It was already too hot by 8am today and we had many hills to get up. I could solve world drought with the amount of fluid pouring from my face. We’d had a lovely horsefly free day yesterday but they were back today with a vengeance, taking chunks out of both of us. I’m going to be a scabby pool of pus and sweat by the time we get to Prestatyn.
It was the farmland plod we’d come to associate with the Offa’s Dyke Path, through fields of sheep crammed under trees out of the sun. Lucky sheep. They didn’t even bother running away, you know it’s too bastard hot when even the sheep can’t be fucked.
I’ve taken to mile watching too. You know when you work in an office and you check the clock every few minutes? I’m finding myself checking the Hiiker app every few minutes to see how many miles we had left. I was really struggling with this trail now. My legs weren’t happy and felt like they were made of lead. My feet felt like they’d been tenderised. I’d ditch it in Llangollen if it weren’t for Tarrant, she’s happy to chain the Nurofen Plus for the next few days to get the trail completed.
We were eventually steered to a lovely, shady towpath walk along a very different canal to yesterday. This one was well used by canal boats chugging up and down. We caught Luzie up and sat on a bench for a while and watched the world go by. She headed off before us and we spent a bit of time coaxing our legs into action again. I swear it gets harder to get going the more I sit down.
The trail splits into two branches, both official routes, with one taking you over the aqueduct and one taking you around. I’d asked on Facebook which the best route was. Go over it, they said. No other structure like it, they said. The views are fantastic, they said. Yeah so the view is probably great if you can bring yourself to look at it. I knew as soon as we stepped onto it we’d made a huge mistake.
Fuck me, we were high up. I lose my balance straight away at this height, you could put me on the exact same surface the exact same width but close to the ground and I’d be fine, but with the wide, historic railings to my right and the narrow canal followed by a drop into nothing on my left all I could do was cling onto the railings and stare at Tarrant’s heels. It’s a wonderful feat of engineering, I can’t deny that, but I was very glad to get off it.
We promptly sat down again for some food at the picnic tables and made full use of the public facilities. It’s nice having a wee in a cubicle rather than a danger piss behind a conveniently placed tree whilst sheep stare at you and your partner keeps an eye out for other humans. We dragged lunch out a little bit longer than we needed to before heading up to the convenience store in Trevor.
This is not an ideal resupply stop. All it had was cold drinks, booze, fags, crisps and cat food. Also Spam which I consider a perfectly acceptable wrap filling (I will also remove it from the tin and eat it like an apple) but Tarrant does not. We just had to hope the shop in Llandegla had better stuff because without dragging ourselves on our tired legs all the way into Llangollen village tonight, it would be our last opportunity to buy shit before Prestatyn.
We sat down (yes, again) and sipped our cold soft drinks. God that was good. Then we hobbled our lower limbs back into submission for the last few miles. It was mostly uphill, but in woodland which was a welcome respite from the relentless sun. Muggy as fuck though, I’m quite certain I was sweating more than I’d drank.
You switchback up the final bit of the hill and emerge from the woodland and holy shitting fuck! That eyehole fodder! What a panorama! That was definitely worth it. It was almost South West Coast Path-esque in that we were gazing over some scary looking hills and thinking, have we got to go over those? Honestly, I couldn’t stop gawping at it. It really does take what little breath you may or may not have left after that uphill slog.
The campsite we wanted was closed this year for renovations which is gutting as it’s slap bang on the trail. The next closest campsite was Wern Ifas Farm which is lovely but it’s ¾ of a mile aaaall the way down a hill. Which, of course, we have to get aaaall the way back up tomorrow. Luzie was already pitched and had gone into the village. There are shops there and she says it’s not far but once I’d sat down I was pretty much like, fuck it. We’ll risk Llandegla having what we need, even if it means we have to live off biscuits.
Selattyn, Shropshire, England to Llangollen, Sir Ddinbych (Denbighshire), Wales
Stayed at: Wern Isaf Farm, Llangollen
Useful shit to know…
- There are things today! Things like a pub and a toilet and a shop, all in Trevor. The shop, however, isn’t very well stocked and is only really good for snacks and drinks.
- There are shops in Llangollen and if you’re less lazy than us it’s not too far off you’ve already walked down a fuck off great big hill to your campsite.