Day 95 - Is Wales welsh for hills??!!
Trip Start Jun 12, 2010
147Trip End Nov 18, 2010
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Where I stayed
The Royal Oak Inn
We have our final self-made breakfast at the cottage and are in the car at 9.25 with our backpacks fully packed ready to be carried for the first time in three days
Our first hill this morning was Granner Wood (372m) before we descended down past Evenjobb to cross Ditchyeld Bridge where we listened to a loud siren coming across the open fields from a quarry in the distance. The siren went on for 5 full minutes, during the middle of which a small explosion took place, more like a pop from a toy gun than a blast powerful enough to move rocks
We then had a long descent into Kington, a sizeable enough village but not one that appealed to us. We stopped at the old time Regency Cafe and had some homemade cake with a cup of tea, while rain spots appeared in the street. Keith is not feeling his normal self today and as he eats the cake his stomach grumbles and moans. He decides something is afoot and retires to the family bathroom above the tiny tea room. It's like he's stepped back 30 years and has walked into the bathroom used by the woman's family that run the tea rooms. While contemplating his existence he realises just how tired he feels and tries to pass the time by working out how many days walking remain ahead of him. He is shocked to find his mind has turned to counting how many days are left. To move from a wonderful adventure and counting the days forward to simply looking to establish a number of days which he can tick off is frightening
After a very indulgent 45 minute break for tea we set off to tackle the final hills before this day concludes. We walk straight up out of the village on a small lane that gradually deteriorates into a farm track which gradually disappears to a small goat track leading across open moorland. There were six arrows of climb on our map from the village up to the top of Hergest Ridge (425m) and we seem to do it easily. The top of this common land moor is a wonderful open expanse. It's like being on Dartmoor and there are even Dartmoor ponies grazing in the wild with the sheep. We have watched the birds of prey circling, scouring the moorland for their prey and now their place is taken in the skies by three more fiercesome flying bodies. We find out later this is the Navy Air fleet practicing dog fights over the very top of our heads and sometimes flying below us off the side of this high moor. These three jets demand our attention and we are captivated by their energy, sound and aerobatics. All too soon we reach the end of the moor and begin our final descent for the day into the little village of Gladestry
Tonight we rest in a remote pub in a tiny village. How remarkable then that sitting in the bar in front of a small and very welcome log fire, that Keith finds amongst the four locals drinking at the bar, a man who has lived in Streatham. Keith was born and grew up in this South London suburb and he, in his youth, drank at the Leigham Arms. What a coincidence therefore that this man had lived in Leigham Court Road. Such are the small touches that colour our adventure. This pub had the right idea about offering food. They had a menu that consisted of five classic pub fare items. Not for them the long list of impossibly complicated dishes which spoke of freezers, microwaves and packaged sauces. We had the steak and ale casserole and the chicken and leek pie and both were very good. In fact, the rhubard and raspberry crumble which we shared for dessert was one of the best we have had on our entire trip. The highlight of this pub however, was neither the building, the owners or the food, it was Tinkerbell. This oh so appealing black toy poodle was in command of her human owners and soon captured our hearts.