Walking Wales - Days 9 to 1106 October 2014
I left Machynlleth about 4pm on Saturday, I could still hear the bass thumps of the fair as I got into the hills. I took a little B road, with a sign that said “Llanidloes 19 miles via narrow mountain road”. I made a surprising distance before nigthfall - roads are much easier to get a good pace on. With stressful memories of the previous few night’s camping spots, I made a concerted effort to stop earlier at the first site of a decent place to set up tent. I found, what seemed to be, a fairly sheepless field with a view of the sunset. I got up early to try and avoid being noticed. As soon as I opened the tent I saw that I was in a field of rams. I remembered being given one of the biggest bruises of my life by a ram when I was a teenager, so I decided to pack up straight away and do my morning routine somewhere safer.
Luck was on my side. After less than an hour’s walk I came to a marked viewpoint with slate-carved memorial to a BBC correspondent and spectacular views. I made my breakfast, dried my tent, caught up on social media, brushed my teeth, meditated and recorded my video diary. A wonderful way to spend the morning. The rest of the day involved a lot of walking, probably about 20km. For the first time it made me feel a little mad. Like when you say a word over and over again it starts to sound unfamiliar; that was happening with walking.
The land now is less montainous and in some ways less exciting. There’s more road walking and so my mind is less occupied with the attention required on big mountains. I have more time to be with my thoughts, which isn’t always pretty! I spent a long while singing and practicing beatboxing. I arrived in Llanidloes just in time to set my tent up in the light at a lovely quiet campsite on the River Severn. I had glimpsed the Severn earlier, a meaningful waypoint in the journey as it’s the first taste of Bristol (the Severn’s estuary is right by Bristol).
I treated myself to a Chinese takeaway that night, I ordered so much I didn’t think I’d eat it, but I did. I am a bottomless pit at the moment. Must be all the exercise. In the night there was heavy rain and high winds, it pulled out the peg to my porch, I woke just in time to stop my boots getting drenched. I got up later than usual and went into town to get food and gas. I wanted to get something other than dried pasta packets, so I went to the wholefood shop and got miso soup, noodles, stock and ready-soaked grains. They take a little more prep, but make a very welcome change. I am currently camped about 2km from Rhayader, after doing another 20km or so today, it’s amazing how much further I’m walking when I’m not going up and down mountains all the time.
There was a big blow today - I lost my rain jacket. It must have fallen off the back of my rucksack. I feel so careless. It’s an expensive thing to lose and I will have to go a day or so without proper protection from the rain. I can wrap my tent around me if it gets too bad. I’ll try and get a next day delivery (so the day after tomorrow) to Builth Wells’ Post Office. I don’t think I’ll stop long in Rhayader tomorrow, maybe just buy some sweets. I want to get near Builth Wells, which is a good 25km away.