At first our walking today is a continuation of the switchback environment of yesterday
. We reach the Trig Point on Llanfair Hill and realise we are at this juncture on the highest point on the Offa's Dyke itself. Then we immediately descend to a remote road into a dingle to cross a small stream. Next, inevitably, its up again past Selley Cross rising steeply through bracken and up to a lovely grassy hill, Cwm-Sanahan Hill (406m). The views are long and sensational. We decide it's 11.35, and we're due our first morning tea break. We stop and sit on the grass and are taken up with the wonderful peace and solitude. We listen to the distinctive soulful cry of the curlew and then watch, captivated, as a raven flies past us. Its deep throated croak calls to us and we hear its wings beating the air as it flies on and on over the land. In this environment with nothing to distract we are mesmerised with the sound of the raven's wings, we never think we will lose track of it's journey, the sound being so clear. This truly is peace personified.
After our break we go down a little to get our first view of Knighton and then we slowly work our way across Panpunton Hill (374m) and descend down into the prosperous little town of Knighton. We enter the town across the pretty River Teme through a woodland glade. Suddenly coming towards us is Sue Osborn, mother of the dear Kathy who passed away while we were walking the West Highland Way in Scotland. We had arranged to meet Sue, her mother, Megan and son, Anthony today in the village
. Sue's family have many connections in the Welsh Borders near here, and with Sue and Anthony having travelled over from Melbourne to meet with their family it seemed an ideal opportunity for us to catch up. It was difficult for us walking over here as Kathy's illness accelerated and we learned of her demise. We appreciate this get together today as a chance to come to terms with our grief. We spend a very enjoyable two hours together with the family and as we say our goodbyes outside the Horse and Jockey Inn, we promise to contact Megan again when we are walking through Bude, her home town, next month.
After a two hour plus lunch break, we have to put our heads down and get back on with the job of walking. We go steeply back up to the heights and enjoy walking the dyke where it presents as a magnificent 15' high bank with mature trees on top. We carry on up the dyke as we rise to Hawthorn Hill (406m) before gradually descending down Furrow Hill down to Dolly Green at 5.10 pm, our destination for today. Today we have been following the border walking from one side in Wales to the other in England. We are in the Marches country which has now become a kind of peacable middle ground, partly Welsh, partly English, and characterised by lovely rounded hills and wooded river valleys. This border country has been contested and fought over for centuries, however, as we walked today criss crossing from one side to the other, it was clear to us that the specific country we were in was irrelevant
. It certainly didn't matter a fig to nature. She doesn't care about small minded man's attempts to conquer, claim and name a particular piece of her creation, she knows better than this futile yearning and strife. The land is simply magnificent and the creatures and flora which inhabit the area, know better than to try to claim ownership, but simply enjoy the fruits that nature has laid at their feet.
Mary and Lance, our trusty support team, are there to whisk us back to our cottage for a final night. This is really a step too far given that it takes over 1 1/2 hours to drive back. We can only thank them for their efforts. Once again Lance has prepared a tasty repast and we sit with a bottle of wine and chew over parts of our life stories as we digest our food. Its lovely to be able to socialise with old friends, but going to bed after 11 pm with the diary not written up, we know we will have to pay for this pleasure.
We awake from a deep sleep but feeling very weary. We realise we need more sleep than we are getting. Making our muesli,fruit and yoghurt we look out at the mist swirling around the views from the cottage. Hopefully, the mist will burn off and we will have a glorious day. We are in the car at 8.18 and Lance drives us back to Newcastle-on-Clun to start to walk. It's 9.20 and we're walking in a thick mist. As we go up the hill for our first morning challenge we are feeling stimulated and Keith is pleased to be wearing his wind breaker beanie. He's forgotten his Tilley back at the cottage so had no other option. Within 10 mins however, we leave the mist behind as we forge up Llanfair Hill (430m) breathing in the early morning sunshine which has enveloped us. The weather is so good it challenges Keith contention that it rains every day in Wales - could this be a rain free day?