Offa’s Dyke Path – the Deets

Just 25 sleeps until I depart for Wales and kick off my next adventure, the Offa’s Dyke Path. So excited! Thought it would be a good time to share a few details about the Path and my hike.

What is this Offa’s Dyke Path?

  • 177 mile / 285 kilometer national walking trail in mostly Wales – considered strenuous and undulates (my favourite hiking word) continuously.
  • The path runs the length of the English and Welsh border, crossing over the border many times (I walked the English and Scottish border – Hadrian’s Wall – in 2008. Once I complete this path I will have walked the entire land border of England! Cool)
  • Lonely Planet ranks this Path as one of the world’s greatest walks. (I will decide that for myself but it does bode well for my adventure)
  • The Offa Dyke is the longest and most ancient monument in Britain.
  • The Saxon Monarch, aka King Offa, is due credit for building the Dyke as a natural border rampart between Wales and England.
  • The Offa’s Dyke Path runs beside or on top of the rampart and was declared an official Path in 1971.
  • There are many intact or ruins of castles and abbeys along the route.
  • Offa’s Dyke Association advises the Path passes through one Natioanl Park, three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and at least two Environmentally Sensitive Areas.

What is my hiking plan for this Path?

  • Walking North (Prestatyn on the coast, literally on the beach) to South (Chepstow) – this way I am closer to the start of Cotswold Way the hike in England I am doing a couple days after I finish this one.
  • Average walking distance a day is 19km – longest day is 26.5km and shortest is 13km. Hoping that shortest day gives me opportunity to laundry of my stinky, sweaty hiking gear – that will depend on what town I staying in that night of course.
  • A few sections are giving me some chest pain and I have not even started … specifically wide open, thin trails on the side of steep scree (aka hill of broken rock and gravel). The fear of heights is strong in this one but I am sure if I could to Pembrokeshire Coastal Path on the edge of 70 foot cliffs in gale force winds for 16days I can do some short scary bursts on this Path. Insert hopeful face here.
  • Except for a few nights, I walk from accommodation to the next accommodation and most are just a few km off the actual Path. This adds to the length of my walk each day but it’s pretty exciting to just walk ‘home’. On the days I don’t walk ‘home’ I just call the place I am staying for transport – hopefully from a pub 😉
  • The Path can be tackled in 5 days if running (an annual running competition proves this) but walking it is usually tackled in 12 – 14 or more days. I am going for 14 days short enough to keep some pep in my step but long enough that I am not racing to the finish line each day to arrive before the pub stops serving food. A long hoof followed by only a cold granola bar and an apple at night is a sad end to a day, lived experience!
  • I am doing the Path on my own … sorta! Eeek this is the really exciting part. After Offa’s Dyke Path, I am meeting my long distance hiking crew Shar (sister) and Cheryl and Rosa (our besties) in England to walk the Cotswold Way – more on that later. Cheryl, trail name Impossible Turtle, is so excited to get her boots on a path, and see castles, she is joining me early and is going to do the last 6 days of Offa’s Dyke Path with me! Doctor Boots (me) and Impossible Turtle getting it done.
  • This amazing company called Anglessey and Wales Walking Holidays have done ALL the work for this one y’all! They have booked all of my accommodations (including making a big change when we added Cheryl – yahoo!) and arranged my transports and luggage service and everything. Wow!

My plan is to do a short good morning video on the Running for the Gate Instagram account from the Path each morning before I start out, and then wrap the day up with a blog post and some photos at night. So loads of details coming your way about this amazing Path! Stay tuned.


Finally, A New Adventure

Well after way, way, way too long since my last adventure …

I am excited to announce a new adventure is finally in the works!

What adventure do I have up my sleeve you ask? Oh sit down, grab that coffee or wine or pint or the hand of someone you love cause this is about to get exciting. Well, exciting for me at least, the one heading out on an adventure. Not sure how exciting this will be for you exactly but I will do my level best to make it at least entertaining.

Crazy. Fun. Here we go!

Offa’s Dyke Path, Wales

In 2008, I walked the Hadrian’s Wall Path which runs the length of the border of England and Scotland. So really it only makes sense that I would also walk England’s other border, the one with Wales. I cannot have borders getting all jelly if they are not included. They are quite dramatic like that …

Intro the Offa’s Dyke Path! The Path literally and mostly follows the Dyke that borders the two countries and was built by, you guessed it, a guy .. ok a King .. named Offa in the eighth century as a border (well there is a little debate on the purpose but it feels sorta border-ish so I am going with that). It is said to be the longest ancient monument in Britain and was opened as an official national trail in 1971. You had me at official national trail. Let’s go!

The official Offa’s Dyke Path trail runs the length of the dyke and walkers toggle between England and Wales a few times but mostly walk in Wales. The length? Just a short little jaunt of 283 kilometers (176 miles) marked by the classic acorn way finding signs of the UK national paths. I have read a few books and many are saying the elevation gain and loss combined is the same as claiming to the top of Mount Everest but the tail itself is clearly marked and the views are amazing … when it’s not raining. That is a little daunting and amazing.

I am walking this bad boy this summer, June 25 to July 9, and I cannot wait! The accommodations I will hike to each day all the way along the path have been booked and I have already started to explore torrential and constant Welsh rain strategies. I am also researching local folklore, legends and ghost stories – more on that later.

Want to know the icing on this trails’ cake? My friend Cheryl is joining me for the last week on the trail. What? No jokes! So excited.

After I give the Offa’s Dyke Path (or the OPD to us cool long distance hikers like me and Cheryl lol) a run for its money, we are off to …

Cotswold Way, England

The Cotswolds is the most picturesque region in England they say. You know that image of England with its rolling, beautiful green hills and crisp blue skies and there are a few air balloons dotted in the sky during the most beautiful sunrise that ever happened, ever. That is the Cotswolds! I am that little hiker off in the distance with the bright purple pack. Heyo!

The Cotsowld Way, a wee skip and a jump of 164 kilometers (102 miles), is another national trail in the UK and has been on the must do list for about a decade. Shar, my sister, and I started talking about this one when we did the Great Glen Way in Scotland in 2013. The intention to get this one under my boots was ‘thwarted’ first by the Camino de Santiago (wow), then the Arran Coastal Way (amazing) and finally the COVID-19 pandemic (not cool). While we might be doing the Way a few years later than planned, the wait almost makes it more exciting.

For this one, the band-o-four that conquered the Arran Way in Scotland in 2018 are making a comeback. Shar, and our closest friends Cheryl and Rosa are hitting the hills – the band is back together again folks and I cannot wait. We start walking on July 11th and wrap up July 20th. A couple nights in Bath, then a few nights in London (the queen has asked if I could swing by for a wee spot o tea and I would hate to let her down), and we head our happy selves home.

But before I go I need to recover …

Just the day before I was to start my fail-proof 20week training plan – I heard a pop, felt a hot but yet cold rip in my foot during a soccer match and I am now working through a 9-12 week recovery before I can even train. No damn way! Are you kidding me? Can the MRI be wrong?

I am reminding myself as I sit on a bike in a gym training instead of in my boots on a trail, that it could be worse. It could have been a full rupture and I could be heading to surgery. As it is, its just a couple of tears. Just. Ugh! I have a substantial longitudinal tear in my Peroneous Brevis Tendon, the one that runs from the pinkie toe to the heel (that little piggy is not running home anytime soon) and another Grade 2 (Moderate) tear of the medial Plantar Fascia. It hurts, I am frustrated, I could cry, I have cried, I could smash things, I might still, and I will overcome!

I will recover from this little pesky foot injury, train like a rock star in half the time I usually prefer and then voila .. 5 weeks doing what I love most and with my most favourite trail peeps. Stay tuned for how this one shapes up before we go and as we ramble!