Thursday, July 12, 2018

Llangollen to Clwyd Gate to Bodfari

I left Glasgym at 6 in the morning. The hosts, Heather and John, were expecting extra people for breakfast (some fishermen!) and if I didn't leave early, I would have to wait until breakfast was over, for a drive back up to the Offa's Dyke Path at Castell Dinas Bran. I preferred an early start, so they handed me a packed breakfast, Heather popped me up the hill (seemed short after the walk down yesterday!)  and I stopped here to enjoy an early meal with not only a spectacular view but bucolic sounds of baa-ing sheep and droning insects.

I especially liked these tree roots.

This closed and empty hotel (want to buy a hotel with a great view on a main road in Wales?) is where the taxi picked me up to transport me into Ruthin to another charming B and B.

John and Helen provided a tasty and colourful breakfast of mixed fresh fruit, overnight oats, freshly baked soda bread and an offer of that famous full Welsh cooked breakfast as well. 

The room was so interesting, with the mouldings, wallpaper, colours and art (paper art by their daughter). And then, of course, the garden on the other side of the window. 

While I was waiting for the taxi to pick me up to return to the Path, Helen took me on a tour of her garden - so beautiful - and even a pond with water lilies.

The taxi arrived on time at 9:30 (I know, a bit of a late start for a difficult day's hike, but that is what Celtic Trails had organized) and before long I was back on the Path for the second last day of the Walk, one with some challenging ascents, especially up Moel Famau, which I found VERY difficult. 

There were a lot of ascents on this second last day and I was getting tired. At one point, I had my head down, going up, up, up and met a van going down the other way, even though it didn't seem like this was a road where there should be any vehicles since it was inside Moel Famau Park. I thought he was a park warden or something. Shortly after, it came up again, passing me. Eventually, I reached the point where it had stopped. A man was unloading bags and a woman with a tiny infant was also getting out. I carried on and eventually the road gave out, running into a fence, I realized that where the van had stopped was most likely my turn up onto the moor above and I had missed it. Luckily I found another stile, not in very good shape, with lots of barbed wire around it but was able to navigate it and then followed a sheep track uphill through the heather and regained my intended route. Whew!

Below: Moel Famau, an arduous climb (more shots of Moel Famau in the Part 2 video above)

Mrs. Nest Price, the host of the B and B near Bodfari picked me up from the bus stop where I had been instructed to meet her. She was well into her 80's but drove competently and was very kind in answering my many questions. She manages the B and B on her own, providing both dinner and breakfast to her guests. 

The house, very old, but updated, is much longer in one direction than the other and extends to another home where her daughter and son-in-law live and they are active participants in her life. 

My cosy bedroom was up a floor, off a long hallway, where there were cabinets of collections of china plates and figures. There was a sink in the bedroom but the loo was across the hall. 

The front entrance was a bit unusual - an opening that looked like it maybe wasn't original to the building. The plaque at the side celebrates the house's history. The inner door, which you can see is open, is apparently left that way at least during the day. The door to the back garden on the other side of the house is also left open so you might wonder about wildlife getting inside, as I did. Sure enough, when I was going up to finish packing after breakfast, I startled a little bird in the stairway. It took off down the long hall. Hmm....I wonder about mice???

The back garden was very welcoming.

This was Day 15 and 16

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Walking Offa's Dyke Path: Craignant to Llangollen

The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct was a highlight of Offa's Dyke Path. This amazing structure, built during the turn of the 19th century - 1795 - 1805, so without the help of modern technology, was the brainchild of Scottish civil engineer, architect and stone mason, Thomas Telford, who also built roads, canals and other major pieces of infrastructure. The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct has UNESCO World Heritage status and is well-visited by people from all over. 

The canal part of the Aqueduct is a cast-iron trough held up by 18 stone piers above the River Dee more than 120 feet below. There is a railing along the pedestrian side of the structure, but none on the canal side and I imagine that travelling across in a longboat or paddleboat must be much more frightening than the walk beside. There are no restrictions on the type of boats that go across - the only delimiter is size - so there are canoes, kayaks, paddleboats and so on in addition to the traditional canal narrowboats.

You can tell that I was completely wowed by this wonderful marvel of engineering. Here are a few more pics. Since I couldn't decide which to leave out, I include them all here (obviously from various sources, none, mine)

Llangollen is a completely charming Welsh town. I was so lucky to be able to spend a relaxing day there in fine weather. I walked around town, visited a shop full of local crafts and looked in many store windows admiring the sausages and baked goods then walked out along the river to the town park where I treated myself to an ice cream cone and sat on a bench enjoying all the goings-on. Returning to town I visited the horse-drawn canal boat pier and then stopped at the train station, where, after I watched a train full of sightseers departing, I bought a soup and sandwich at the cafe located in the old train cars set up beside the track. Then, back to the B and B to enjoy this takeaway lunch in their quiet front garden. All in all, a relaxing day.

More pics:

Glasgwm B and B

This was Day 13 and 14

Days 15 and 16: Llangollen to  Clwyd Gate to Bodfari

Days 11 and 12: Buttington Bridge to Llanmynech to Craignant

Day 10: Brompton Crossing to Buttington Bridge

Days 7, 8, 9: Hay-on-Wye to Kington to Knighton to Brompton Crossing

Days 5 and 6: Longtown to Hay-on-Wye 

Day 4: Llangattock Lingoed to Longtown

Day 1: Sedbury Cliffs to Bigsweir Bridge