Day 3: Clwyd Gate to Llangollen

Saturday, October 3rd, 2015

As expected sleeping above a pub would be, last night’s rest wasn’t as sound(proof) as the previous nights. The Druid Inn quieted down around 10:30pm but then some guests of the Inn, who, I think, had stayed up in the common area, decided to say their rather loud good-nights right in front of my door at 1:14am. And the bed wasn’t as comfy as the previous ones either. But still a good enough stay. Breakfast was served from 7:30am and that’s when I was in the dining room. I like to start walking as early as possible on walks like this. After settling my account I was taken back to Clwyd Gate to pick up the Path where I’d left off the previous day. I was on the trail by 8:10am.

The morning started off rather foggy, wetter than the previous days, but still nothing bad; on the contrary.

The days’ walk started with a brisk uphill through pastures, followed by a nice grassy path and then onto a stony track downhill. More grassy path, steep ascent, field and past a radio mast. That’s where I tried and, this time succeeded in calling my next B&B with an ETA. Believe it or not but the night before at The Druid Inn I had no cellular reception. When I later that day mentioned that to Mike from my B&B he told me it’s a known issue throughout much of Wales. So much so that it was brought before the government. The Path continued through more fields and pastures and a quiet road towards Llandegla. Shortly after entering the village I found a bench beckoning me to have lunch on it. It was around 11:40am. By then the fog had lifted for the most part. Out of Llandegla, through some fields and into Llandegla Forest. The Path in the forest quite gradually but relentlessly went up, until I came out of it and reached the moorlands where the path went gently downhill. Coming the other way I’m sure the adjectives would be switched over. After a couple of kilometers downhill along a road and a little ways through mostly cleared forest, I walked on a narrow stony path along scree slopes below impressive crags. Eventually I followed a road for quite some time until the turn-off (according to Contours) to Bryn Meirion, my B&B for the night. It wasn’t until then that I realized I had to go up and over Dinas Bran, something I wasn’t up for anymore. So I called Mike and he picked me up at ‘the cattle grid at the turn off’. Very much appreciated. Turned out I could have taken the first turn-off to Llangollen as well.

Dinner was a bit of a funny affair that evening. Normally one can have dinner at Bryn Meirion provided you’ve rang them in advance. I’d asked about that on the call this morning and Mike said something like: yes, normally that’s no problem, but tonight you see, there’s this big and important rugby game on and we have family joining us to watch it, and well, we won’t be cooking but getting take-out Chinese. Happened to be the World Cup Rugby in the UK at the time and the game in question was England vs. Australia, which England had to win to stay alive. Turns out Mike, Jane and family are England supporters. (I was watching the game while writing this and it wasn’t looking too good for England). We found a good solution though: I went with the nephew picking up the Chinese food and ordered my own. Yummy food and huge portions, so I had enough for re-heated Chinese the next day.

The best thing about Bryn Meirion was my en-suite with a large bathtub. Most B&B’s have only showers as they haven’t got the space for much more. Which is fine. But this bathtub was a real treat, especially since, with the continuing drought back home in California, I hadn’t had much chances for one. So shortly after checking in to the B&B and with Stephen I was enjoying a nice long soak. Heaven.

I was also very much looking forward to my rest day, to let the bruises on my ankles and shins heal a bit. These were partly caused by the middle lip of my boots shifting, which changed the pressure points of my boots on my feet.

Rugby update: England lost that game and were out of the World Cup.

Sunday, October 4th, 2015

I took a planned rest day in Llangollen, which I very much enjoyed.

Breakfast had been organized for 9am, and I shared a table with the nephew, Richard, and his wife, Dawn. Lovely chatty start to another gloriously sunny day in Wales.

Around 10:30am I walked into Llangollen town center and wandered around the quaint streets. At one stage I checked for wifi networks on my phone, not holding out much hope, but lo-and-behold: ‘Barclays free wifi’ showed up; and what’d you know: it actually worked! And it got better: there were a couple of benches across the road, within said wifi reach!! So I plonked myself down for a while and caught up on some essential internet stuff. So there was working wifi in Wales afterall; I mean if Barclays can provide it for free, then the close to not-working wifi I’d experienced in my accommodations so far had to be due to… I don’t know… bad set-ups, no extensions,…

Tempting though it was, I did get up again and had lunch in Dee Side Café and Bistro. After a quick dash back to ‘the bench in front of Barclays’, I walked over to where the canal boat tours leave from, and then strolled along the canal back to Bryn Meirion, where Jane made me a lovely cup of coffee, which I enjoyed, in the sun, on the deck off the sun room. Did I mention it was a lovely sunny day yet again? I was beginning to fear I was using up my sun-allowance for the whole walk those first days…

I also took care of some necessities: topped up my O2 Pay&Go (not too happy about the £1 that got deducted daily for data I never used), and, bought a new water bladder. Yes, Llangollen had a nice outdoors store ;). The evening before the start of my walk, in Prestatyn, I discovered that my water bladder had several punctures; Llangollen was the first and only chance I had to sort this little issue out.

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Lunch spot in Llandegla.
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In the moorlands.
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Country lane obviously.