The alarm went off at 4.30 this morning, before the bastard rooster even had a chance to wake us up. There’d been a lot of roosters recently, sleep had generally been forcibly ended early for the last few days but today it was necessary on account of the fact it was forecast to be hotter than the devil’s arsehole.
We managed to get our shit together and get going by 5.45 and headed off through the village of Llandegla and the subsequent farmland. So far so good. Nothing too hideous. We made good miles, even through the the fields full of bovines that were definitely looking at me funny. Then shit got real and we slogged up the first proper hill of the day into the wild hills.
I love this sort of landscape, all heathery and ferny, scrubland as far as the eye can see. The views up here were astounding too, we could see for fucking miles. It was too bloody hot by 8am again though. We were hoping for a bit more cloud until a bit later than this. We stopped to smother ourselves in factor 50 and carried on up more hills, every molecule of H2O in my body making a break for freedom through my face.
The rewards were great, however. Honestly, this was the best eyehole fodder we’d had since we started this trail. Sure, Pandy to Hay-On-Wye was fantastic but we could never see as far as this, you feel like you’re on top of the world. We decided that the mountain range over yonder was probably Snowdonia. We also decided we were probably closer to the sun than we would have liked to be.
The incline up to the Jubilee Tower nearly finished me off but we were only just over halfway by this point. This was built for George III’s Golden Jubilee in 1810 but it wasn’t long before it collapsed. It used to have a fuck off great big obelisk on top of it too. There were a metric fuck tonne of people here and even more flies so we just bagged the trig and cracked on, stopping for lunch not long afterwards. Shit me, it was hot.
We’d been told that once we’d gotten to the tower the worst of it would be over and the elevation profile did indeed show a downwards trend, albeit with a few definite inclines. Dear reader, do not be fooled. It is fucking hard work. Obviously the heat didn’t help. Did I already mention how hot it was? Every hill had to be dragged out of my unwilling legs. There was no shade at all. I wasn’t sure our water was going to last and there was nowhere to refill. Well this was shit!
Eventually shade did occur and we stood in it for a while and tried not to die. Then we had to walk up some more hills in the blazing sunshine. Like, the last hill wouldn’t give up. It just kept on going. We thought we’d done it but then more hill appeared so we climbed that too and as we gasped our way over the crest, behold, more hill. We should have been on the fucking moon by now. It was awful.
The hill did finish and we were now on a massive incline into Bodfari. You know the kind which forces your toes into the front of your shoe and there’s nothing you can do about it? Yeah. That. I couldn’t even tell you what was worse right now, up or down. I couldn’t really think, my braincells had boiled inside of my skull.
Station House Caravan Park is mercifully close to the trail and we’d booked to stay there. Luzie had left before us and had already been here for a couple of hours. We pitched up and headed to the pub for a couple of cold pints to try and rehydrate our internal organs. I don’t think this would have been considered so difficult if it weren’t for the heat though, and it really was some stunning walking today. I wish I could have enjoyed it more before I took liquid form.
Llandegla, Sir Ddinbych (Denbighshire) to Bodfari, Sir Ddinbych (Denbighshire), Wales
Stayed at: Station House Caravan Park, Bodfari
Useful shit to know…
- There is absolutely fuck all on the trail today, you’ll need to carry all of your water with you.
- There’s no shop in Bodfari but there is a pub which does food. It’s probably advisable to book.
- Christine at Llyn Rhys Campsite suggested that if you didn’t want to do an 18 mile day today you could drop down at the first car park and head into Ruthin for accommodation, then get a taxi back up the next day. I’ve not researched this though.
- Station House looks, at first glance, like it only takes caravans but it’s worth dropping Jan an email to see if they can accommodate you in a tent if you’re hiking. She found space for us and Luzie.