Tuesday, 16 June 2009

The Offas Dyke Ordeal day 3

Day three was always going to be a test, walking away from the comforts of Rock HQ and along trails already walked in practice sessions but Stu and I dutifully packed our bags, ate a hearty breakfast and set off into wilderness. I ignored some strange rumblings going on in my stomach, putting it down to fizzy pop reacting with muesli bars. The sun shone, the birds sang and we plodded merrily on knowing that today we would be half way, way past halfway.
Unfortunately the excitement of reaching Knighton was shattered when we found that actually it wasn't half way along the trail as advertised, it was at least 8 miles short of halfway. Undeterred we went into the Offas Dyke visitor centre to buy an ice cream. Here we were interrogated by the Dyke Gestapo, custodians of the trail who ensure no cheating. A kindly old lady played good cop, innocently enquiring if we were going the whole way. By now we had realised that if you were asked that while walking you were not encountering ramblers with an interest in swinging, no, it meant going all the way along the dyke. Yes, we announced with pride, we are going the whole way. Excellent she purred, when did you start?
But, she paused, but its only Tuesday lunchtime! She bellowed growing in size like some weird Gerald Scarfe puppet. Get out! she screamed pointing at the door, no one gets here by Tuesday lunchtime!
We grabbed our ice creams and fled with the shout of wheres your kit ringing in our ears.
Outside we were top trumped by two walkers who were going from John O'Groats to Lands End. Our moods further darkened when we were confronted by the hills ahead, we passed a couple who envied our walking poles, yes they do make thing easier we agreed as he clutched his chest and fell to the floor gasping. The day progressed, endless ups and downs physically and mentally. Eventually we came out on some sort of common that went on for miles.
And miles.
We had a lie down and think.

Newcastle was ahead, by our calculations that was half way, once there we would summons the cavalry and await rescue at a pub, there had to be one. We would bunker down back at Rock HQ and get a good nights sleep and start again tomorrow. By the time we got to Newcastle it was just about opening time. Stu asked for a pint of pear cider. The landlady reacted like he had asked for the blood of her first born and told him in no uncertain terms that she didn't serve that sort of drink. Settling for two pints of what everybody in the village drinks we sat outside and waited rescue while the locals constructed a Wicker Man to deal with the two demons in their midst. Sara arrived and we escaped in the nick of time. Funny folk round those parts.
Day 3 miles walked 26 time started 08.30 ended 18.20 pack weight 24 pound calories consumed 127,000,000sq

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