Offa’s Dyke Path, Day3 Clywyd Gate to Llangollen

Day 3 of 14 complete and what a beauty – I got a bit of everything today. Quiet lane waking, some hard work up and over livestock fields, quiet and dark forest paths, and even a lengthy and amazing stone pathed bog (my favorite!)

I topped out at 26 kilometers today in just over 8 hours and honestly I felt every step. Maybe a good time for a foot update…

4 months ago in a soccer / futbol match I tore 2 ligaments in my right foot. Not ruptured but a grade 3 tear aka barely hanging on. You cannot fix ligaments except with surgery and they don’t do that until they are fully torn (ruptured). The result was months of physiotherapy to make my foot and ankle and calf and hamstring stronger so they compensate for these now wimpy ligaments.

Well as I walk farther and harder (up and down steep sections of which are around every corner or stile) my muscles get tired which then let’s those ligaments misbehave. Long story long, we are only day 3 and every step feels like fire in my heel and a punch in the arch. Once I get a good clip on it feels much better (not gone) but after any break or pause it’s a bit of torture for a while and I am pretty super sore at night. Combine that with the rocky surface or cow churned up field and holy-heck-ouch. I have pain killers (not sure they work) and topical pain killer cream (I think helps a bit) and stretches but it’s feeling pretty ick.

I may need to build in a rest day and that makes this long distance hiker’s heart break – i will think about it over the next few days and pick it strategically if I do. I don’t want to mess up the Cotswold Way Walk that I do just after Offa’s with my sister Shar and our besties Rosa and Cheryl. I do have a rest day between so that’s good this and that – so that’s good!

Back to the good stuff …

I put up a compilation video on @runningforthegate Instagram off some of the different trail bits to give you an idea of that too.

What I didn’t get to do today was the scree crossing – this terrified of heights gal just couldn’t make it happen. I thought it was pretty short like 100-200meters and was fully prepared to make it /happen. But, oh no my friends it is over 2 MILES or 3.2 KILOMETERS long and there is NO exit and is largely just shoulder width with nothing on the edge. You have to strategically think about how you pass people. That is just too much for me. Ugh thinking about it makes me all tummy floppy. The tipping point was honestly 3 different walkers I passed who had just come from that section encouraging me (without prompting) to take the alternative lane route – that is was awful. Lane it is!

To give you an idea of what this scree crossing is all about … here is a photo of the scree path from the nice, flat, quiet and quaint lane I was walking (it runs parallel). See that line across the mid point of the scree slide? That is the path! The second picture is the same shot just super zoomed in to show you the hikers up there that you cannot even see in my first photo it’s so high and scary and awful and no thanks!

My day near wrapped up with a break on a bench (that they call seat around these parts) admiring the ruins of the Dinas Bras Castle – or as one old gent put it when he asked where I was headed as I walked past his farm ‘that there is a real castle not like one of those pretty Edwardian things England offers’. While having my break, I ate my classic apple and a chocolate as another old guy and I exchanged stories of our long distance walks, his favorite was West Highland Way. Me too!

From there it was a 40 min lane stroll down into Llangollen where I am staying at the Squirrels B&B which is amazing! My room is so great and perfect and I enjoyed a warm tea, some cookies and a little nap with my feet up the wall as soon as I strolled in.

After that, a short stroll to check out this cute little town – and grab a pint and dinner, of course. What a cute little town!

Tomorrow is another 26km but looks pretty amazing .. and will be as I am going to wake up and my foot will be all fixed! 😉

Brandé

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