Day 7: Cwm for Brompton Crossroads to Knighton

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

This was the day that announced itself as quite possibly the hardest one of my walk; and some walkers I’d met going the other way had hinted at that as well. And it lived up to the expectations. Steep ascents and as steep descent, with virtually no breaks between them – in the Clwydian Hills the angles were mostly not as steep, there were some lovely breaks and there weren’t as many hills to conquer. But conquer them I did, all 7 of them if I counted correctly.

Same routing in the morning: breakfast at 7am, out the door around 7:30am and back on the Path about 15mins later.

What a day. Tarmac, fields with mostly sheep and a few with cattle, farms (one very muddy one), bracken, a bit of woodland, and lots of walking alongside the beloved Dyke. But nearly all of it on rather steep angles up or down. Kerry Ridgeway, followed by steep undulations known as The Switchbacks: Edenhope Hill, Hergan Hill, Craig Hill, Llanfair Hill (which at 432m/1417ft is the highest point of The Dyke, but not of The Path; that honor is reserved for The Black Mountains – something to look forward or upward to on October 12th), Cwm Sanaham and Panputon Hill.
Around 9am I heard dogs, shouting and a horn; turned out I’d walked straight into the middle of a fox hunt. Some haughty people on horses (I said hi and yes I did ask if I’d be ok with all those dogs running around – believe me, these were of the vicious looking kind; one came barreling down behind me and scared the living daylights out of me… luckily it did notice the little fox that poked out of the bushes right in front of me – but all I got was, well… nothing really), I practically ran up the next hill.

Somewhere today I came to a sign that marked the halfway point of Offa’s Dyke… I’ll have to figure out where exactly that was as for some strange reason it was not marked in my guide book. Knighton is seen as the halfway point, but the marker is somewhere on one of those hills.

On 2 sections the way marking was a rather poor, so I could really have used my gps. Naturally the batteries decided to fail that early morning. And no, I didn’t carry any extras. The night before I still had a couple of green bars; that morning however I immediately got a red bar and then…. pffft… nothing. so I had to be really on my game and had to make a few calculated decisions re the route. I only made a few short, neglectable mistakes.

Walking into Knighton I was running out of steam. Made a quick stop at a general store to buy some batteries and then did the last dash, on an uphill street of course, to my B&B for the night, Stowe View. I was welcomed by Bernardine with a cuppa tea and a slice of yummu homemade lemon cake and a good story of who slept in ‘my’ bed this last August: Bill Paxton!! For you who don’t know him: he’s an actor.

Oh, and did I mention the weather already? Lovely day for walking: mostly cloudy in the morning, but of the nice-cloudy kind, cool but not neither cold nor wet; around noon the sun started poking through and in the afternoon I enjoyed some actually lovely sunny spells.

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The fox hunt.
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St John the Baptist Church. Nice spot for a mid-morning break.
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After an uphill.
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Yep, that’s a steep descent coming up.
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It was even steeper than it looks. Came down it.
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Came up that.
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Couldn’t resist stopping and sitting on that log.
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Counting sheep.
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Same sheep after a bit of a climb.
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Final descent into Knighton.
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It’s all because of him: King Offa. At the Offa’s Dyke Centre in Knighton.