Section number 2 of the Offas Dyke path was from Monmouth (where we finished last time) over to Pandy. As the UK was coming to the end of its heatwave, I made a last minute decision not to bring Winston with me. The humidity, lack of wind and just the sheer heat wasn’t fair on him. And on reflection, absolutely the right the decision as the heat was intense even for us.
For this trip, we stayed in the travelodge in Hereford and although a bit of a drive to both Monmouth and Pandy, it was the only reasonably priced accommodation we could find thanks to covid staycations. Similar to last time, we had broke this section into two days, with approximately 12 miles on the first day and a much shorter 4.5 miles on day two. Many have asked why we split it like this and it’s mainly because on day 2 we have to drive home too. Add that with any aches, pains or blisters from day 1, it makes it much easier to deal with.
Prior to the walk, we had mapped out areas to leave the cars. Using street view to find lay-bys or parking. For day 1, we found a little lay-by on Ross Road which was just a few hundred meters from the Offas Dyke path. We could see from the elevation on the OS map that this looked a relatively peaceful walk and even thought about doing the whole walk in one day. We decided against this and I’m very glad we did! The heat and the humidity really took us by surprise and also it appeared we had lost some form of walking fitness in the few weeks we had off.
Day 1 of the walk was very much through fields, crop fields and livestock but again all so easily signposted and waymarked. We walked through a gorgeous apple orchid used for cider and with only a couple of steel hills, it was a very pleasant walk! Once we had reached the car, we decided it would be rude not to stop at the White Castle Vineyard on the way home. We enjoy wine tasting and a quick snack before buying bottles of wine to take home. This was a lovely little addition to the walk and would highly recommend to anyone. Fuelled with a very healthy Papa Johns pizza on return to the travelodge, a decent afternoon of rest and sleep prepped us for the following day.
We agreed that an early start was needed due to the temperatures rising and the blue skies forecasted which would only intensify the heat. We began walking at 8am and again through more fields before arriving at a church to get our Offas Dyke passports stamped. I really love this passport idea and it’s a real excitement each time you’re able to tick off another section.
As we walked this path, we could get a glimpse of the black mountains which would be on our next section to complete. Day 2 really didn’t take us long to walk and I think we were grateful. The heat really had affected us on this section but we had completed yet another section nonetheless.
Our next section is only a couple of weeks away, so we agreed to get in a few more training walks before our next date.
I will be returning to do this section with Winston. I know it sounds a bit crazy but I really wanted Winston to be a part of this challenge and although I did the absolutely right thing not to bring him with me, I still want him to do it with me. There was potential talk of a heatwave in August maybe preventing him coming in the next section too but that seems to have gone away again.
I’m hoping to go down and redo this section, ideally before Section 3, but we will have to see if time permits on this one!
35 miles down, 142 to go….