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Walking the Offa's Dyke Path

Day Four: Trial by Hill

The most sunshine on the entire trip

On the fourth day of their adventure the fab-four overslept. Their farm house accommodation was rustic and very comfortable. Their hosts Mr. and Mrs. Beaven made them a scrumptious breakfast, which they ate with gusto. The track this day led from Llantilio Crossenny to Longtown/Llanthony a 13.5 mile hike. A mixture of flat country roads and fields made up the trail at first, but then it began to climb upwards. After their regular eleven o"clock break they headed up, and up, and up the hills of Wales. All of the various hills and mountains, of the Offa's Dyke Path, add up to approximately 20,000 feet of total climbing. It was a statistic that kept bouncing around the hikers' minds as they plodded up the hills.

A thirteenth century church

It did shower on the intrepid hikers for 10 minutes, but nothing serious. Along the way, the walking team came to a thirteenth century church in the middle of a farm paddock. It was filled with art and decorations dating back to the thirteenth century. From the magnificent fresco of St. George killing the dragon on its wall the walkers imagined that the church must have had some importance at one time. However, the vast tide of history had washed it away leaving it in this desolate place. Walking in England and Europe is very different than walking in other parts of the world. Not only do the walks often pass through small towns and villages, but they are also dotted with ancient buildings, ruins, and monuments.

Views of Wales and England

Before they climbed the steepest mountain on the walk they stopped for lunch in a lovely emerald green pasture filled with fluffy white sheep. After delicious cheese sandwiches they continued steeply up 2,000 feet to the ridge line of the highest mountain on the track, which gave them more stunning views of England to the east and Wales to the west. Their eyes drew out to the horizon that was framed with light green farmlands, dark green hills, and forests.

Once on the ridge line the hikers experienced the full power of the wind in Wales (or so they thought). Even though the sun was shining on them, and the rain had mercifully stayed away, the wind gusted to over 30 or 40 miles per hour; nearly blowing them over at times. This was surely a trial by hill and wind.

Near the end of a long day of walking

After a very long day of walking up and down hills and fighting the wind they finally made it to their next farm house accommodation at Longtown/Llanthony. It was a very nice B&B and the host greeted them with freshly baked chocolate cake and tea. They were all ecstatic that they had put another day of hiking behind them.

So far floods, mud, hills, showers, and wind have resisted our intrepid hikers. What lies ahead of them?


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