My rather old Offa’s Dyke guidebook is given to waxing lyrical in places and described this stretch as the best of the path. I’m not really qualified to judge, having only walked just under half, but although today’s walk was pretty and full of variety my favourite day was still the walk from Pandy to Hay-on-Wye. This was however the last day on the Offa’s Dyke path, as the next step for me was to leave Wales and head northeast towards the Peak District and the Pennines.
I started the day badly by asking the lady in the baker’s shop in Kington whether she had any Welsh cakes. She was indignant, and seemed shocked at the very idea that she might make or sell Welsh cakes when ‘after all, we are in England here, you know’. I bought an apricot flapjack to placate her and escaped into the street with a sigh of relief.
The day was grey and much colder than the last few days; by the time I climbed up past the golf course (the highest in England, allegedly) to rejoin the Dyke itself at the top of Rushock Hill, it was very windy and felt like I was once again on moorland.
The path followed the Dyke for a bit before heading over the ridge and down into a very green and manicured valley, all neat fields and grass drying in rows for baling.
The walk was pleasant but uneventful, until I came down a hillside looking for a spot to have lunch, only to rediscover Israel and two Californian women who had been chatting to us on the walk to Hay. I joined them for the rest of the day and it was nice to have some companionship for the last day on Offa’s Dyke. It began to rain as we climbed over the last two hills before Knighton; not the deluge I had feared but a refreshing cool shower.
It was however nice to arrive, even if Knighton is a bit short on places to stay out of the rain. It’s also short on shops selling maps to anywhere that isn’t Offa’s Dyke, as I discovered; I compromised with a nice commemorative sweatshirt from the tourist information centre.
Highlights: Standing alone on top of the Dyke in the wind, feeling very Dark Ages; the sudden transition from windswept hill to lush green valley coming down to Harpton; looking forward to leaving Wales for the next part of the walk.