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 13 (the final day) walking from Monmouth to Sedbury Cliffs on 17th April 2010 (20 miles).
It was a cold start to our final day on Offa’s Dyke – temperatures had dropped below freezing and ice had formed on the inside of the tent. After braving a warm shower in a freezing barn, we headed over to the local BnB for breakfast, before being picked up by the support team and taken back into Monmouth.
Although we wisely dumped any unrequired personal belongings at the campsite, we still had the ongoing issue of who was going to carry the heaviest part of the tent for the day. As the longest day, we decided to share the burden throughout the day, however we still had to decide who had the heaviest load first… cue yet another coin toss:
COIN TOSS AUDIO
After resupplying at a local supermarket, we headed out of Monmouth and climbed steeply to The Kymin – a naval temple built around 1800 to celebrate recent victories of the British Navy. The views across the Wye valley were pretty spectacular.
For most of the morning we were out of signal following the path through some gorgeous hillside woods.
The day had warmed up considerably as we dropped back down to The Wye valley. and for a pleasant few miles we followed the winding turns of the Wye until we reached Brockweir (passing a group of miserable looking school children who, judging by their t-shirts were planning to walk Offa’s Dyke the other way!) – where we stopped for lunch and a refreshing pint of cider. There was a chap in the bar who had to cancel his holiday to Spain due to the ash cloud – he could not be happier as it was pouring with rain in Spain, yet conditions in this part of the country were almost summery!
Motivated by the cider, we climbed back up the hillside to met up with some friends who had walked up from Chepstow to meet us. On this part of the Dyke you really get a feel for how old Offa’s Dyke is, as it is entwined with countless tree roots (albeit from fairly new trees, but the feeling is there!)
After pausing at Devil’s Pulpit to take in the view of Tintern Abbey down in the valley (we were also joined by the support team), we headed towards the coast. The next few hours past pretty quickly as we chatted with our friends, but as we approached the villages of Woodcroft and Tutshill (just North of Sedbury), I was starting to really suffer. We decided to take another break, conveniently at another pub, to give us the strength to carry on to the finish.
The final part of our epic hike was a bit of a disappointment – most of the last few miles is on pavements through housing estates, and with aching feet we plodded along looking quite out of place. However, as we left the final housing estate, we had a final few hundred meters and a gentle climb to the finish!
We were met at the finish by the support team and, as a pleasant surprise, Pete with a bottle of bubbly! We had done it – we had walked the entire 177 mile Offa’s Dyke path in aid of MS Society. We were exhausted, sore and had had enough of walking.
We headed into Chepstow to check into our dog friendly hotel, The Beaufort Hotel. The dog gratefully lay down and went straight to sleep, barely glancing at her dinner, and we had a celebration dinner (and one or two drinks) with a few friends and of course the support team (I saved a bit of steak for the dog who stirred long enough to wolf it down before falling straight to sleep).