The day promised to be bright and clear once again. Oh for the luxury of a rucksack full of clean clothes! After breakfast, we took a taxi back to Dolley Green to rejoin ODP south. The taxi driver continued on to Gladestry with the larger of our rucksacks (the one with the wonderfully laundered clothes); we kept the small bag which now included a Thermos full of hot water and a teaspoon purloined from The Old Radnorshire Arms Hotel. Coffee breaks were now part of our plans even if there was a dearth of refreshments en-route.
We descended through woodland to a pastured valley. We had been lulled into a pleasant complacency, before the long climb up to Herrock Hill and then Rushock Hill, the wooded terrain opening on to moorland. The subsequent gradual descent towards Kington was across pasture where the way-marking was sparse, so the GPS got another airing.
It safely shepherded us to the next feature of human endeavour – another golf course. This one, Kington Golf Course, has the distinction of being the highest in England, but it looks depressingly just like the others.
Replenished, we meandered through the town purchasing water and Sunday paper. Our route took us past St. Mary’s church in which, unfortunately, a christening was taking place. Julia and I fancied a peep inside if only to pay our respects to an effigy of Ellen The Terrible, the good lady apparently earning the epithet through her awful cooking. Ah well; one day we’ll return; Kington certainly warrants a second look.
Descending from Hergest, The Dyke happens upon the pretty hamlet of Gladestry, tucked into a dell. It still boasts a village school, church and public house, which was just as well, as we had booked in to stay at The Royal Oak. The pub was quiet and we were the only people staying for the night. This was fortuitous as the tiny communal shower-room would have struggled to cope with four or more guests. Brian was an interesting host having worked in nuclear engineering. The end of the cold war had reduced the need for his specialised abilities, and his path had brought him to this beautiful but isolated spot. His wife, Sharron, produced a Sunday roast of immense quality; the vegetables were outstanding, she modestly attributed this to the fact that they were all local and fresh. We had walked and eaten well today and we climbed up the stairs from the deserted bar wondering how on earth one can eek out a living running a rural pub or shop in the present economic climate. We were fast asleep by nine-thirty; the Royal Oak could have been buzzing by ten, and we would have been none the wiser.