Day 9: Kington to Hay-on-Wye

Saturday, October 10th, 2015

As expected the pub was a bit noisy the night before, being Friday night and rugby world cup (the All Blacks beat Tonga) and all that. Still i slept ok. The earliest they served breakfast was 7:30 – I was in the dining room on the dot – understandable: The Oxford Arms is a family run pub (husband Fred, wife Sadie and daughter Molly – I might have the names of the ladies switched) and Fred, who closed the pub the night before, was up again serving us breakfast. There were other punters so he was quite busy. As I said , the place grew on me, and Fred’s friendly and easy-going manner sealed it. I settled my account, collected my lunch and was out the door around 8am and back on The Path about 5 minutes later.

Shortly after walking out of town I reached the foot of Hergest Ridge open common. According to my guidebook the route over the Ridge is possibly the best part of the entire trail, and that might just be the case. I remembered this part from 2004 and I had fond memories of it; I was not disappointed this time around. The weather that morning was cloudy and cooler than the previous days – it merited another layer for warmth – but still the going was good in good walking weather. No rain. No biting wind. Trail not muddy, apart from a few short stretches.

After the steady but gradual climb up and down Hergest Ridge, the trail went through the hamlet of Gladestry, then back up and down through farmland, followed by Disgwylfa Hill and down to Newchurch. Up out of Newchurch through hedged lanes, along the edge of fields, naturally another mild climb and descent, to finally catch a first glimpse of the River Wye. After another couple of kilometers through fields The Path rejoined the Wye for the final, wooded stretch into the book town of Hay-on-Wye. I crossed the Hay Bridge at 2:55pm, about an hour earlier than i had anticipated. The walking that day was easier than I expected.

I checked into the lovely and comfortable ‘Rest for the Tired’ B&B. I’d sent an email the night before with my expected eta and with the request to do laundry. Mary, the proprietor kinda knew that I would arrive earlier, and had the laundry machine all ready for me. I put on a load, freshend up and went for a stroll into town in search for some food to have in my room. After these long walking days I preferred to eat in. I watched Australia beat Wales in rugby.

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Only 14 miles/22.5 km left today.
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On Hergest Ridge.
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One of the wild ponys on Hergest Ridge.
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Yep, I loved Hergest Ridge.
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Would’ve been so cool had it been a blue police box…
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Love those lone trees.
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Not so easy to spot this sign post from a distance..
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Familiar and loved ‘walker’s gate’ – the little one to the left.
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First Glimpse of the River Wye.
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Some farmers are really helpful; it was indeed easy to spot the other yellow disc at the far end 🙂
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Made it!