The beach near Monastery of Saint Nahum, North Macedonia.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Pogradec, Albania .

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Gjyrokaster, Albania on October 6th.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Another Border Hike

Last Tuesday we went for a hike along the Wales/England border in the Black Mountains. Yesterday, we headed about an hour south of here to do another border walk along the River Wye near the village of Tintern, Wales.

Tintern itself has become a bit of a tourist attraction because of the Abbey ruins there.

We drove 26 miles (41 kms) from (A) Ewyas Harold to (B) Tintern

The ruins we've been to so far have been free of charge. But it costs £3.80 ($6.27) to enter the grounds of Tintern Abbey. I went into the gift shop and ticket office to figure out why.

Tintern Abbey

There were two people behind the counter. I asked "What do I get to see for my £3.80 that I can't see from behind the barrier"?

She replies "Oh, a can only imagine the vastness of the place by standing in the middle of the ruins".

I say "Why does this one cost money, yet we've been to so many for free"? (They are all administered by the same organization)

"Oh, where have you been that it's free"? And I told her about our recent visits to castles and abbeys in the area.

Ultimately, they charge an entrance fee at this one because they can. You'll notice from the map above that Tintern is only a short distance from both Bristol and Cardiff. Because of that, a lot of tour buses go to Tintern Abbey. The ruins themselves are nothing different than we've seen in other more remote places. So we declined. Besides, you're only going to spend 15 minutes wandering around. If they charged a reasonable fee like 50p, you wouldn't mind going in.

So we set off on our 6.5 mile (10km) hike. The first two miles followed an old railway line beside the river, but it was covered in trees so you didn't have anything to look at and it was a bit of a dull walk. Then, it headed uphill where you would have a view of the valley below, but again, the trees blocked the view most of the time. There were a couple of interesting spots though...

Beautiful view of the village of Tintern on the River Wye, and the Tintern Abbey.

Kevin, standing on The Devils Pulpit, a natural gap in the trees that allows a perfect view of the Abbey. It was said that the devil used to tempt the monks to leave the order at this spot.

Part of the trail we took yesterday followed the Offa's Dyke Path, a 177 mile National Trail that goes from the north of Wales to the south. Offa's Dyke was named after the powerful 8th century King Offa who decreed that a defensive earthen barrier be created as a monument to his greatness and to discourage the hostile Welsh tribes to the west from attacking his kingdom. 

Rescue horses

Back at the village of Brockweir, the trail passes a stable and farm that cares for rescued horses and ponies. They welcome you in to say hello to the animals.

Ruth saying hi to the horses.

Then the trail went by a community park that used to be the old train station. We stopped and had an ice cream! Then continued on to some interesting wood stump carvings.

This is for you Sam!

Tree stump carving of King Offa

Tree stump carving.

Tree stump carving. Now this kind of art, I get! Really well done!

The River Wye is a tidal river at this section. You can sure see the difference in the height of the water!

Beautiful view we came across on the drive home.

We've been really lucky with the weather, and even though it was a bit cloudy, it hasn't rained. The sun is shining this morning, so guess what?? We're off to do another hike!


  1. Just about any kind of carving impresses me. I wouldn't be able to "see" the figure in the lump of wood or stone I'm afraid, so I find it fascinating how others are able to.
    No shortage of hiking spots that's for sure.
    I think I got my money's worth today.

  2. You got you hike done and saw some nice wood carvings. A great way to make use of old tree stumps.

  3. Love those old 4 wheel rail cars, bet they rode like log wagons, but anything with steel wheels and flanges will get my attention. Have a great day. Sam & Donna..

    1. Glad you enjoyed the train pictures Sam, we were thinking of you when we saw them.

  4. What beautiful country. Gal at restaurant is a wonderful artist and sculptress. I'm like Bob I see and old dead tree and I see a nuisance, she sees something beautiful. Those are truly wonderful.
    Since I'll never get there love being able to see everything through your wonderful blog.

  5. Ahhh, the horse Ruth is saying HI to looks exactly like our long departed Dusty - brought tears to my eyes! The tree stump carvings are unique - hubby would of just cut the dead trees up for firewood. Your Wales/England scenery photos are the best - that's our kind of country living. Thanks for sharing!
    Connie in PA

    1. Good thing there are some people out there to do carvings like that because I sure couldn't, along with most of the population , but firewood isn't a bad thing either.

      We really love the english countryside, especially when we have some sun.

  6. Give Zenni optical " a look for buying your glasses. Less than $7.00 US for complete single vision and the last pair of tinted progressive bifocals was less than $40.00. I heard of this place from a fulltimer. Barney "The Old Fat Man" on his blog and have never looked back. I suspect people I have told have bought over 100 pair there since I found them.. Garry

    1. Thank you Garry, Kevin will have to check them out as well.

  7. Love the wood carvings. Like you I think many places charge too much for minor attractions and if the price were lower so many more people would go in and overall they may well have higher takings.

    1. We totally agree. What gets us is that sometimes the price makes it too hard for families with children, or others who have a tight budget, to see these educational and historical sites. Why shouldn't they be able to experience it as well.


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