Llanymynech to Prestatyn

Wednesday 20th June

Four Crosses to Carreg y Big

13 miles, 1091 calories used, 8.45 to 4.30

No more rest days now, just five days of walking to the coast. I was fired up with the knowledge that on Friday night I would be sleeping at home and we both felt stronger and fitter. Five days walking, no problem.

To Llanymynech took us along the Montgomery Canal, about as different from the hills both behind and ahead of us as could be - ducks, swans, irises and water lilies, beautiful houses with gardens stretching down to the water. Then we began to climb, unable to see the views today in the haze. We were passed as we climbed by three walkers going at what seemed to us an unsustainable speed, the woman at the front setting a scorching pace, a man who seemed to be her partner just about keeping up and another man puffing at the back who looked as though he would far rather have been walking with us!

By lunchtime it was raining again but not too hard and we trudged on to Carreg y Big. Great drying room and good breakfast served by the owner already dressed in his suit and white shirt ready for a business day. He intends to leave his job to focus full time on the bed and breakfast business. Best of luck to him!

Thursday 11th June
Carreg y Big to Froncysyllte

7 miles, 715 calories used, 9.30 to 3.00

A half day walk which took us past Chirk Castle which has been occupied for 700 years and then over the aqueduct at Pontcysyllte, an extraordinary aqueduct built by Thomas Telford in 1795.


You can walk over it and we did, no wobbles!

You meet all sorts of people when you are walking and most people stop and chat. We loved the fact that we met so few who were walking the whole of the Offa's Dyke walk. It made us feel special! This morning we met a couple who were walking the Northern end from Prestatyn to Knighton. She was carrying a tiny wooden handled umbrella and no pack. He had a small pack supplemented by a Marks and Spencer carrier bag. It takes all sorts.


Froncysyllte brought the only disappointing B and B of the walk in a house so cluttered with a mixture of beautiful and terrible things that we did not know where to look. A yappy dachshund bounced and snapped at my heels in the kitchen. With tremendous self control I did not kick it.

Friday 12 June


Froncysyllte to Llandegla

12 miles, 1072 calories used, 8.45 to 3.30

This was a day of two halves with a great morning only marred by a slightly dodgy breakfast with scrambled eggs so watery they may not have contained any egg at all but might have been concocted from custard powder and lukewarm water. The breakfast and the yapping dogs were soon left behind though and we climbed up above Llangollen with views first of Castell Dinas Bran and then climbing ever higher to a stretch which the guide book suggested needed good balance.



We stopped for lunch at World's End, which sounds a harsh and unlovely place but was in fact very beautiful high in the forest with a stream rushing and jumping down the hillside.



The afternoon was different: high barren moorland where we walked on duck boards above peaty bogs followed by a long descent through a conifer forest supplying wood for paper making, utterly dark, utterly devoid of birdsong, an industrial wasteland masquerading as a wood.


But then Llandegla and a welcome bench outside the post office, Ian arriving with the car to whisk us home and my own bed, my own shower, the garden so thronging with the weeds of the past fortnight it was important not to look. After all the walk was not yet done.

Saturday 13th June

Llandegla to home

16 miles, 1387 calories used, 9.00 to 5.50 and more up and down and up again than you could shake a stick at.


The big day - up and out from Llandegla and then along the Clwydian range, hard walking the guidebook said but it was all familiar, to me at least, as I had done all my practice wallking up here. And so beautiful and so familiar and this was really the day for walking home.


I loved this day, all of it, up the hills through the heather and whinberry and over the springy grass on the ridge. I loved the huge views out across the Vale of Clwyd and the point when I could just see our house far away , clinging to the side of its valley, just seen through the trees. I loved it even when by half past four my feet cried to be let out of their boots. I loved eating my sandwiches, made by Ian with our own home made bread.

I loved the great swell of Moel Arthur and the other Bronze and Iron Age hillforts which make up the ridge. I even loved the swarms of people climbing Moel Famau because they all melted away as we carried on along the ridge, leaving us still walking and the sky larks sang and the wind blew warm.

Coming into our kitchen, hot and tired at the end of the day was a great thing.

Sunday 14th June

Home to Prestatyn

15 miles, 1399 calories used, 7 hours of walking

Now in my head I had really finished when I came through the kitchen door the day before so it was a bit of a trial to drag myself away from home and carry on walking, which was, unbelievably, necessary as of course the long distance path finishes in Prestatyn and not at my house.

It was a hot day and a long one, enlivened by Chris's company but still a long, hot slog out to the sea.

But eventually we could see the sea.

And we made it.

We used these.

It is a fabulous walk. If you are at all interested I would say do it. Beautiful, varied, full of buttercup meadows and high hills and curious cows, it shows you that it is indeed to possible to walk the length of a country (or at least this country), every step under your own steam. Fantastic.

Comments

  1. 5 days walking and you can say 'No problem!' I am impressed. What an achievement.

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  2. Fantastic! What an achievement!

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  3. Amazing, amazing. I am so impressed. I guess there are just lots of things folks are doing out there that I don't know about. Blessings
    QMM

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  4. Well, your beautiful feet know so much, your beautiful words and photos show us so much.

    What an accomplishment to take this walk and to share it with a good friend. Bravo, bravo to both of you.

    As I read through your "memoirs" I kept thinking, how wonderful to have the vision and ability to do this. Interesting that it seems that you did not encounter many other people sharing your agenda. Even I over here in New York have heard of this fabulous route. I would have thought that you'd chosen the perfect time to set out.

    Maybe others were either just ahead or just behind you.

    Hoping that many who'll read these posts will be intrigued to give a go.

    Beautiful, strong, wise feet! xo

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  5. It is a great achievement and it is a wonder your feet are in such good condition.
    One look at those slopes with a narrow path and a huge drop and would have had to give up!
    Would I have had to go all the way back or was there an easier route? That has got me wondering now........

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  6. Wow! You did it. Well done.

    And the story, so well told and accented with such delightful photos.

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  7. Frances, I think many people do the trail in sections so we met a lot of people doing the Northern half or the Southern half or a couple of days together, stitching up the length of the trail over many months. We even met someone who was finishing the trail having done the first half seventeen years earlier! I think this is probably because to do the whole thing in one journey takes about two weeks and that is perhaps hard to find in one go in a busy life.

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  8. Brilliant. I know the part you walked at the end so well it was just delightful to walk it with you (in virtual terms!).I love World's End (came off my motorbike in the ford there when a teenager!)
    That is a real once in a lifetime achievement and you both deserve every congratulation and our deepest thanks for taking us with you.

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  9. Brilliant achievement and lovely blog - it has certainly inspired me to do at least some of your walk!

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  10. This is brilliant.
    You must be feeling tired but fit.
    Congratulations.

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  11. With you every step of the way. Lovely blogging and pictures. You must have a great sense of triumph.
    I should love to do this walk. Perhaps it could be a kind of Purple Coo get together - a walking party.
    Pontycyllte has just been awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status, did you know? Fabulous to walk across.

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  12. Well done both. I felt quite emotional as you came to the end - and reached it. Your sense of love/exhilaration for the landscape that now nurtures and protects you shines through - and it's a feeling so hard to put into words. Is that 'hiraeth'?

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  13. Well done! You must feel so very accomplished. And you are! You write so beautifully that I feel I have almost been on the walk with you. I think you should do a re-cap after you have been home for a while and have gone over in your mind all the things you felt and thought as you made this fabulous journey.

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  14. I've loved reading these reports - to my shock, I find that I'm seriously thinking about trying it myself. Your lovely pictures allied to your superb prose are immensely seductive, even if the description of the scrambled egg nearly caused me to lose my lunch.

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  15. Thats it you've made me want to go again....
    Did you paddle in the sea ??

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  16. Wow! Seriously enjoyed reading this and visiting the links too. I'd give my eye teethe to go there. I really would. What a beautiful area!!

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  17. Have you come back down to earth yet or are you still basking in that wonderful feeling of something achieved?

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  18. That really is quite an achievement, elizabeth. Especially getting up out of your own bed after all that walking and doing the last final bit. There were some long old walks in those last five days. It sounds as though it was worth it, though. Fantastic, fantastic pictures. (And, actually, your feet don't look too bad at all, considering.)

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  19. At last I'm getting nearer to reading about your glorious walk! Can't wait to catch up and well done you for completing it.

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  20. Congratulations, well done! You have done fantastically well - and written about it in such an interesting manner - I was there with you!

    And what beautiful feet you have!

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  21. Sorry, I don't know how I missed this. I really admire you both for completing this - it's made lovely reading.

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  22. oh, well done, well done! and such beautiful pictures! i am so happy for you, to have done this. do you feel strong and healthy and like you could do anything, anything at all? because of course you can.

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  23. I wish I had walked it with you. My tour was just too rushed.

    I loved it, though. I am just up to day 4 on Tredastrips-but I wish I had walked with you

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