The day started with the usual beamingly delivered instructions: ‘Head up the High Street, turn off at the Offa’s Dyke Centre, along the river, over the railway lines and then UP. No, I mean really up, it’s HUGE.’ Unfortunately, unlike the people who, when they are asked for directions, respond with the false ‘oh, you can’t possibly walk there: it’s at least three miles away’ (I’ve only gone two hundred miles, but you are right, the last three are possibly unachievable), this man was right. The hill was a killer. But slowly slowly does it, and soon you are walking along the top with amazing vistas all around and sheep with legs marginally shorter on the port side than the starboard.
The ‘Land’s End’ of this trip has been the Ridge and Hay Bluff. Every time I thought I had travelled a distance, I would look around and there it would be, hanging over my shoulder like a reminder of the slowness of this mode of travel. Hill two today, though, finally obliterated them from sight and the illusion of distance travelled was again possible.
I had been told of a booklet available at the Offa’s Dyke Centre which listed the B&B’s all along the path. I got tight when I saw it was five pounds and decided I had winged it this far so I might as well wing it the rest of the way. The lady at the counter had informed me that there were a few places to stay in Newcastle though, and after a little walking I decided it was time for a slack day and that I would stop there and have a relaxing afternoon. Typically, I normally get up late and arrive late. My post-walking activities usually only include washing smalls, eating dinner, sewing sequins and crashing into bed—no time for lying around in sunny parks, reading a lot more, writing lists, day-dreaming; all the things a holiday should be about.
My eyes look like racoon’s or prize fighter’s, so another night indoors would also be highly beneficial.
I ended up in a lovely B&B at the pub. It was very specsh. I faffed, napped, showered, rotated smalls in the sunny window to dry, even managed to wash bike shorts and one dress for a lovely clean refreshing feeling tomorrow—grubby does become the norm, but like converting pounds to dollars, it is something worth not considering.
The pub was having a carvery that night due to a large booking that was there for a celebration. That was pressed upon me in a friendly way as the ‘best’ dinner option and so at seven-thirty I was there with plate out requesting lamb and pork please, no Yorkshire pudding. That is a weird item isn’t it? It’s like someone just thought that it would save on gravy boats if they made a pastry one, ate it and didn’t have to wash it later—all the fussiness of cleaning lumpy gravy from a spout maybe. The group was a table of teachers from the next village—approximately thirteen women and one man. They were the second noisiest thing I have ever heard. But very good eaves dropping material. It was one of those things where you didn’t realise how noisy they were until they all of a sudden left and the silence poured in. I had a nice chat to the proprietors and then went to a lovely bedded sleep.
Good night to Newcastle, good night to you.