Friday, May 25, 2012

Day 8 : 29 km : Welshpool to Trefonen

'The boring bit!' That's the title my guidebook claims is often given to this section of the hike. Wrong! It's not! Flat it is, for sure but it is actually one of the prettiest sections of the walk. The Monmouth canal is hugely pretty and the walk goes along its tow path for quite a few miles. The canal is not open to boats so it not 'used' for anything but is cared for and managed so gives the impression of an ornamental pond. It just happens to be miles long. It is alive with fish and other creepy crawlies and is a home to all kinds of water loving birds. The section from Four Crosses to Llanymynech is well worth a visit.

Weather-wise the day started out rather overcast but my b&b host for the night was an ex-farmer and assured me that mist on the tops of the hills round Welshpool meant that it was going to be a hot day! For sure! And he was right! By mid-day the sun was thick and hanging in the trees and bushes in a haze of childhood memories and scuffing up from boot-damp, insect laden grassy meadows. The shade under the crumbling bridges over the canal offered havens for fish to linger, gently fanning and drifting over gravel where the submerged weeds found too little light to grow. Step by step the afternoon hazed on, the Breidden Hills with their clattering, grumbling quarries were wrapped and muffled by meadows and birdsong to be folded away and added to the blanket box of memories of the Offas's Dyke path.

By mid afternoon I arrived at my mum and dad's house and we spent a lovely hour chatting will chilled beer and donuts bought partly in honour of my arrival, and partly (maybe mostly?!) because they just like donuts! Ha! Yes they do! Birthday cards for their imminent birthdays delivered and feeling slightly fazed from the beer, it was time to set off of the last section of the day's walk heading for Trefonen.

Ah, the end of a peaceful day's walk heading over gentle countryside and into a lazy pub dinner and bed. Well forget that! Flat and charming it might have been until then but just when my legs and dizzy head were deciding it was about time to stop for the day, along came the climb out of Nantmawr up to the top of Moelydd Uchaf. 285 metres up steep path embedded in rough pasture and woodland in the still heat of the fading afternoon was hard work. Oh yes I sweated on that one! My planned two hour walk into Trefonen became two and a half hours and my legs threatened rebellion. And I remember idly mentioning to my dad when we were chatting about the route on a map, "Looks a bit steep there!" as I tapped the hill with a donut sugary finger and forgot about it! Foolish me!

Well I arrived and showered and hastily headed out to the local pub for dinner with mum and dad. A lovely end to a wonderful day. Thanks for your company and support guys. Happy Birthday both. Love ya!

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