Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Offa's Dyke Training Sess.

Okay, so the general plan was to walk 137.5km throughout five days along the Welsh./English border being totally self-sufficient via the Offa's Dyke footpath with our lovely team from uni. Reality, we walked around 70km, stayed in campsites every night, got followed by cows, and lead a police chase and found a missing person (certificates in the post).
Overall a sucsessful week, and has given myself and Becks the confidence that we know for at least 5 days in a row we can wake up, pop our feet in to our boots and heave our rucksacks on our backs :)
Monday - Day 1
The route started in Buttington (south of Welshpool) which we started walking early monday afternoon (after a long mini bus journey from Chichester), the first day looked promising after completing 20km and ending up on time according to our route card, which was lovely :) One major note of the day: we definatly nearly got stampeeded by cows. Cows are too curious for their own good, having decided to take 10, we sat dwn for a well deserved break, and one by one cows circled round us coming closer and closer, there must have been about 20, and until they are that close you do not realise how big and poweful these animals are! Luckily Rich was on hand to shoo them away and Daisy was getting a bit nervous. After our break we thought maybe the cow ordeal was over. Oh how wrong could we be! We must have walked through what can only be described as THE BIGGEST FIELD EVER with the BIGGEST COWS EVER. These ones were a bit more curious than the ones we had encounted on our break, we looked like the pied piper of cows! As myself, Becks and Daisy walked they followed in our footsteps getting so close they were licking our rucksacks! Too close for comfort, it was getting a bit scary especially when they started to speed up and buck. The style at the other end of the fieeld couldn't have recieved a more welcoming......welcome. The weather was beautiful, and if anything TOO HOT. Never thought i would say that about Wales, but it was true, so by 7pm we had a very sweaty team, most of the team had their heart set on a campsite that night and after walking to one on our map, hearts broke when we discovered the closed sign!
After much logistics on internet looking up numbers we contacted a site, all sounded promising until Windy told us it was 6 miles away from us! So i did the obvious and agreed for us to be picked up and taken 6 miles off course! Although this didn't matter as this was a different problem for another day. 10 minutes later Windy turned up in a BMW estate which didnt look like it could fit 6 hikers plus 6 riucksacks in without someone in the boot. Oh wait. There was (Kat even fell asleep). After a short journey we were at destination camp site, it was lovely and later we found it was voted one of the best in the UK!

Tuesday - Day 2

Waking up in the morning only made us realise that we were 6 miles off course, not to worry though as theres always a back up! After an accidental lie in, we set off at 10.30am! And only got lost once (navigating out of the campsite!) It backed on to the shropshire way so we had another LDF under our belts, the trail lead us in to a pretty town called Bishops Castle where we filled up on supplies for the day and unexpectadly met Windy! Our destination was a town called Knighton, which came to be my favorite town of the week but heading South is a very mean downhill stint, not so good on the knees, there was already a team member with bad knees so the hill was pretty unbearable then we witnessed a hardcore lasy running UP it! she didn't even looked puffed out. My Hero. Headed to another campsite for the convinience of it 'being there'.
Met a beautiful horse called narla and gave her the rest of our carrot sticks, after camp was set up we decided to go and venture in to Knighton and ended up with amazing pub grub (steak burger with cheesy garlic bread for starters) What can only be described as too much banter happened that night and for some reason gave ourselfs cop names, athough no one liked their cop names:
Jade: Bad cop
Becks:Good cop
Daisy:Weird cop
Kat: Smelly cop
Rich: Braveheart cop
Luke: Lone ranger cop

After the pub we headed back to the campsite along the wood and a beautiful border collie poped out, very friendly all he wanted was a cuddle! But after a while it became clear there was no owner behind him, we found a phone number on his collar and his owner was very thankful and came out to collecte him, Rio was now renamed cute cop.