Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Welsh Boundary Walk - Forden to White Grit

Tuesday 17th May - day 28
I had a bumper breakfast at the Railway Inn at Fordern - thanks to Robert and Deborah for their kindness in letting me stay.
I walked about five miles of Offas's Dyke path, which apart from the romantic attachment was pretty dull. Just one flat field after another with little variation in scenery. I met several other parties including two guys doing Land's End to John 'o Groats, but they were not backpacking. Everybody mentioned the hard going on ODP from Knighton up to this point. My route does not coincide that much but I suspect I am in for what Gayle calls lumpy stuff.
At one point, as the route entered a farmyard there was an old fashioned, black and white, cast iron sign pointing in opposite directions to two places with obviously Irish names. The farmer's wife just arrived by car and I quizzed her about this. She explained they had an Irish friend who had bought up a lot of these road signposts when Ireland had gone metric obviating change from miles to kilometres, and he had given them this one. She said they had received mixed reactions ranging from an irate Irish lady accusing them of stealing their signs to an Irish guy who said he came from one of the towns on the sign and he thought it was the best thing he had seen so far in England/Wales.
At Churchstoke there is a huge supermarket come garden centre come everything else complex called Tuffins where I ate in the cafe and stocked up including a new kind of antiseptic, waterproof Elasttoplast - I seem to have developed some morbid kind of expertise in knowledge of the different versions of that commodity. Tuffins made me feel as though I was preparing to "go out West".
From Churchstoke onwards scenery changed for the better. I climbed up towards the one thousand foot mark and views were extensive. The terrain is hilly but it is nearly all cultivated so the landscape has its own character compared with the higher hills, and even though it is very much man made it is attractive.
At Priest Weston I was studying my map to locate the whereabouts of the pub when a car stopped and asked if I was ok. The guy whose name was Roger Dixon told me the pub did not open until 4:00pm but said he would be glad to make me a cup of tea at his house which was only about two hundred yards away up a steep driveway. Roger had a spectacular conservatory looking right across Wales, and he was able to point out the distant Cader Idris on the Welsh coast which must be fifty miles away - we were looking across the whole breadth of Wales. We sat for some time admiring the view and talking about Roger's time in the army yomping 80lb packs over Cader idtris. Roger calls himself a Marcher - I think this may mean that he can claim to be Welsh or English according to the demands of circumstances.
I arrived at The Old School House, Shelve at about 4:30pm - this is the site to which I had posted the second half of my maps and is owned by Jan and Terry Ward. The site is well maintained catering for only half a dozen caravans or so and tents. Jan was very helpful with posting back my old maps. This is a site I would recommend.

Sent from my iPhone

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