The last day of a trek is always an interesting one full of mixed emotions. We were excited to finish the last leg of a challenge, sad that this journey that we’ve been planning for so long and thoroughly enjoying was coming to an end, and a bit anxious that it is the only day of the trek in which we have an actual timetable (in that we have to catch a train out of town after we finish.)
To make the most of the day, we had an early breakfast at 7:30 AM, typical fare, and were off by 8:15 AM.
Once we got back on the path (we were a mere 0.1 miles off path), we met some friendly cows right on the ODP path.
And then we had quite a bit of walking on small paved lanes.
As the trip organizer, I was the one most conscious of the train timetable (we had to catch a train to Manchester at 1). So I tried to set a solid pace, especially when we were on these lanes with not as much scenery to look at, and Lara and Jonah trailed a little behind.
We still saw our share of sheep; it was our opportunity to bid them farewell!
And we saw a few horses too, including this one peeking out at me through the trees.
Throughout the morning, we passed by sections in which we could make out the Irish Sea, often with quite a few wind turbines in it.
We eventually made our way over the largest road (5 lanes) we have seen since the trip began. As we approached it and then through to our destination, we became keenly aware of how noisy cars are, especially on a major thoroughfare. It is a constant droning noise of wheels on road - a bit jarring after a couple of weeks without it.
Then more fields, more sheep, more country roads, and even a couple of llamas! The llamas actually seemed fitting for Wales as the language has so many words that start with LL!
We also had some high grass and wheat fields we had to walk through. We were grateful that it had not recently rained because if it had, our legs would be drenched from rubbing against the tall grass/wheat.
And I always seem to talk too soon! I had read that there were confusing parts today in which it would be hard to follow signs for the ODP. Right after commenting to Lara that the signs were pretty easy to follow by just looking at the direction the arrows were pointing, we came to the section that the writer must have been describing! I knew the general direction we were to be heading, but it was vast with no markings, so we just headed North and hoped for the best. Fortunately we eventually found a sign and a stile to cross.
I also said at least 4 times that we were climbing our last hill of the trek. 3 of those times I was obviously wrong! Just as it seemed that we were cresting the last climb, the path would turn to avoid roads and take us over another hill. We were all in good spirits though, knowing that we were almost there, so we didn’t mind too much these last few climbs.
As if all of the animals were bidding us adieu, we had one more chance to see some cows in one of the very last fields of our trek. And right on the path were a mother and baby calf!
We knew we were getting very close as the town of Prestatyn and the Irish Sea came in full view.
And then we turned a corner and had yet another climb! This one would actually be our last one of the trip.
Jonah was thrilled to see these last steps as we approached the town proper.
And once we made it into the town, it was easy to follow the path since every post had these circular acorn signs.
And there were even some acorn signs in the sidewalk!
Finally, at 12:20 we made it to the water! We were expecting some fanfare, but all we found was this sign with the wrong total distance on it. Interesting, the other end had the wrong distance too, but a different total! There actually is another metal statue of an O, but it didn’t have anything about the ODP on it so we weren’t sure at the time whether it was related to the hike.
And then we went to the water’s edge and took the ceremonial photo of the front of our shoes in the water. Had we been at the water’s edge in Chepstow we would have done the same, but since we were only on a cliff overlooking the water, we couldn’t.
Because we only had 40 minutes before our train, we had a quick celebration and another photo at the water’s edge.
We then went into the building at the end (Nova building) and signed the registry as having completed the ODP. Lara was dehydrated and needed some sugar, so we went to a store to get her some. While there, Jonah and I got some dairy-free ice cream!
We made it to the train station with 10 minutes to spare. It was only a 90 minute ride to Manchester (including a quick train change in Chester). Our lodging for the night, Premier Inn at Manchester Piccadilly, was just a short walk from the train station. Our running joke is that we are staying at the premiere hotel in the UK (hence the #1 sign we are holding up.)
They clearly thought that Jonah was a bit younger than he actually is!
Yet another c2c4c tradition is the post hike shave. I don’t shave for the entirety of the trek - go all grizzly - and then finally shave after our last day’s hike.
We were hungry so went to dinner at 5:15 PM. Jonah just wanted to chill in the room so picked up a vegan patty at Subway and stayed back. Lara and I found a fun pub/restaurant with several vegan options.
We ordered the deep fried cauliflower burger - not the most healthful option, but after almost 200 miles of hiking we weren’t worried about eating healthfully!
After dinner we relaxed in the room. I took the opportunity to catch up on my blog from Day 13. By 9 PM we were ready to sleep since we need to get up early for our flight home.
Distance: 11.81 miles
Time: 4 hours 01 minutes
Average Speed: 2.7 mph;
Total Ascent: 2,079 feet
Total Descent: 2,355 feet