Monday, 29 June 2009

Kington to Drewin Farm, north of Knighton

Kington to Knighton

13.5 miles, 1216 calories used, 9.00 to 4.30



A hard day for me for some reason. A friend who goes on a lot of distance walking holidays had told me that she always feels that she is really into her stride in the second half of the first week so I suppose I had expected to feel the same. Both Erica and I had found that we had a hot, red rash on our calves, mine practically from sock to knee, Erica's a bit more localised. Whether it was that or just a general flagging I had to work hard as we climbed out of Kington and wondered where my increasing fitness was supposed to be. Maybe it had decided to have an extra day's rest in the comfortable shabby chic of Church House.


For the first time our acorns deserted us and we found two gates which were unmarked. We had been playing catch up all day with a party of five men who arrived at the first gate at the same time. Much consultation and the superfit man in too short shorts who seemed to be charging ahead of their party whizzed off up the hill to inspect another gate. We hung around and eventually followed the group decision through the acornless gates. It was funny watching the dynamics of another group walking: wiry short shorts at the front, two Americans in the middle, one charming and chatty, one taciturn, two other Brits bringing up the rear with the odd witty, self deprecating comment as we passed. An oddly assorted group.



Coming down into Knighton we found our B and B easily and were welcomed with Welsh cakes and tea by charming, one legged elderly landlady. Knighton is far less monied than Hay but a pleasant little town with a variety of shops and a couple of decent pubs and, wondering if I was just short of chips, we settled down to replenish our chip stores. You can see that the very prospect made us feel better.




Friday 5th June


no miles, no fun, no point


This was another rest day and we spent it in Llandrindod Wells. I am very happy to be told that the fact that we thought there was nothing there was because we missed the centre somehow. There was a fine Art Deco hotel called The Metropole in which we had a good lunch and there was much fine architecture but the town itself seemed empty and curiously devoid of shops. It was a popular spa town in Victorian times and looks like a place which would like to relaunch itself but hasn't yet worked out quite how.


Saturday 6th June


Knighton to Drewin Farm


14 miles, 1264 calories used, 8.50am to 5pm, gallons of water absorbed by clothing: 15 (possibly)


The first day of pouring rain. Erica's husband had joined us for the weekend. He drove the car to our next destination and he was then to walk back to meet us, hoping that we would meet about lunchtime. As we finished our huge breakfast the rain lashed on the windows.


Now in ordinary life you don't spend a day outside in the pouring rain. You run from the house to the car, you put up your umbrella on your walk to the station, you dash into shops or you just decide to stay home. There wasn't much option for us. The B & Bs were all booked, the itinerary written, Erica had her time off work all scheduled. So we cagouled ourselves up and off we went.


The wet weather head gear is of Erica's own design, involving a snood, a visor and a plastic rainhat. Her intellectual property rights will be fiercely defended so no copying without huge payment.

The climb out of Knighton was the stiffest yet although to begin with the rain was steady but fine. Soon however we were walking in a heavy downpour. There were tantalising glimpses through the curtains of rain of what may have been glorious views but there was little to see for more than a few seconds and we put our heads down and slogged on. We stopped for lunch in a barn at a farm, asking permission and suddenly understanding the force of the need for shelter, a basic human need which we take utterly for granted. The barn was piled with straw and we were visited by two curious farm dogs. We changed our soaking socks for dry ones which gave us a surprising amount of improved comfort for about an hour or so until the sense of squelching along with our feet in buckets returned.

We met Chris a little further along and continued to trudge up hill and down dale and up hill again (this area is known as the Switchback) through relentless rain. It had to be done. We told ourselves it would hardly have counted if we had done the whole walk in the dry and just got on with it.

Ian was at the farmhouse to meet us and it was wonderful to see him, to have a blast from my normal life, and to eat a marvellous meal, perhaps the best of the walk at the Castle Hotel in Bishops Castle. The farmhouse kitchen was festooned with our wet gear, steaming gently over the Aga as we went to bed.

20 comments:

  1. That wet weather head gear is, erm...priceless. I've had to look at it several times. Does Erica know this picture is now in the public domain?

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  2. I have given her right of veto so I may be hearing from her shortly! Personally I think it is priceless and demonstrates exceptional creativity.

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  3. Boy do I like the brogans. I have enjoyed this so much. I will never be able to do this, ladies so thanks for the opt to go along. I don't know your ages but what ever, go girls.
    QMM

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  4. It wouldn't have been such an adventure without one 'no fun, no point' day. some lost acorns, and at least one day of squelching. Nevertheless - I'd be feeling pretty sorry for myself yet somehow satisfied at this stage. Really rooting for you, girls.

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  5. I'm loving this! Of course we all imagine ourselves taking such a walk, but in our imaginations it's all sunny skies and flower-lined lanes. You two have stamina!

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  6. Yes, you see now I am no longer envious Elizabeth as rain and I are longtime enemies! Bet that was the best meal ever? x

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  7. Could do with some wet gear like that when I'm out on the playground!

    Wonderful adventure and I suppose every thing we take for granted seemed sheer luxury for a while!

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  8. You're spot on about Llandod about which I also blogged not so very long ago. Good to see such tenacious spirit, wonderful feeling of achievement you must get. Good luck with the next stage.

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  9. I've been following along with your trek. You two are intrepid Dyke-travelers -- setting off in the pouring rain!

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  10. The two of you are so cute. And that meal looks positively enourmous. I envy you that and the lovely B&Bs, but not that slog through the rain.

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  11. Oh, you sounded so pleased to see Ian at the end of what seemed quite a slog. Well done!

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  12. Golly, I think I would have given up at that point, Elizabeth, so hats off to you both (or, on second thoughts, perhaps not). I guess it was inevitable, though - Wales + summer = rain. I bet it felt good, though, to get inside again after that. (And truly impressive quantities of chips.)

    Looking forward to the next installment.

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  13. I thought it was just me that found Llandod like that - so glad I'm not the only one - now when we start on Bishops Castle - well we could go on for ever. Love rhe wet weather gear.

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  14. Lovely post and just as I am gearing up to go to Dorset to our usual summer camp. I am in the process of buying a good pair of hiking shoes, probably from Millets as they have a sale at the moment. I loved the fact that you did not feel deterred by the rain. Although perilous sometimes, I do welcome the rain every now and then when I am out walking. Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

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  15. You were so close to me! I'd have given you shelter any time.
    Love the tale of the trek, wouldn't do it myself. Bit too much like hard work with all the ups and downs around.

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  16. I am really enjoying reading about and seeing your trek, but delighted too that you're doing it so that I don't have to!

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  17. Phew - Elizabeth I have just caught up with all these walking blogs at once, and I feel exhausted! Think I might need some chips too.
    The feeling of achievement must be fantastic after this - well done!

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  18. Just got back from the west coast (Washington state) to Pennsylvania & had a chance to catch up with you. WHEW!!! Need a nap after all this trekking. lol. Sounds awesome. Am enjoying reading your blog as usual. Great job...Great pictures & great writing.

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  19. Am thoroughly enjoying your reports and you look so glamorous! How can you look so glamorous whilst long-distance walking???

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  20. We looked various things along the way Sue - sodden, sunburnt, porky with double chips - but not glamorous.

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