DAY 43: Bangor-on-Dee to Wem – 17 miles
I woke up feeling much more relaxed than yesterday, helped along by news that a friend is now going to come join me next week. I then got to sample my one and only Welsh breakfast of this trip; which in truth was no different to all the other English or Scottish breakfast I’ve had on the way down (haggis aside) but it was tasty all the same. Options and destinations for tonight were limited but I had narrowed it down to Airbnb or camping in or near the small town of Wem. I was due to couch surf tomorrow night but that had just fallen through (think that’s the general nature of surfing… being flexible on both sides means plans can quickly change) so from a budget point of view, I really ought to give camping another go. Turns out today I couldn’t connect to the wifi whilst walking, so without a weather app to check the forecast, I had to make do with the old fashioned method of simply looking up. The skies weren’t looking too bad so I rang the campsite, to be told they don’t usually allow one night stays but they will on this occasion – for just £7.50. So that was my mind made up and a night in the bivi it was!
Today consisted of very peaceful, single track quiet roads all the way back towards the English border – then back into Wales, straddling the border for another few miles, before it finally wound up back in England for good. The only downside to today was that I didn’t pass a single pub or cafe, and with the sun beating down for most of the day, I was pretty desperate to take a decent break. Instead I had to make do with a few short curb-side picnic stops and when I finally did arrive in Wem, I made a bee-line for the first pub I came to. Unfortunately it was too early for them to serve food… same with the second pub… and the third! Knowing that once out at the campsite I would probably wind up having a dinner of crisps or biscuits, the lady at the last pub must have seen the desperation on my face as she suggested I go grab a takeaway and eat it in their pub garden. So with just the wasps for company, I sat in the garden of the Dickin Arms and demolished a portion of ribs and veg chow mien.
It was hard to get myself moving again the 20 or so minutes round to the campsite… Even more so as the weather appeared to be changing and flashes of my last soggy camping experience all those weeks ago in Scotland kept springing to mind. However, this was a proper campsite with under cover sections to sit, a shop, a bar, a swimming pool, a nice plot and friendly neighbours so I was hoping that would make a difference. I also decided to put all my clothes and non-valuables into a dustin liner and leave them all outside the bivi overnight. Definitely ready for a good nights sleep, I drifted off early with the full face area unzipped and just the mozzie net between me and the night time air.