My super lightweight Merrell boots, that fitted like a glove, never gave a moment’s trouble and I had considered one of my best outdoor gear purchases, couldn’t take the strain of the Glyndwr’s Way. This less than a year after buying them. I’ll see what Cotswolds have to say about it on my return – clear ‘fitness for purpose’ issue in my mind but I won’t hold my breath.
I had to have my old Meindl boots, which had served me so well on the Coast to Coast last year, specially couriered over to the Lake Vyrnwy Hotel. Thanks Pam.
It was annoying because I’d done all my training walks in the Merrells and they were, I thought, just nicely broken in. I now had to walk fifteen miles (and eleven on Saturday) in quite tough boots that I hadn’t worn in almost a year. I had priced up a pair of heel blisters as 4/6 favourite.
No real birds of interest today – saw another cuckoo but remarkably quite other than that.
The first couple of miles were an easy mix of road and field and then a nice forest track, including a set of 169 robustly constructed, wooden steps. These were a great way to quickly gain the required height. A few field, gate, stile combos, led to my first target of the day.
At Pont Llogel there was, apparently, a shop on the route! And would you Adam and Eve it, it was open as well. A real, old fashioned Post Office shop run by the nicest old lady you could wish to meet. I got a coffee, a flapjack and a pack of Eccles cakes as I hadn’t got a packed lunch but I also got a nice warm feeling inside. That might have been the coffee though.
Not only did Pont Llogel have virtually the only shop on the route but, sweet Jesus, public conveniences! There had been a couple of occasions during the week when I thought I may have to do what bears do but I had got through on each occasion… A hundred miles in, not only the first shop but also the first loos. I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity. I also put a Compeed blister plaster on my right foot where I could feel a ‘hot-spot’ forming.
It was then back to the familiar field, stile, field scenario and at Llwynhir I had to avoid a major tree felling operation right next to the route. Why do they have to do this in nesting season? Shortly afterwards I had to traverse the meadow below, which was teeming with wildlife.
An hour or so later of nice moorland terrain led to Dolanog. There was also ANOTHER public loo open but I couldn’t take them up on their kind offer. I did however adjust my boot laces again, trying in vain to get comfy with them. I also had a couple of Eccles cakes and a can of full sugar coke.
From Dolanog you basically follow the River Vyrnwy for an hour or so and then it’s fields which bring you to Pont Robert. Both my guidebooks describe the Royal Oak pub as being open all day. I’d already heard from a couple of landladies on the route however that the lady running it had had to take another job as well, so it was no surprise to find it closed.
It was only three miles from Meifod as well so I could have had a guilt free pint (or two) and not had far to go. Such is the way of the modern world sadly.
The final three miles was mostly road and unspectacular but my feet were still blister free and I was led to believe the King’s Head would be open and I hadn’t been misinformed. The pub was open but the customer service school had obviously been closed when the couple running it were booked in. Having said that, at least the Purple Moose ‘Pint of two Halves’ (surely one for Private Eye) was in good condition.
I left the pub with a hearty ‘thanks a lot’ sadly absent. I made my way to the post office to see if I could get a couple of sandwiches for my tea and there experienced customer service at it’s best. There is virtually no mobile signal in Meifod and I was unable to ring the B&B to come and pick me up, as arranged. The nice man rang for me and ten minutes later I was running a bath to soothe my aching limbs.
Only eleven miles to Welshpool tomorrow but I need to keep the pace up to get back to Shrewsbury handy. We are giving a choir concert tomorrow evening… in Welshpool. It’s a good job I love Powys in the spring time.
Congratulations to Mr Howard Key, of Belle Vue, Shrewsbury, who correctly identified the aged tractor from earlier in the week as a David Brown Selectamatic 880. A pint of Twisted Spire to Howard and my deepest sympathy to his partner Sheila.