June 18, 2019. 15 miles. Monmouth, Henry V, The Kymin, farmland, White Castle.
I was truly not prepared for all the uphill walking on this trip. First thing this morning we went up a really long and steep gravel road, and I genuinely questioned just giving up and going home. But there was a cute cat and some cute animals at the farm halfway up, and they gave me a fresh burst of energy to keep walking.
We walked along Offa’s Dyke a lot today, and I was continually astounded at how much manpower and effort went into constructing it 1,200 years ago. So many people had to dig the ditch and make the earthen wall, and their entire lives were spent doing this repetitive and strenuous labor. And then there were so many people involved who weren’t doing the actual digging: There were cooks, launderers, assistants, etc. It’s really impressive that the dyke is so well preserved and so much of it is still standing.
I really love how up close and personal we get with farm animals while walking through people’s fields… baby sheep and cows just melt my heart.
The worst part of today was the final stretch of walking up to White Castle, our ending point for the day. The hill felt like it stretched for miles, but at least it was paved and not too tough walking. There was a farm at the bottom of the hill called Lower White Castle and one halfway up called Middle White Castle. It was pretty funny! It felt like we walked another few miles uphill before getting to the Upper White Castle farm, and I really have to applaud these people on their sense of humor, but I was also pretty angry at them for making jokes while I felt like I was going to pass out from walking so much. But as always, the walk up the hill was beyond worth it when we got to White Castle and got to explore it. The castle was huge! And it had a moat! So cool!!!