A wet journey!!
We started on 27th March 2018 at Prestatyn! Yes, we began in the North and completed the trail in 14 days, our first trail! We began and finished in persistent rain. We carried our all kit in rucksacks so no luggage transfer. We planned in great detail as there was no room for extending our holiday. We stayed at B&Bs and pubs. Most of our stays were great and we were made to feel most welcome. Our overall distance was greater due to the doglegs off to the B&Bs/pubs. We were aware that it may be difficult to obtain food in some areas so we were well prepared, even for two evening meals.
We endured rain, snow, hail and one good day of sun but best of all, it was mild and little wind so overall, we were extremely fortunate. On four mornings, we sat eating breakfast as heavy rain fell but as we stepped outside, it stopped, so so fortunate!!! However, with so much rain(and some snow), the ground conditions were treacherous in parts but also boggy and flooding.
We didn't see many people walking the Dyke. A few days, we saw nobody! In total, we met 4 people who were going complete the trail in one. Most people were walking sections of the Dyke.
Our kit. We had the best and truly appreciated it. Although experienced walkers, we'd never used walking poles before. The poles were fabulous in the slippey conditions but otherwise, we didn't use them. We used waterproof trousers most days and they were great at keeping our walking trousers clean in the muddy conditions. We carried mini crampons and although deepish snow in the hills near Newcastle on Clun, we didn't use them. We would carry the mini crampons in the future for the same time of year. We are a great believer of umbrellas and our windproof models were amazing as we battled the elements. Although the trail is well waymarked(- thank you Rob), we still carried a Garmin Etrex GPS, with back-up of 'Viewranger' on my mobile - both fabulous.
Overall, the walk and trail was an amazing experience. Stunning countryside, unforgetable views. Could be physically challenging but again, we'd prepared. Our planning went to perfection, except our return train from Chepstow to home never appeared!! We had an understanding boss and stayed the night at Chepstow. At least we saw the countryside in daylight on our train journey home the following day.
Any lessons learnt? Not really and wouldn't make any improvements/changes for our next trail. Yes, we are now planning for the future.
Would highly recommend the Offa's Dyke trail. Just plan and be prepared, especially in the spring/autumn/winter.