Extra points if you can pronounce the name of the town in which we are lodging tonight. I’ve heard it pronounced a few times and I still can’t say it!
I woke up a bit early to plan out the day’s hike and then, at 8 AM, walked over to Lara and Jonah’s B & B for the night. I was surprised to find Lara awake already and not surprised to see Jonah still asleep.
After getting their gear packed, we went down for a wonderful breakfast - that’s what comes with staying at the B & B of a caterer!
Not only porridgeand granola, but also avocado toast, mushrooms and fresh cut tomatoes.
Just after we ate, it started to rain. Nothing too dramatic, but it did make us not in so much of a rush to leave. By the time we finished packing and said goodbye to our host, Pam, this sun was out again. The sun brings life and energy to everything and everyone!
Today was probably our easiest day of the trek. We had our fair share of fields to cross but they were pretty well-maintained.
We did pass this bull with his lady, but he didn’t bother us.
And we had some country lane walking too, but on a beautiful day, we are happy to walk on anything!
Then we hit our first ascent of the day, up through a wooded area on a well-kept trail -still smiling!
I took a quick break when we reached the top to enjoy the views.
And then it was onwards through a mature forest that provided nice shade - I believe this is my first mention so far of looking for shade cover! This forest is known as Candy Woods - Jonah definitely searched but didn’t find any candy!
We reached this spot, which was originally built in 1804 as the Oswestry Racecourse Grandstand. As you can see, there is not much racing here anymore!
We had been told that it was supposed to rain at 10 AM, but had hoped that it had come early when it rained just after breakfast. Unfortunately not! We got hit with some heavy rain about an hour into our hike, so we decided to put on raincoats and bag covers. Ironically, by the time we had made the switch, the rain stopped and stayed away for the rest of the day!
Twice today we came across ODP marked gates with no fence - we assumed that these were fenced plots at some point!
And we did see our daily quota of sheep. I especially liked the view of this group on the horizon.
And then more hills to climb! We can tell, not only by his look but also by what he tells us, that Jonah is just powering through at this point - #TSBT!
One of his favorite parts of these trips is the family time, especially being able to be goofy with his sister. He’s still goofy with mom and dad, but it’s not the same for him. With Olivia leaving early, Jonah loses out on the companionship too. So while Lara and I are enjoying each moment, at this point he’s counting down the days and miles until he crosses the finish line. We generally try to stay away from technology on these trips, but podcasts have really helped him get through some of the tough times. When he wants to be on his own and push through, he tends to walk ahead and listen to sports podcasts that he downloads the night before. The difficulty he is now facing with his sister’s departure is a reminder that in a group dynamic each member is critical to the whole. And the whole is just as strong as each individual part. When you take one part away, it can be hard for that not to affect what remains.
We started a descent down a well marked path along the dyke.
And in the distance we could easily see our lunch break spot in the distance, Chirk Castle.
As we hiked down, we passed a few beautiful and friendly ponies.
Chirk Castle is actually up at the top of a hill. The ODP actually skirts around the castle instead of climbing up to it. Since it was a beautiful day and would be one of our shortest hikes of the trip, we took an alternate path that climbs up to the castle.
After eating the hummus sandwiches that we had purchased from Pam before leaving this morning, we explored the castle and the grounds. We were grateful to be able to leave our packs in a locked room near the ticket desk so that we could walk around unencumbered.
Completed in 1310, Chirk Castle, with it’s strategic and very visible ridge-top site, was Edward I’s last statement of power over the Welsh.
In 1595, the castle was bought by Sir Thomas Myddelton for £5000. His descendants have lived in it ever since. Today there is still one relative who occasionally stays in one tower of the castle, but the remainder has been taken over by the National Trust.
The formidable defensive walls and tower remain as they originally were built, as does the dungeon. We sent Jonah to the dungeon, but eventually let him out!
A lot of the inside has changed dramatically over the centuries. There is 17th-century gallery, an 18th-century saloon, and a 20th-century library. We spent an hour and a half exploring the rooms and the grounds.
And then we made got our packs and were back to hiking. In under a half-mile we met back up with the ODP. With the sun shining and the day’s hike nearing its end, it was time to break out the ukulele to bring us home!
As I continued to play, Jonah and Lara dropped back so that Lara could continue telling Jonah a story.
We walked for a mile or two on a peaceful country lane.
And then at about 3:30, we reached our destination for the night: Glen Coed B & B!
I feel the most refreshed I have felt at the end of day’s hike since the trip began. The sun, long break at the castle, and short distance has that effect! After showering and resting for a bit, we walked 1/2 mile into town for dinner at the Aqueduct Inn and Pub.
The patio presented nice views of our next day’s hike.
Two vegan options on the menu; we had both!
After dinner, we walked back to our lodging to relax and get ready for bed. At this point fatigue started to set in. Jonah had his own room for the night - pretty sure he stayed up late to watch the NBA draft. Lara and I went to bed early.
Distance: 11.11 miles (not including all of the walking we did at Chirk Castle or the mile walk to/from dinner)
Time: 4 hours 00 minutes
Average Speed: 2.8 mph;
Total Ascent: 1,929 feet
Total Descent: 2,217 feet