Wednesday 20 June 2007

Gloucester, Monmouthshire and Powys: Congresbury - Knighton [11th-20th June]

[Update 4]

We wanted to get through busy Bristol and the river Severn ASAP, so after hundreds of hot dusty lorries, horseflies (and hairdresser shops), we reached Severn Beach after a 25 mile hike, exhausted, only to find the camp site had gone! Thankfully a local pointed us to an angel who let us stay on her field.
Daisy was a bit scared on the wobbly Avon Mouth and Severn Bridge, but once over we could see those lovely hills ahead.

Relieved to be back on a national trail, our first camp site on the Offa's Dyke path had a 'refreshing' outdoor pool and swallows nesting in the loo. Here we met Kenny, who was doing the trail twice for charity, who we kept bumping into. Unfortunately it was the start of a rainy period - all because we had our first BBQ!
We followed the trail for 5 days to Knighton where we reluctantly had to turn off in order to meet the Pennine way.
It's been a really lovely historic section (despite all the young bulls, styles - apparently 85 in one day, and being spat out onto a road from a brambly forest) where we passed old Abbeys, villages, misty forests, the Wye Valley and its jumping salmon (and horseflies of course) and the Hatteral ridge in the Black Mountains.
We also met loads of fellow backpackers and lovely, interesting Welsh folk. One in particular is the owner of the Little Oasis campsite in Pandy. If you like small farm-like sites and are backpacking that way you just have to meet Bill Evans. He'll have you chatting for hours about his interesting life. He used to make toys which he sold on to Disney, he's had Adam Faith and Tom Jones in his cafe (among others) and has doubled for Sean Connery in the film 'First Knight'. He has also made a stunning water feature in memory of his late wife and he gave us some invaluable advice for preventing blisters - sheeps wool, free, environmentally friendly and it works! We also saw BBC Coast's presenter Nick Crane in the Wye Valley, but he was too busy filming to ask him for sponsor money!

Weather is looking increasingly ominous and I still can't charge the phone, but we're still really enjoying it! Losing lots of weight too!

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