From First To Last, The Peak Is Never Passed

13 July 2012

So the first real trip notes for a couple of days.

I’m sitting in the Oxford Arms in Kington, Herefordshire waiting on dinner with a pint and a half next to me. It’s been that long of a day.

As a side note, I’ve been learning tons of pronounciations. One that surprised me is that Hereford and Herefordshire pronounce the second “e,” meaning it sounds something like “Harryford.” I’ve just been saying “Hairford.”

Speaking of learning, I just learned that the middle cask tap in the left-hand set of taps is delicious. I might even learn its name.

I apparently am obviously beat, because the barman said: “Came over the hills, did you? Need a pint, don’t you?” To which I just pointed at a cask ale tap at random. His name, by the way, is Fred. Debating about taking a run at the lovely Zoe who is setting silverware in front of me. Ask me in a few pints…. 🙂

I must confess, I didn’t *really* come over the hills. I only did the first 6.5 miles on the Offa’s Dyke Path to Newchurch. Parts of it were nice, yeah, those were the tarmac parts. There was a lane that the guidebook described as a muddy lane, and guess what, after have rain every day for a month, and twelve straight hours last night, it was a morass. It was the worst of many stretches.

My host for the evening, Susan Robson (I’m not really her daddy), said that if I had continued it would have been fine, but what I did was walk the roads to Kington from Newchurch. It was an extra half-mile or so, and it hurt my feet, but it wasn’t muddy. It was, however, 9 miles of step after step.

15 plus miles from the Old Black Lion to the De Lacy House. Yeah, dinner and a pint or 8 are called for.

By the way, the people who run St. Mary’s at Newchurch are wonderful, awesome, brilliant, and every other superlative adjective I can think of. They offer water, tea, and a few pastries as well as a place to sit to passing walkers for a donation. Yes, Matthew and Sarah, I followed in your footsteps. I’m four entries under yours in the guestbook. I rested here for about 20 minutes, including changing socks and getting my feet out of my shoes for a bit.

Yeah, Newchurch was amazing, however, they are the first ones to apply the term Dyker to me. I’m sorry, but that just makes me think I’m chasing, sometimes successfully, lesbians. “Yeah, Tuesday, I was a total Dyker, and man you shoulda seen the hottie I ended up with.” Hmmm. Alright, face it, you all knew I was going to make the reference sooner or later. How many of you thought I’d wait to be crude after a whole week?

In terms of walks, it was actually fairly boring, though part of that is because I went on the roads. Newchurch is a nice little church. There’s a Roman route camp early in the day. There was some stuff in Gladestry that I missed. Some scenery from the top of a big hill that I avoided. Still, not like many of the other days.

No, today was about one foot in front of the other. I never really got the adrenalin going, never really got a flow. Maybe that is because yesterday was a rest day. Maybe it was because of the initial terrain, which was the best start to a day so far in terms of elevation. Maybe it’s because there were two 200 meter plus climbs, of which I only did one plus another 100 plus. Whatever it was, while on Tuesday I was doing fine once I got to the top of the ridge, I was fighting fatigue from step one.

I had one last mile actually in Kington, and it was probably the slowest mile evah on asphalt. Warp Factor Painful Trudge, Mr. Sulu.

And I have something like 65 miles to the next rest day, so I better get that back.

Tomorrow is slightly shorter, but some of the declines are sharper and if they’re muddy, I’m not enthralled. 13 plus miles from lodging to lodging.

We shall see.

So far I’ve walked almost 50 miles, out of a possible 65 or so on the path. Many of those miles are on random hills that the people that made the trail thought I’d like, given that the last three scheduled walks have not been next to the Dyke, for the simple reason that the Dyke really doesn’t exist except in fragments there. Tomorrow, however, is one of the best portions of the Dyke, so I hope the mud doesn’t drive me back.

At least the Dyke fires the light that gets in my eyes.

2 thoughts on “From First To Last, The Peak Is Never Passed”

  1. The folks in Hereford pronounce it “Harryford”? Wow. My NE Kansas kin (who raised Hereford cattle) always pronounced it something like “Her-furred” or like “heifer” with an extra d on the end.

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