By 1:30 there was only one hill left between me and Welshpool, but it was the biggest ascent of the day and through head high bracken. After struggling uphill through the stuff for 15 minutes I emerged on the 2nd tee, par 5, 495 yards. This was Welshpool golf course and I immediately recognised it. I had been here many years previously with Jon, when he had come for a round with his uncle and I had offered to be caddy. It had been pouring down and they both spent the whole round complaining that "we usually play much better than this", even though I had my doubts. I remember thinking what an amazing golf course it was, perched on top of a hill, and that if I was a golfer (which I am not) I would play here all the time. However there is one big drawback, and that is that Welshpool golf course is also a common, which means that when I emerged at the 2nd tee, par 5, 495 yards it was being grazed by sheep. Lots of sheep. The only bits of the course which weren't covered with sheep were the greens, which were surrounded by wire fences which would be very easy to hit with a golf ball. Not ideal. So I left the 2nd tee, climbed through some more bracken, passed the 17th tee, par 3, 155 yards (far too easy), found a flag on the 16th green to keep the flies away and wandered along the fairway (only joking golf fanatics) and eventually reached the top of the hill via a rough track.
The views from here were as good as any I had had on the entire walk. In the near vicinity were the cliffs at Llanymynech and the lumpy hills I've forgotten the name of, while in the distance were the Pumlumon to the south west, Cadair Idris to the west, the Arans, the Arenigs, the Berwyn, the Cheshire sandstone ridge and in the far distance the Pennines. I took all this in over lunch, during which a man in a jeep suddenly appeared, rattled his way up the track and parked right next to me at the top. He got out and stood leaning against the jeep. I then had yet another riveting Glyndwr's Way conversation:
Me: "It's a lovely day isn't it?"
"Are you the groundsman?"
"Yep, that's right"
"Are the sheep a problem?"
"No not really."
"There are lots of them."
"Is this your lunch break then?"
"No not yet."
I really had hoped that this final attempt at a conversation would be a success, but no, it wasn't to be. I left the summit a broken man, unable to instigate a single productive conversation with a stranger I met en route for 9 whole days. Well, that's of course not quite true, but these have ironically been the most memorable ones!
Once I reached Welshpool I was heading for a garden with a plaque in it to mark the end of the walk. Before that though I needed to meet Jen and do a few bits and bobs, so these things now happened:
I got some cash out of the bank.
I bought the latest copy of Four Four Two.
I went to the tourist information.
I went to the Royal Oak for a pint.
We parked the car at a garage for two nights.
We went to the Royal Oak for a pint.
We went to the Spar for some goodies.
I phoned the b&b and found out that they did not do food.
We went to an Indian Restaurant and ordered a takeaway to be delivered to our b&b, 4 miles away.
We went back to the Spar for wine and beer.
At last we were now ready to set off for the walk to the b&b. I just had to keep reminding myself that I hadn't actually finished Glyndwr's Way yet! So, three hours after arriving in Welshpool, I got to the end of the walk.
After a walk along the canal path and the verge of the A490, with a quick stop for another drink, we arrived at our quite surreal 1930s inspired b&b, Edderton Hall. It was a strange evening as we watched our takeaway arrive by taxi along the long drive, ate outside, then locked ourselves IN our bedroom. Luckily we were able to escape down the outside fire escape and try again, this time taking the key into the room with us! Once the food was finished we considered our options for the rest of the evening. I certainly knew what I wanted to do, but however hard I tried I just couldn't interest Jennie in the Cock (the pub in the village, obviously!). So we stayed in.
So that's it, job done once again, but this walk now means that I've completed all three of the Welsh National Trails, which I'm really pleased about. I'll continue the blog with brief details of the final two days on Offa's Dyke with Jen to get back to my car in Knighton, plus my final thoughts on Glyndwr's Way, but to finish this post here is the final wildlife tally for Glyndwr's Way, 2010:
Polecats - 1
Pigs - 1
Frogs - 1
Red kites - 6
Flies - 8 (the same 8 have followed me all the way)
Horses - 162
Buzzards - 245
Cows - 479
Sheep - 6,435,886
-- Posted from my iPhone