I’m not going to lie, we skipped 6¼ miles of the Offa’s Dyke Path today and I regret nothing. I’d read in a Facebook group that this section was full of feisty bullocks head butting and trying to mount each other. Even people who weren’t usually bothered by the bovine threat were avoiding that section in favour of the canal towpath, and loads of people jumped on the comment thread saying that it was a much nicer walk anyway rather than the tedious farmland plod.
I’m usually a bit of a purist when it comes to named trails and sticking to the official path. Not as much as a purist as I used to be thank fuck, that shit is exhausting, but I’m also a really big fan of not being trampled to death. Plus I’d not been very inspired by the Path so far, and being uninspired whilst being chased by cows is just insult to injury really. Fuck it then. When the path veered away from the canal we just carried straight on.
It’s such a pleasant walk! The canal obviously isn’t used by boats, the water is completely overgrown but that just adds to the charm. Plus there are loads of benches. The Offa’s Dyke Path is seriously lacking in benches. We were very pleased with our decision and powered along. I say powered, it was more of a rapid waddle on account of the sheer quantity of hash browns we crammed into our faceholes this morning. You can imagine our delight when we found out there was a McDonald’s in Buttington.
We cruised under photogenic bridges and past swans with their cygnets. We chatted to locals and petted their dogs. One woman told us they were trying to raise funds to open more of the canal to boats. The infrastructure is there, we walked past loads of locks and mooring points, it’s just chock full of plants, like an underwater jungle. She told us you often saw herons around here too and as if on cue we saw two massive ones but they were too quick to get a photo.
After we crossed a road the towpath became more overgrown but nothing that would remove an eyeball or anything, and we were only a mile or so from where we were to rejoin the National Trail so we knew we wouldn’t have to put up with it for much longer. This had been one of the most enjoyable sections of the walk so far and it wasn’t even on the actual trail. Offa’s Dyke swung in from the right and we followed the canal all the way into Llanymynech, but not without incident.
You remember I mentioned that swans exist along here? They’re fine when they’re in the water. Very cute with their little grey babies, that aren’t actually very little any more. How big do they have to get before they start breaking arms? Anyway, there was a family on the fucking towpath right in the way and whenever we made any attempt to get past them we were met with hissing.
Oh fuck fuck fuck. How were we going to get around these buggers? A house backed onto the towpath and we seriously considered trespassing into their garden to get around the swans, but then the homeowners wandered out, clearly quite amused. We couldn’t get through their garden apparently, there was no exit at the other side but they told us to point our hiking poles at the swans’ chests and move around the pole, facing the bird. Oh shit me, this was scarier than the time I had to walk right past a viper on a narrow boardwalk.
It did work though. The birds pulled themselves up to their full heights and I don’t know how close you’ve ever been to a fucking swan but they are absolutely massive. They hissed like velociraptors on crack but we kept them at stick length and didn’t turn our backs until we’d made our escape. Shitting hell. I don’t know what’s scarier; swans or cows!
We popped to the café in Llanymynech, the Village Pantry, to use the toilets and sooth our shattered nerves after the swanocalypse with a fizzy caffeine sugar beverage. We’d smashed out the first lot of miles on the flat and I think taking the canal path shaved a couple of miles off what was meant to be a 21 mile day. We didn’t want to do 21 miles, we never have a good time when we deliberately try and do over, like, 17 miles, but there was no affordable accommodation in between.
We knew the second half of the day was going to get lumpier but we didn’t realise the sun would come out and turn the air to lava. We’d had perfect walking weather for days now. Not too hot, mostly dry, couldn’t have asked for better conditions if we’d sacrificed a virgin to the weather gods. But suddenly the clouds cleared and the sun appeared and my face more or less took liquid form. Just in time for all the hills. Fuck’s sake!
Today though, today definitely afforded us one of the best views on this trail so far. We hauled ourselves up Moelydd whilst complaining incessantly about the heat but were rewarded with 360° of eyehole fodder. Astounding! This was worth the ungodly hill climbs. We caught our breath and chatted with a local woman who’d power walked up the hill right past us and was chilling at the top. She told us we had some fantastic walking coming up and if we thought this was good we were in for a treat. Unfortunately it would involve a lot of hills in an oven. The weather was set to be amazing now for several days.
The rest of the day was one of those walks that you have to coax out of your poor legs with frequent stretching. The hills weren’t too awful but they definitely existed and it was a long day despite managing to cut it down to under 20 miles. The last few miles are always hard work on long days. We did eventually roll into Carreg-y-big campsite. Luzie had already been there two hours. I don’t know how she does it!
Day on LEJOG: 45
Day on Offa’s Dyke Path: 9
Distance walked today: 19.7 miles
Total walked so far: 1063.55 miles
Weather: Started overcast but then ended up boiling hot
Coldest temp last night: 18.88°C inside / 16°C outside
Trigs bagged: 1
Trigs to date: 58
“Have you read ‘The Salt Path?'” (Running Total): 10
Tick tally: Tarrant 3 ; Claire 4
Jump to “Useful shit to know…”
Tal-y-bont (Buttington), Powys, Wales to Selattyn, Shropshire, England
Stayed at: Carreg-y-big Farm
Useful shit to know…
- Just outside of Buttington on a roundabout is a petrol station with a decent sized supermarket and a 24 hour McDonald’s.
- There are no public toilets that I could see but there’s a café in Llanymynech.
- For water refills there’s the café, and we crossed at least one stream once we’d left the canal. Of course there’s the canal itself too but you’ll definitely want a very good filter.
BUDGET for one person (based on two sharing)
Accommodation, Carreg-y-big: £10
Macca’s brekky: £7.62
Can of Coke: £1
Grand Total: £18.62
11 thoughts on “Day 86 – Buttington to Selattyn”
Ah well have personal battles without armaments instead 🙂 love reading the blog – tbf i have told lots of other people to read it but I fear a lot of the people i know cant read sometjing as fun as your blog 🙂
ps carry on blogging, its always a treat to read on the train etc. thanks you two
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I think you’re my biggest (only?) fan, Craig 😆 Thanks for reading it. It’s nice to know that someone does 😊
Haha I’m sure that’s not true
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Wonderful way to see the world, alwaya super honest! Helped me get around Chichester last weekend so thanks ladies
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sorry bit embarrassing now, but i like the blog, keep it up!
she loves doing a gun and camouflage stuff :¬))
ah i loved offas dyke! my favourite part of the world, have fun loves c x
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ahh don’t miss http://www.midwalesairsoft.co.uk/ Tarrant would hate to miss that…and the viking army battle place!
Ah we’ve already missed it, I’m super behind on this blog. Since we finished Offa’s Dyke we’ve spent two weeks in The Seychelles and now we’re back in Blackpool.
ahhh never mind, paint ball some other old people instead!