Reflections on walking ODP:
- We walked the ODP; we did not complete it! The largest hiatus occurred between Newcastle and Knighton (day 9), a distance of seven and a half miles according to the guide. We skipped smaller sections between Bwlch Penbarra and Clwyd Gate (days 3/4) and between Llangattock-Lingoed and White Castle (days 13/14). In addition, we strayed from the official path to visit Chirk Castle (day 5), Llanthony Priory (day 12), and Tintern Abbey (day 15). This did not diminish our sense of achievement.
- For the first time, we tackled a longer walk without Ordnance Survey maps. The guidebook seemed to be comprehensive with clear maps drawn to scale. In addition we had GPS and a compass. But the guidebook proved to be of little use once we strayed from ODP. We discovered that my compass, although of sentimental value, was no longer up to the job, and that GPS doesn’t function under a canopy of trees! In future, despite the cost and the bulk, we will take Ordnance Survey maps.
- Shops and pubs seem to be struggling to make a living on the English/Welsh border.
- We ate very well! Almost without exception, people took a great pride in what they put before us. This seems to be a relatively new phenomenon in Britain, and is certainly a major attitudinal change over the last 25-30 years.
Will we do it again? Will we try the return journey from Sedbury Cliffs to Prestatyn? We’re not sure; but we certainly came away with a host of vivid memories, and a list of places that we intend to re-visit.