In April 2010, Alex and I (and my dog) undertook an epic adventure to walk the Offa’s Dyke National Trail in aid of MS Society. This is my account of Day 9 walking from Knighton to Kington on 13th April 2010 (14 miles).
The previous day’s hike must have worn us out more than we had thought, as despite camping right next to a railway line, the early morning trains had completely failed to wake us up.
We had a fairly slow start to the morning – we had a bacon butty and mouched around Knighton waiting for the Offa’s Dyke Centre to open. The centre tells the history of the dyke, as well as setting the historical context to it’s construction. For some reason I had always thought it was a show of strength and power, but it was actually built to be defensive. Each Lord in Mercia had to send man-power fully provisioned to last their tour of duty – with basic tools it must have been an amazingly well organised project.
This leg is made up of three fairly gentle hills (certainly compared to the previous day) – the sun has shining and we were in good spirits (Alex even had to buy a hat in Knighton). Our spirits were raised still further when I picked up an email saying we had hit £3000 in money raised for MS Society.
As we headed downhill to meet the ever dedicated support team for lunch (and more goodies from Hopton House BnB), we encountered a dog walker coming the other way. We exchange greetings – but the dog walker seemed to want more….. we say hello again….. the dog walker waits expectantly. Suddenly Alex recognises the dog walker as one of his friends who, it turns out, happened to be in the area and tracked us down using our live updating map (which incidentally is now an app anyone can use – see www.socialhiking.org.uk).
We had lunch outside a baptist church who let hikers use the facilities and top up water (they refused to accept any donations as it is part of their ministry) and then headed off with our new companion. As we had found with Pete earlier in the trip, having someone else to talk to really helps eat up the miles, and before we knew it, we were saying goodbye to our visitor, and setting back off on our own for the last few miles.
My feet were starting to go by the last few miles, but lovely views and a wonderful weasel / stoat type creature helped distract me and eventually we were dropping down into Kington (although I did have to dunk my feet in the stream at the bottom of the campsite to deal with the pain).
That evening we managed to find a dog-friendly hotel who were happy for us to crash in the corner to eat (and of course drink!) – just four days to go!