Thursday 5 June 2014. After 12 hours of continuous rain yesterday, it was a relief to see the sun again today. I set off on the 20 mile drive to Kington with the intention of doing an 8.5 mile circular route but I got there in time to catch the 10:10 bus and changed my mind to do a linear walk instead. Getting on the bus, I asked the driver if I could use my bus pass? His reply was not really, but he took pity on a poor pensioner and let me ride for free. I guess the fact that I started my journey in England and got off in Wales had something to do with it.
The first 4 miles of the walk were taken up with getting to Offas Dyke and I must say that my first impressions of this National Trail were poor as the path was nothing more than a muddy slippery sheep track alongside a wire fence. I stopped for lunch on a river bridge at Lower Hopton near the Wales/England border and from here the trail improved considerably. Perhaps leaving Wales gave me a boost. I could see Herrock Hill looming large in front of me and whilst I didn’t go straight up the front, my contouring path took me across the front and almost to the summit via a side path. It was steep as can be seen from the route profile between miles 6 & 8. The climb was well worth it as, when I got to the top, I was rewarded by a spectacular panoramic view of the surrounding countryside. I’m not familiar with all of the hills but could recognise the Black Mountains above Hay-on-Wye some 15 miles away.
The remainder of the route was downhill to Kington where I stopped for a welcome pot of tea and cake. The 9.8 mile route was arduous in places and unsurprisingly included 1,900ft of ascent.