British Hikes 1980s

Sorry not many photos. These were the days of 35mm slides and projectors, where you got your film developed at Boots the Chemist and then went to your relatives and bored them all with a “my holiday snaps” lecture (Ask your grandparents!).

The 1980’s were a time of hiking with my mate Stu….same school, same university, same hiking goals.

The ones I can remember….

Pembrokeshire Coast Path (180 miles)

This was one that Stu was particularly keen on. It was the “in” walk to do in mid 1980s. I was less sure of the attraction.

We were both right.

Some spectacular scenery around the Gower Peninsula (one nil to Stu). But my abiding memory is the walk around Milford Haven….2 days hiking to arrive only a couple of miles from the start but across the water, and this through the oil refineries (so a one all draw).

pem coast map
A long way round Milford Haven

Can’t find my photos, so a couple of stock ones….

refinery-milford haven
The oil refinery
Rather nicer scenery
pemcoast stock 2
Even better

Offa’s Dyke (180 miles)

Along the border between England and Wales.

This held some attractions, in particular a couple of engineering marvels – one at the start and one at the end.

At the start in South Wales is the Severn Road Bridge. When it was built (1966) it was the third longest in the world. It was still impressive in the 1980s but has now been surpassed by the Second Severn Crossing, amongst others.

Severn Bridge

So to the walk…

Offas Dyke 1
A frighteningly young Grumpy Hiker at the start

The actual walk was good. A variety of woods, hills, and farmland.

Offas Dyke 2

Offas Dyke 5

The only disappointment was the dyke itself. I think after 1200 years, what remained was more imagination than reality.

Offas Dyke 3

OK – it’s man made, but hardly a terrifying border to keep people out of Offa’s kingdom.

A couple of other points are worthy of note.

The first was my first encounter with “Trail Magic”. In the UK, most people (and I mean nearly everyone) will help you out if you ask – if you need water or camping etc. However, it is not like USA hikes, where there are people who leave food, drinks etc on the trail for hikers without asking. This was the first time (and I think it is still the only time) I saw an offer made in the UK without having to ask….

Offas Dyke 4
Offa’s Dyke Magic!

The second was an interesting pub – where the England/Wales border passes through the middle of the bar. OK I guess they were making the most of it to bring in the customers. It worked.

Offas Dyke 6
The border

At the northern end of the walk, the impressive engineering is provided by the Pont-y-cysyllte Aquaduct.

(I have no idea how it’s pronounced either. Welsh is an inpenetrable language! Wikipedia helpfully tells us….Welsh pronunciation: [ˌpɔntkəˈsəɬtɛ]. So now you know).

The aquaduct is an iron trough that takes the Llangollen Canal across 18 arches 40m above the River Dee. Amazing engineering….built in 1805.

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

For people who don’t like heights (=me) this was a scary proposition. The path on the right does have a fence, but I prefer something more substantial! I crossed trying to look only at my feet. All went well until Stu and I met someone coming the other way. They had the same idea as me. We had a race for who could walk nearest the water (closest to the middle of the aquaduct), forcing the other person towards the fence. I won.

More walks below…..THE BEST UK TRAIL….