Oh dear gosh, today was difficult. I didn’t feel too bad at first but you know how sometimes a hangover creeps slowly in like little tendrils of doom across your brain? Pretty much that. There weren’t many hills and they weren’t particularly brutal but the ones we did encounter nearly bloody killed me. I swear I was sweating rum.
We didn’t particularly enjoy the first part of the day and I don’t think we would have even if our internal organs didn’t hate us right then. We were mostly shrouded in woods, or plodding through farmland with zero eyehole fodder. There was a lot of road walking too which my feet weren’t too happy about either. It was more or less a full body mutiny. I vowed never to drink again. Until Prestatyn.
Just under halfway through our day was the village of Newchurch which is home to the church of Saint Mary. This church welcomes hikers and has tea, coffee, squash and the pièce de résistance, biscuits, for you to help yourself to. We just hoped they weren’t bang in the middle of doing their Sunday god things when we rocked up.
The church was completely empty. What an absolute life saver! One would even say a… godsend… I’ll get my coat. It was exactly what we needed though. Sugar and caffeine to jump start whatever braincells were left after yesterday’s abuse. We’d been crossing paths with a German woman called Luzie since Chepstow and she rolled in just after we did for the sweet, sweet tea flavoured joy. It seems the church is well known and mentioned in guide books for its hospitality.
I’d been reliably informed that the section after the church was much nicer and we also knew it was on a ridge so we ducked off to the side to offload all the tea onto the ferns before we got to the point there’d be nowhere to piss without subjecting two nations to my saggy arse. The eyehole fodder from up there was epic! It’s always so much more enjoyable when you have shit to cram into your eyeholes.
We descended back into farmland for a while then right down down down into a valley before slogging back up onto another ridge. I say slogging, it’s not that bad at all. I mean, if I’d never set foot on the South West Coast Path I might have been questioning all of my life choices but the hills are short and provided you hadn’t spent the previous day applying several different types of booze to your liver they’re actually very doable without being convinced you’re about to die.
We swung by the only trigpoint of the day on Hergest Ridge before the final descent into Kington. It had been such a short day. If we were wild camping we’d have had to crack on until it got a bit later but this new found love of campsites meant we could just rock up, pitch, unpack and faceplant a large bowl of food. But why is it when you finish in a town it always feels like someone is picking the town up and moving it further away? I was starting to feel like Kington was a myth before we finally shuffled in.
We also managed to forget it was Sunday so we missed the Co-op but fortunately Spar was our saviour and we stocked up on dinner, breakfast and even some fruit. Usually when we buy fruit it just gets ignored until we stop kidding ourselves and throw it away but I’m quite looking forward to something resembling vitamins. Vitamins and actual sleep rather than that dehydrated coma thing you do when you’re drunk.
Y Gelli Gandryll (Hay-on-Wye), Powys, Wales to Kington, Herefordshire, England
Stayed at: Fleece Meadow Campsite, Kington
Useful shit to know…
- Hay-on-Wye has public toilets, as does Kingston. We saw a sign in the village of Gladestry saying there were toilets behind the church but we didn’t go looking for them.
- Water refills can be done at the Royal Oak in Gladstery if they’re open. I wouldn’t use the water provided for tea and coffee at the church in Newchurch as it’s bottled therefore only a finite supply. It wouldn’t be fair.