It wasn't long before we realised that it wasn't really 'a walk' after all.
A couple of months before taking on the trail Mike asked me if I wanted to join him on the Offas Dyke Path. He described it as 'a walk' taking 12-days. After agreeing to 'the walk' we set about planning a departure date. We took the decision to camp along the way and was carrying most of the things we needed in backpacks including a jetboil and dehydrated food, like a boys-own trip! We left Sedbury Cliffs with fresh enthusiasm and completely relaxed. Our packs felt heavy - about 15kg each - but, we ploughed on anyway blindly following the signs. It wasn't long before we realised that it wasn't really 'a walk' after all; it was an almighty slog not helped by the changing weather.
What started out as a cool but dry morning deteriorated and soon enough we were soaked through to the skin. The realisation hit that this was going to be more of a challenge then we ever imagined. We ploughed on through the pain, discomfort and seemingly never-ending terrain. Some fantastic sights, views and locations but those first days could only be described as 'brutal', especially for two amateurs. Day 4 was a pleasant day; the journey from Hay-On-Wye to Kington. It was on this day where the enjoyment was really felt and we were blessed with some beautiful weather. And, it wasn't until Day 7 where we really felt a change in our bodies; it took this long to finally settle into the walking routine - aches and pains diminished, we bearly noticed our pack weight and we had finally got used to living out of a bag and under canvas. My favourite day was Day 11 - Llandegla to Bodfari, Mike's was Day 10 - Chirk Mill to Llandegla. We both enjoyed Day 4 and agreed that Day 6 was by far the hardest - over the Shropshire Hills. Some of the ascents were so steep that any more incline would mean it was a scramble, the going was slow meaning we didn't get to our overnight camp spot until after nightfall completing the last few miles under head torch. A truly harrowing experience.
After 12 days and just under 500,000 steps (cheap iPhone app) we rolled into Prestatyn, ecstatic to be there and not actually quite believing we had made it 177 miles along the Offa's Dyke Path. A walk it was not. An almightly trek against the beautiful, yet difficult landscape whilst being battered and weathered by the elements, it was. We are both so happy we completed it and there will be a special place in our hearts for this journey. And, What a journey is was. What a path!
Article courtesy of National Trail