8 May 2011

Offa's Dyke - Monmouth to Hay on Way

29 April
With the rest of my family stretched from the Isles of Scilly to Brighton, Will and I met up with my Dad for this years Offa's Dyke trip. The long drive to Hay on Wye started with the weather still looking hopeful. We got going a bit later than planned after time spent dropping off the car and eating breakfast in Crickhowell.

We left Monmouth through Kings Woods heading for Llangattock-lingoed just east of Abergavenny. Today's section of the Offa's Dyke path is mainly though fields and small sections of wood. One book describes it as "pleasant though unexciting farmland".  I think this is a bit unfair the countryside is very gentle but it is a fine walk and certainly better than watching someone get married.

We stopped for a late lunch by the River Trothy. When we reached White Castle we left Offa's Dyke path briefly and joined the Three Castles Way.which follows a more direct route down the hill to Caggle Street.

We stayed at a wonderful B&B in Llangattock. After I had booked it my Dad pointed out it was the same B&B we had stayed in 30 years ago when he and I walked the path.

30 April
The next day after a few more fields (including Kenny Dalglish field, keep reading to see why) we crossed the main road at Pandy and started the climb up Hatterrall Hill. When we reached the trig point the wind was blowing hard across the border. This wonderful section of the path with its great views enlivened us all. Someone really started to enjoy their surroundings, previous comments about "not another sheep field" were left in the past.

We joined the Beacons way to drop down to Llanthony. After a quick tour of the Priory and 2 small campsites we headed to the pub where we were to stay.

1 May
We climbed the steep hill back up to the ridge  Will really enjoyed this and probably went faster up the hill than on some of the flat bits.  It is a balance doing long walks with kids. Finding something that is the right distance, challenging enough but not too dangerous. Planning your escape routes if the weather, enthusiasm or kit fails you.

To a great extent it will depend on the child and their experience and motivation. One thing we did do was play a lot of word games. We played about 50 games of "guess who"; someone thinks of a person and the other have to guess who by asking questions that can only have a yes or no answer.

We continued along the ridge over Black Mountain. The weather was colder but still clear as we walked along the top before finally reaching Hay Bluff where we dropped down to pick up the car.