The First Leg

At the Start Viv strides out

Four persons – Viv Lee, Neil Smith, Geoff Halliwell and John Bullen

Or “The Softies” as we feel we may become known! This is because we are upsetting the “purists” in how we are tackling this trail. Not for us the doing of it all in one trek, nor splitting it into two week long outings. No we are doing it in four three day saunters in which we will tackle a very manageable, just-less-than fifty miles each time. “Pooh, pooh” can be heard all round the club. Not for us either the tradition Chepstow to Prestatyn. No we are going North-South.

“Work dictates” is our excuse - but there are advantages. The plan is to book three nights at a place roughly halfway along each fifty mile stretch so we don’t have to backpack or have our gear moved on each day. We will use taxis to get to our starting points and be picked up each evening. Doubtless more cries of “Shame, shame”!!!

So how did the first leg go?

Section 1 – Saturday May 2nd to Monday May 4th

Prestatyn to Trefonen Total Mileage - 52.3 miles

Day 1 – Prestatyn to Moel Famau CP 16.0 miles

Viv had booked us into the Eygarth Station at Ruthin, an establishment which bowled us over. Sheer class, what a place!! No hesitation whatsoever in recommending Jen and Bert Spencer’s country house b&b for family stays, walks or whatever it may be. The building is a converted old railway station with what was formerly the railway line now blocked off at either end to form a swimming pool! Sadly only Neil was brave enough to avail himself of this facility and he shivered for two days!

Our travel was catered for by Valley Taxis, another absolute gem. Their boss Wally was full of encouragement “Oh you’ll never make it boyo!!!” and then was phoning us up during each day to see how we were going!

We started at Prestyn in beautiful sunshine and as we walked up the main street virtually everyone wished us “good luck” or “good morning”. What a friendly place. Glancing over our shoulders we had breathtaking coastal views before hitting the start of the Clwydian Range. Each hill that we rounded brought more spectacular visual delights. Moel Arthur and Moel Famau are undoubtedly worthy of a full day’s walk in their own right.

Day 2 – Moel Famau CP to Castell Dinas 22.0 miles

Another stunning day, beautiful weather and superb views, Moel Llanfair and Moel Y Plas quickly helping us to work off Jen’s superb breakfast. After Llandegla we had a total change of scenery on entering the forest. We had several miles of this before emerging and following the quite stunning Eglwyseg Crags down towards Llangollen. The town centre was absolutely buzzing it being Bank Holiday Weekend.

Day 3 – Castell Dinas to Trefonen 14.3 miles

This third day saw another complete transformation of scenery in that we now encountered beautiful rolling, grazing land and small wooded areas bisected by ancient streams. The two highlights of the day were the canal aqueduct at Trevor and the stunning Chirk Castle. Approaching the wonderful old racecourse at Racecourse Common we encountered the “dyke” itself for the first time. Many have said it is a disappointment but not for us. An overgrown, mound of earth it may be but it had already won our admiration. Did I say the day had “two highlights”? Well make that three. We finished at the only pub in Trefonen, The Barley Mow. Lo and behold the site of the Offa’s Dyke Brewery! What a way to finish!

So over the course of three days we had coastal, mountain, forest, woodland and rolling countryside views, lots of good food, beer, wine, comradeship and fun.

Isn’t that what Long Distance Walking is all about?
Brave Neil! Fabulous views Lunch Break On the way Roadside view