I was pleased to be finishing the walk with over two weeks of the school holiday still remaining (oh yes!), as opposed to last year when I started back the day after getting home from Offa's Dyke. Last year it was quite a shock suddenly being surrounded by people again, but if the same thing had happened this year, after barely a single sensible conversation, it might have tipped me over the edge (note - I do not include conversations with Jen in the above, obviously!).
My thoughts will doubtless now turn to next year, and whether to remain in Wales (Lleyn Peninsula Walk? Part of the Cambrian Way?) or venture further afield (England?!). But for now I am sort of in a position to compare the three National Trails, so will. I say 'sort of' because I did the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in 1992, so my memories of that are much hazier. Also I camped then because I was younger, healthier and presumably grubbier, so the meal ratings would have been quite low (beanfeast, anyone?). An objective comparison must therefore focus entirely on the merits of the walk itself, whilst a subjective one would be based on my own experiences.
Here is a short objective comparison using a 1-10 rating.
Quality of scenery (but then that depends on what sort of scenery people like, oh well):
Difficulty (based on 15 miles per day approx' average):
Oh I'm bored with this already. Here's a Glyndwr's Way waymarker. As you can see some of them are quite old (this is the photo equivalent of last year's gate latch!).
I'm partly bored with this because I know already what's going to happen. Pembrokeshire will come off worst, but it remains my favourite long distance walk I've done, so there! What I can safely do is recommend any of the three as fantastic walks. Here are the highlights of my Glyndwr's Way.
Best day - day five. A walk on the wild side before ending at Machynlleth, en route meeting three mad Eastern Europeans.
Worst day - day eight. Mainly because of the morning weather.
Best bit - seeing the first two red kites swooping around at the end of day three. And the joy of two closed pubs actually being open.
Worst bit - fighting my way through bracken on Welshpool golf course.
Best place to be - on top of Foel Fadian (in the rain).
Best b&b - The Oaks at Llanwddyn. Highly recommended.
Best landlord/lady - Penny at Whytcwm Cottage in Knighton. A true star.
Best pub - none of them were brilliant to be honest, so I'll cheat and say the the Crown Inn, Newcastle (on Offa's Dyke). I'll never forget the Star at Dylife though!
Worst pub - the one at Llanbadarn, how dare it be closed! Of the open ones I could choose several from the first half of the walk but I won't, to protect the guilty.
Best attitude to walkers - the ill man at the Dyfi Valley Hotel who opened specially for me.
Best pint - anything by Monty's brewery. I was going to finish with worst pint but that seems a bit negative, especially as the beer got better as the walk progressed. So here's to Glyndwr's Way!