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 11 walking from Hay on Wye to Pandy on 15th April 2010 (17 miles).
This was the day I had been looking forward to since I first glances at a map of Offa’s Dyke – the majority of the route is along the Hatterrall Ridge, a 10 mile ridge in the Black Mountains with views across to the Beacons on one side and in theory across several English counties on the other, from a height of up to 700m.
The day started fairly sedately with a stroll into Hay, past the amusingly named shop “Phil The Fruit” (I am called Phil), to stop for a tasty (albeit pricey) breakfast. As we left Hay behind us and began to climb towards the ridge, we got a glimpse of what awaited us on top of the ridge – it was completely hidden in cloud!
As we climbed, we were a little confused as to why we kept on getting texts and tweets asking us if it was ash rather than cloud… why on earth would it be ash? It was only much later in the day did we (finally) find out that the volcanoes in Iceland had erupted causing global traffic chaos with the subsequent ash cloud!)
I spotted on the map that there appeared to be two official routes to the top of the ridge – the first is a direct, but steep route, straight to the top, whilst the second casually meandered to the top. We decided to put it to a vote – and, fortunately, the sympathetic responses we had back were unanimously in favor of the easier route!
Sadly the ridge was a little disappointing – by the time we reach the top, all we could see was the barren landscape immediately around us and cloud. After only a few miles on the ridge we had both plugged ourselves into audiobooks and were trudging along. The cloud started to lift just as we approached the end of the ridge and began dropping down to Pandy below us.
By the time we reached the campsite, my feet were in agony and both our bodies were starting to react to the abuse we were giving them over the last 11 days. The campsite was probably our least favorite of the trip – although the site and facilities were pretty good, the welcome in the pub which owns the campsite was cold and unwelcoming. Fortunately we had again been joined by Alex’s friend, who insisted on testing hiker syrum on us (lager mixed with vitamin powders). Needless to say it was an entertaining evening!