The trail guide suggests walking from Hay to Knighton in one go. That’s a mere 28 miles, at which I blanched. My original plan was to split the distance between Hay and Craven Arms into two long (21 mile) days, stopping in Discoed or Evenjobb (a village name which I still can’t quite believe is real despite seeing road signs for it). With this in mind I set off early from our campsite, full of energy and determined to make it to Kington soon after lunch.
The route from Hay to Kington is pretty, but nothing to compare to yesterday’s ridge walking over the Black Mountains. From our campsite, the path climbed for most of the first two hours, through some rather heavily logged woodland (amazing foxgloves, but nothing much but scrub left otherwise), before heading through some small villages and up again onto Disgwylfa Hill.
Then a gentle descent into Gladestry, where I was pleased to find the pub open and serving lunch. There were two horses in the car park, looking patient and resigned; they had been rented by two people in the pub garden who were riding cross-country (a company called Free Rein will apparently let you loose with a horse for a few days if you can tack it up yourself!).
Refreshed by a pint of beer and a large pot of tea I headed back uphill for the final part of the day, a lovely long walk over the springy turf of Hergest Ridge, which I enjoyed very much indeed.
I made what I thought was very fast going and phoned Arran from Kington at about half past two, to check if he was able to find Discoed or Evenjobb on the satnav to pick me up. Neither place was identifiable on the satnav and when Arran revealed that he and the kids were in fact in Kington themselves we decided to call it quits for the day – a respectable 14 miles walked in 5 1/2 hours including my lunch break!
Highlights: Gentle rolling hills after the wild moorland ridges of yesterday; a tiny frog in the road (see below); the silky turf of the old racecourse on the top of Hergest ridge; excellent home-cooked ham sandwiches for lunch; feeling fit and energetic.