Day 81 – Rest Day, Hay-on-Wye

I dozed off and on this morning waiting for a break in the rain so I could make a break for the toilets but I swear, every time I thought it had stopped and sat up it resumed pattering down onto the tent. It’s quite nice though, lying in the tent as gentle rain cascades down, knowing you don’t have to be anywhere for a while. It’d almost be romantic if I wasn’t absolutely dying for a shit.

Hay-on-Wye, the book town, twinned with Timbuktu. Because of course it is.

We did eventually get our crap together and head into the town before my stomach started trying to digest itself. Hay-on-Wye has loads of little cafés ready to provide you with all the caffeine and dead pig your various internal organs require to function.

You have to be in Hay-on-Wye before or after the town wakes up to get a photo of this very cool looking book shop.

We just pottered this morning. It’s a lovely little town to just wander around. It’s famous for its disproportionate quantity of second hand book shops, there are loads of them. Some specialise in a specific genre such as Murder & Mayhem which sells book about crime, both fiction and true. Some of the books in some of the shops are worth thousands of pounds. It’s fascinating.

We popped to the castle which was interesting. Legend has is that Matilda de Braose built the castle overnight with rocks she carried in her apron. She was eventually imprisoned by King John and starved to death but she’s the reason it’s written into the Magna Carta that you can’t be imprisoned without a trial.

The castle has only very recently opened to the public.

Richard Booth acquired the castle in the early 60’s and turned it into a book shop thus beginning Hay-on-Wye’s journey as the town of books. Booth was fond of a spliff and sounded like a right character. He did a lot to put Hay-on-Wye on the map, including declaring it an independent kingdom with himself as the king and his horse as the prime minister.

This is a really cool £1 book shop. Choose a book and pop a quid in the box.

Anyway. We were just killing time until our friends, Jenn and Jo, arrived. We’d not caught up in ages as they moved to Wales recently and they drove all the way here too see us. We proceeded to apply all manner of booze to our faceholes, I really haven’t been that fucking drunk for a very, very long time, but what an amazing afternoon! It was exactly what I needed. Good for the soul, even if it’s not so good for the liver.

Us with Jenn and Jo. What a fantastic afternoon of catch ups.

Day: 81
Day on LEJOG: 40
Day on Offa’s Dyke Path: 4
Distance walked today: 0 miles
Total walked so far: 983.85 miles
Weather: Rain in the morning, cleated up to be okay
Coldest temp last night: 11.81°C inside
Trigs bagged: 0
Trigs to date: 53
“Have you read ‘The Salt Path?'” (Running Total): 9
Tick tally: Tarrant 3 ; Claire 4

Jump to “Useful shit to know…”

Y Gelli Gandryll (Hay-on-Wye), Powys, Wales

Stayed at: Radnors End Campsite, Hay-on-Wye

Radnors End Campsite. The location is great, only half a mile from Hay-on-Wye and the ODP trail. I called a couple of days ahead to book us a pitch, it’s not a very big site at all so it’s probably advisable to do so. Phone number is 01497 820780. Showers are 50p for about 5 minutes but they’re hot. The pitch was level enough. They charge per hiker rather than per pitch so it’s ideal for solo hikers too.

Useful shit to know…

  • Hay Castle is free entry but of course they won’t be sad if you chuck them a donation.
  • I can highly recommend Tomatitos Tapas Bar for food. They had plenty of options for the vegan and the dairy free amongst us too.
  • Radnors End Campsite charges 50p for a shower.

BUDGET for one person (based on two sharing)
Accommodation, Radnors End: £10
Booze: £36
Meds: £4.25
Hay Castle: £2.50
Shower: £0.50
Breakfast, Granary: £9.65
Tomatitos Tapas: £23.57
Grand Total: £86.47

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