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Welshpool to Four Crosses/Domgay

Thursday, August 02, 2012

These blog entries detail the adventures, perils, and inclement weather that befell Deborah, our Director of Marketing here at Pike’s Waterfront Lodge, and her husband Martin along Offa’s Dyke, a 182-mile long trek along the border of England and Wales. For the full introduction and to start at the beginning to read the stories in order, see the June 28th, 2010 blog entry.

Welshpool to Four Crosses/Domgay

Dear readers,

We set off with a heavy heart, knowing we would not see Angela and David along with the comfort of their wolfhounds. However, Julie, who was a very helpful front desk manager at the Royal Oak, learned of our problem and consulted with the bartender. He produced a loaner brace of morning stars that he felt I could use with a bit of practice. That evening after dinner, Martin and I made use of the bricked-in area next to the hotel. I passed muster.

The first part of the walk in a driving rain followed by a hailstorm was uneventful. The first intimations of trouble came when we met a southbound party mending their chain mail by the side of the trail. They quickly relayed news of unusual trouble. Scottish border wolves have been moving south. Since farmers had been successfully defending their flocks, the wolves had taken to foraging among Offa's Dyke travelers.  They had heard of this new danger and thus had worn chain mail over their hiking gear. It added to the weight, but they felt surviving the trail was most important.

We were quite concerned since we would be walking in a relatively exposed section of the trail, on the embankment to contain the flood from the Severn. When in a difficult spot, we felt that it was always important to eat so we found a lovely tree stump and set up our simple lunch of cheese, fresh bread, tea and ginger cookies and green apples.  It was now sunny and warm enough to require only three light layers of wool. Martin and I were talking quietly of strategies should a wolf pack attack occur. I was nervous given my limited morningstar experience and wished that I had not turned in the crossbow.

As I turned, scanning for trouble, I saw the wolves, creeping under the hedge, slinking in a very unusual pattern. Martin and I were stymied for a moment since we didn't have our missile weapons. But we realized since they were creeping under the fence, they were at a disadvantage we could exploit. Brisk work with the morningstars sent the survivors howling off to the river. We finished lunch and continued on with the hike.

When we reached Four Crosses without further incident, we heaved a sigh of relief and then hiked to our B and B for the night, a five star historic hall in the hamlet of Domgay.  Fortunately, it was easy to find and our host, Mark, was waiting for us. He escorted us to our luxurious lodging on the second floor. It not only featured a jacuzzi bath but also a heated floor, delicious cookies, and tea. We immediately availed ourselves of these luxuries since it had been a trying day despite our success with the wolves. We also washed our clothes and laid them on the bathroom floor to dry.  That night, over a delectable dinner of meat pie and salad finished with sticky toffee pudding, we discussed the next day's perils with Mark since we needed his insight. (Above, a beautiful bed and breakfast complete with training grounds, stables, and barracks around back.)

Tomorrow - on to Castle Mill at Chirk Castle.

Deborah Hansen