The code yellow-rain had been unleashed in the evening. Luckily we were in our hotel room, safe, warm and dry. On the sixth day there was some more rain expected, but it would mainly be drizzle instead of showers. It’s obviously not as bad, though you do get equally as wet and it’s more difficult to find a dry spot for a short break or to eat your lunch. We ate while mainly standing, trying to get a bit of cover under a tree. This sixth stage is a rather flat, but unfortunately also a rather monotonous one.
Llanymynech – Pool Quay (14,5 km)
This sixth day of walking begins in the same way as it ends, walking next to a canal. The canal of Montgomery is the same one as the one that we already saw on day 4, between Llangollen and Chirk. It is not a more bewildered variaty, with lots of plants and duckweed. Because of that it may not be as easy on the eye for the people looking for a beautiful day on one of the pleasure boats, but the hiker with a love for the Romantic will find it pretty enough. Especially when you get a couple of swans thrown into the bargain.
After leaving the canal the path goes into the meadows. The clouds, along with a bit of fog, give the landscape a certain charm, but it cannot hide the fact that you follow the same, somewhat boring path for 8 km. There are a few highlights. You follow the dyke for quite a bit, you follow the river Severn for the first time and in the distance you can spot an impressive quarry. It didn’t help that I wasn’t feeling to well and, trailing behind my girlfriend, had to look at her bright blue rain cover the entire time.
Pool Quay – Welshpool (4 km)
If that wasn’t ‘bad’ enough, we had to face our biggest challenge of the day in the last bit. We had already discovered that cows can be very assertive creatures, but just before Pool Quay, a small village, we were welcomed by a bunch of cows, standing in line, positioned on top of the Dyke and staring at us like the Children of the corn. When passing the herd, one of them came running at us. One would think it would be a mother protecting her calf, but it was the calf itself that seemed to want to attack us. We tried to ignore the intimidation and tried to leave the field as soon as possible. Ever since that experience cows have the same effect on me as trucks on a high way. The faster I get passed them, the better.
Once we left the field and walked through Pool Quay, things were looking up. The weather was a bit better and we rejoined the Montgomery Canal. The official path ends in Buttington, but we decided to keep on following it to Welshpool, a small but cosy town. Because of the rain we didn’t have a lot of time or opportunity for a break. In fact, we had walked the 18,5 km in more or less one go. We (well, mainly I) stumbled into Welshpool, but before having a shower and a short rest, we visited Powis Castle (see below)
The Smithfield Bell offers all sorts of things, ranging from pizza to vol-au-vent. It wasn’t our first choice, but other options were fully booked and the owner of our B&B had told us about this one.
The Stone House is a recent (well, in 2015) renovated B&B, with a friendly owner, a good breakfast and a more than decent packed lunch. It is located in Welshpool, about three kilometres of the path, but it is a good place to stay while walking Offa’s Dyke.
- The canal was officialy closed in 1936. Restoration has begon in 1987.
- Cows are actually rather dangerous animals. In the United Kingdom there are a couple of casualties each year and more accidents where the person does survive the attack.
- Powis Castle is without any doubt my favourite castle in Wales. It was originally built in the 13th century and its glor days were in the 19th century, when it was owned by Edward, son of Clive of India, he himself a governor of Madras. You can find wonderful rooms, art, artefacts and clothes and weaponry from around the world, along with a beautiful garden.