Day 24: 16 Apr 2014; Monmouth to Pandy

Day 24: 16 Apr 2014; Monmouth to Pandy
Walk descriptor LEJOG2014 Day 24
Date Wed 16 Apr 2014 Start to end time 07h 46m
Start point Monmouth End point Pandy
Miles today 17.10 Cu miles 453.21
Ft today 2,223 Cu ft 74,509
Route miles left 1,019.39 Route ft left 124,620
Today’s weather Bright sunshine all day. Light westerly wind. No rain. Approx 14 C
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Today’s location
(the red cross in a circle shows where I am at the moment)
GPX based track of today’s walk
(click here to access to access downloadable file)

“Some days when you get up you feel you’ve got a real spring in your step. Well today wasn’t one of them. I slept well but when I got up I found the tent covered in frost, and rolling up an icy tent leaves your fingers numb with cold – I had to go to the washrooms and run them under the hot tap to try and regain the feeling!

So I started out cold, although it was bright and sunny so I eventually warmed up again. For some reason, although today’s walk was relatively easy, at “only” 17 miles and 2,200 ft of climbing, it seemed like very hard work. My rucksack felt heavier than ever, and I felt like I was walking through treacle. I’m not sure exactly why but I had expected that after 450 miles of walking I would be feeling stronger and fitter than when I started, but today seemed quite the reverse. I put it partly down to not having a proper meal at Chepstow a couple of nights ago, and have decided that I must eat every night, even if I don’t feel hungry.

I followed Offa’s Dyke again today. The walk passed through undulating rural Wales – very pleasant without being outstanding, except at the end when the vistas opened out suddenly, giving fantastic views over the Vale of Ewyas and the Black Mountains. I got the distinct impression that this wasn’t one of the better walked sections of Offa’s Dyke, as I only saw one other walker all day. The previous section, by the way, had been populated by the same “newly retireds” as on the latter parts of the Coast Path. Easily recognised because they smell of fresh soap and are quite often talking about parsnip soup as you pass them.

Aside from the Black Mountain vistas at the end, the highlight of the walk was a brief visit to White Castle – one of three Norman (12th century) defensive castles built in this part of North Gwent. It was an impressive find – I’d never heard of it before –and, yes, it will be added to the list of places to visit again!

Tonight I’m camping in Pandy and for some reason I keep expecting to see Fireman Sam careering to my rescue in a bright red fire engine called Jupiter. I think perhaps I’ve had one too many beers, and it isn’t even seven o’clock yet!

Tomorrow ascending the Black Mountains to Hay on Wye so definitely an early night tonight, to ensure I am in slightly better form than I was today!

(NB if you click on today’s pictures they may appear smaller than normal. This is an issue with WordPress and is being looked at UPDATE 17/4/14 – SHOULD BE FIXED NOW)”

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)
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Prize for anyone who can work out what these are.. This is the Offa’s Dyke path. More suited to cloven hooves than booted feet
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I thought that this was a field of rapeseed like so many others, until I noticed the huge tuberous roots on the plants. I think these are last year’s turnips, gone to seed. Not sure if deliberately or not. The black ramparts of White Castle (which were apparently once painted white)
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I am worried that if I don’t find a barber by the end of my walk I might look like this When I were a lad… Phone boxes didn’t work because they were vandalised. Nowadays it seems more likely they won’t work because they have been invaded by plants. How times have changed.
Looking across to the Black Mountains this afternoon – tomorrow’s route traverses the ridge in the centre distance
The previous day’s blog follows below the blue line
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