The postman brought me two exciting things on Saturday morning. First up, my FSRT certificate, and secondly a shiny brand new map.
So I tootled off to Llandogo, parked the car and jumped on the bus. £3.05 and 25 minutes later I arrived in Chepstow.
Chepstow Castle marks the start (or finish, depending how you look at it) of the Wye Valley Walk. There's a big lump of stone there to prove this, taken from Plynlimon. Apparently there's a bit of Chepstow rock at the other end too, which I will see later on this year!
From Chepstow the walk goes through the Piercefield estate, which is mostly woodland with a few little interesting bits (the Grotto, and Giant's Cave) and awesome views.
Emerging from there, I crossed the A466, following signs for "365 Steps". The actual footpath goes a slightly different (and less brutal, I assume!) route up to the top, but where's the fun in that?
The Eagle's Nest viewpoint at the top is worth the millions of steps and associated lack of breath though... Amazing views over the Wye and the Severn - including both Severn Bridges and Chepstow castle sat on its cliff, which my photos have not done justice to!
From there, it's back downhill into Tintern. Past the Abbey, through the town, and along through the Old Station. That place is the cause of the large scar on my right knee, from messing about when I was little, grrr.
By this point I'd walked 14.5km and the battery on my phone was getting quite low. So I switched the gps off (and drew the rest of the path in once I got home, haha). In theory I'd nearly finished anyway, as Llandogo is only a couple of miles up the road..
But wow, those last 4-and-a-bit km seemed like they were never going to end, and took another hour and a bit. Through more woods, past Botany Bay, where I spent many happy weekends with the Scouts It looks pretty much the same as how I left it about 12 years ago (blimey, I'm getting old)
Then, finally, I reached Cleddon Falls (almost no water going over them...), which signalled my end point as far as the WVW was concerned. Just the simple matter of walking back down the hill to my car. How hard could that bit?
Turns out fairly, if you decide against just walking along the road and instead take the world's most zig-zaggy path, massively overgrown tracks between hedges and houses, and believe signposts that say "A466 0.3km". lies, I'm sure!
Overall, a really lovely walk, with many awesome views. Ending at Tintern Station may have been more sensible, or starting out earlier in the day, but nevermind. That extra bit has put me past 25% overall, which feels like a nice achievement