Day 26: 18 Apr 2014; Hay on Wye to Builth Wells

Day 26: 18 Apr 2014; Hay on Wye to Builth Wells
Walk descriptor LEJOG2014 Day 26
Date Fri 18 Apr 2014 Start to end time 08h 37m
Start point Hay on Wye End point Builth Wells
Miles today 20.88 Cu miles 492.18
Ft today 2,592 Cu ft 79,878
Route miles left 982.22 Route ft left 120,148
Today’s weather Bright and sunny all day. Cool westerly breeze. No rain. About 14C
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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)

After the exhilaration of yesterday’s “real” mountains, I’d expected today’s largely valley-based walk to be a bit of an anti-climax.   But in the end, it turned out to be a good day, made memorable by people’s generosity and by the beautiful scenery, vivid green in the bright spring sunshine.

After having enjoyed a free night’s accommodation at the excellent Radnor’s End campsite, first thing this morning, one of my fellow-campers came up to me and said that he’d heard about my hike and wanted to make a donation to my charity.   So he very gave me a cash donation, which I think was nearly all the money he had on him.   I was extremely touched.   Then later on, when I eventually found somewhere for a cup of tea, the owner of the excellent Erwood Station craft centre very generously gave me a free cup of tea and a slice of Bara Brith.   Another really kind gesture which made the whole day particularly enjoyable.

At Hay on Wye, most “conventional” LEJOG-ers stay on the Offa’s Dyke path and head north, towards Chester.   I however re-joined the Wye Valley Walk and headed North West, towards Snowdon.   The first 12 miles or so were pretty level, then after my complementary refreshment stop, the path suddenly left the valley floor and headed up into the hills to the South of the Wye Valley.   This gave the opportunity to enjoy brilliant vistas of this magnificent valley – but gratuitously packing in 2000 ft of climbing in the last 8 miles of the walk struck me as a bit harsh!

The scenery was very rural, in contrast to yesterday’s upland wilderness, but did have a slightly more mountainous feel to it than the stretch near Chepstow.   I also noticed as I was walking that the seasons are already beginning to change.   When I started, the daffodils and narcissi were coming into flower.   Now, they are fading and the bluebells and anemones are taking their place.   It made me realise that I’ve been on the road for nearly a month now – it’s becoming a bit of a way of life!

I can hardly believe that as I write this I am toasting myself with a beer to celebrate the fact that I now “only” have 982 miles left to go.   That’s nearly a thousand miles and nearly twice as far as I have walked already.   But it’s satisfying to notice that for the first time the number of miles walked and the number left to go both have the same number of digits!

(PS in case you were wondering, Builth Wells is pronounced “Bilth” Wells.  The “u” is silent)

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)
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The occupant of this curious demi-caravan came across this morning and gave me a donation to the Scouts. Really kind chap. Cow parsley flowers made an interesting tracery against today’s blue sky
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A bit concerned that with my massive rucksack, this Pont Wan might not take my weight… Erwood station was another casualty of Dr Beeching’s attention but the upside is that there is an excellent café there now, where the brilliant owner gave me a free cup of tea and slice of bara brith [you’ll have to look the latter up!]
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I came across this bizarre waymark on the route this afternoon. Just how do they think people travel the country these days?? In “downtown” Builth Wells this evening (where I am currently enjoying an excellent curry)
In the Wye Valley this afternoon. Beautiful in the sunshine.
The previous day’s blog follows below the blue line
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