8 days and approximately 108 miles in the first instance while carrying all of our kit with us and staying at pubs, b&bs and YHA’s along the way.
|Day 1||Sedbury cliffs||Redbrook||16.2|
|Day 2||Redbrook||Llangattock Lingoed||16.5|
|Day 3||Llangattock Lingoed||Longtown||7|
|Day 4||Longtown||Hay on Wye||13|
|Day 5||Hay on Wye||Kington||14.5|
The Whole trip was fantastic, we had a week of unbelievable good weather, sunny and warm every day, not a drop of rain and the scenery was stunning. We spent most for the first 2 days walking through the woods that cover the banks of the river wye, stopping at a fantastically quirky B&B in Redbook with complementary Port and the best breakfast of the whole trip, I’ve never tasted such amazing grilled tomatoes and freshly baked scones. Not to mention the amazing pub full of cider just over the river reached only by walking across the railway bridge. Moving on we went shopping in Monmouth for more shorts and explored the fantastic medieval fortress of ‘White Castle’.
Next we found ourselves walking across the stunning mountains of the Brecon Beacons and meeting up with old friends at Longtown. Sadly Day 4 we were forced to abandon the walk due to temperatures in the mid-30s, faced with an all day hike on the exposed ridges of the Brecon beacons, we decided it just wasn’t worth the risk of heat stroke and dehydration that would come with it and we made alternative arrangements to reach Hay-on-Wye, we will come back another day to finish this section.
The wild Pastures of Mid wales where next, walking from hay-on-wye to the YHA at Kington and then on to the lovely town of Knighton, we started to take advantage of portage taxi’s to carry our bags to take some of the strain of our feet, particularly mine which were suffering from some painful bruising.
Day 7 was the most challenging and yet most rewarding of all, The ‘switchbacks’ as they are known are a set of 7 very large hills climbing a total of 3600 feet through the Shropshire hills, an area of outstanding natural beauty. Our final day we shortened down to a half day due to my ailing feet and we were rescued by family and chauffeured home, a painful end to a wonderful trip. The summer of 2017 with see we complete the whole trip over a further 6 days. Bring it on!