Mon 18 April
Overcast but dry
Eurgh! That's how I felt at 2.30 this morning when I was woken by a migraine. Quandary: the effective pain killers contain caffeine and would keep me awake for the rest of the night; ordinary paracetamol would take the edge off, but then I wouldn't be able to take the stronger option in time for them to take effect before we got walking. I opted to take nothing and by about 4.30 I dropped off again.
With appropriate pills inside of me before breakfast, a bit of a rethink was had as to schedule and I expressed a preference to add a day into the itinerary, making the next 3 days relatively short. Decision made, off we set, aiming for Kington.
ODP shouldn't be underestimated in terms of uppity downityness, and we'd had a good chunk of up before second breakfast. We'd been torn whether to aim for the church in Newchurch for that break, in the hope of being able to use a plug socket inside, but the promise of a sheltered bench outside if it was locked. About a mile short we declared ourselves too hungry to continue, so plonked ourselves down on a suitable bit of grass, whilst I muttered about how good it would be to find an 'honesty barn/shed' with tea making facilities and an honesty box - like the one on the north end of the Pennine Way.
A mile later what should we find outside the church but a 'tea and biscuits here; help yourself' sign? Well, it would have been rude not to! A short while after we'd served ourselves the chap who provides the makings and the clean mugs arrived, so we chatted as we supped and whilst our phones charged a little. Donations given, we dragged ourselves away for some more undulations, where we met a couple of south-bounders, to whom (amongst other topics) we tried to sell the TGO Challenge.
East of Gladestry we proved once again that "shortcuts make for long delays (Mr Frodo)" as we tried to take a more direct bridleway. Alas, a lack of maintenance and waymarking across fields (not to mention barbed wire and firmly tied gates) made the route too difficult, leading to a backtrack. If that hadn't happened, we probably wouldn't have met the LEJOGer who happened by as we were lunching.
Hergest Ridge (Marilyn) was then bagged (although I have a suspicion that we did actually visit it's summit in 2008 as well, but at least I can be certain this time) before we passed the incongruous stand (or should that be a troop?) of monkey puzzle trees and started our descent into Kington.
By then I was feeling completely well again, and the day was still young, so contrary to the morning's stated intention of cutting short, a couple of hours were killed with tea and a very early evening meal in a cafe, before we continued on.
We did cut slightly short, though, as it had been my intention to visit another Marilyn, Bradnor Hill. Suddenly, however, I felt like we would be too conspicuous trespassing across the (moderately busy) golf course with our big packs and walking poles and thus I decided I'd rather return another time and be a little more stealthy (or perhaps the detour to the club house to ask permission). Looking at the hill from the other side, the intended descent may have been a bit tricky too, with fences in the way and a farmer on a quad bike doing his rounds.
At the point where I'd intended to end the day I went for a scout around and out of the feasible pitches I could find the most discrete was on an old grassy dead-end track in a forest. It's pretty well hidden, but with the down side that we certainly won't be getting the morning sun (I say optimistically hoping that there's going to be some sun).