Today and this night were most adventurous for we went away in the wilds and slept out! Leaving A we followed the main road for about 4 miles and then turned off on to the rough and uphill track to Llanthony Abbey. For 6½ miles we walked up hill and the heat was blazing. At long last we got to LLanthony and there found a few cottages and the ancient ruins of a long passed Cistercian Abbey. The legend is that St David struck by the suitability of the surroundings for meditation became there a hermit. We enquired at the little Inn for rooms but they were full up so there was nothing for it but bedding out! We anticipated it with great joy and selected a “sylvan glade” close to the river. Making a large bed of bracken we proceeded to don what extra clothes we had and our mackintoshes and lay down to repose…never again will I envy the tramp his rural habits. It grew very damp, then colder and colder. The ground dug into every portion of our bodies. Sleep refused to arrive, hour after hour I watched the beastly stars and we both got more and more freezing, at last at 4.30 I said I’d had enough. I made breakfast of tea, boiled eggs and potted meat and then packed up and soon after 5.30 were on the road. “Never again” is our motto!!
June 8th, Wednesday
We ran down the valley, crossing the high road and took the track to Grossmont. It was a stiff climb and an atrocious road. At 8.30 we felt like food. WE called at one or two farms for milk but could find no one up before 9! when we procured a pint and sat down in a field and brewed ourselves a cup of chocolate. In Grossmont we got lodgings at a cottage with a widow woman, and betook ourselves to inspect the Church and Castle. In bygone times this was a large and important place but has now dwindled to a mere village.
Today we had an 18 mile ride over more fearful roads, feet of dust lay over all and it was up hill nearly all the way, the heat was tremendous and sometimes with our heavy bicycles we felt ready to drop. We stopped halfway and had lunch and then rode on to Goodrich. it is full of past history. A nice intelligent woman showed us round, boiled a kettle for us and we had tea, then dropping down to Symonds Yat afterwards where we got rooms again at a cottage with a very nice family of three brothers and a sister called Gardiner. For 5/- a head they give you bed, breakfast and supper and do you very well. Such a sweet house too overlooking the river and rooms opening on to the garden. A ripping place altogether, a deep cleft between high wooded hills and huge limestone cliffs and the river is full of rapids and deep pools. I’d like to spend a week or two here.
June 10th – 13th
These have been three lovely peaceful days, long days on the hills and on the river, reading, lazing, bug hunting and eating. One day we took a boat and were rowed down to the salmon pool, a great deep silent place where the salmon leap into the air, one actually jumping into one of the boats that day. One day we took lunch up the hills and saw the wonderful view from the Yat, then walked all along the ridge and had tea by the river. Alas we had to leave this morning for Ross.
We arrived at Ross, a quaint old town with a most lovely ancient red sandstone bridge upon which grew masses of red valerian and in the centre of which stood an ancient sundial. There is a good deal of old red sandstone about, a very quaint old market hall, and a very fine church containing some lovely old tombs, a perfect little chapel (the screen and altar rails of which are in memory of the Fallen), the organ too is a War memory, erected by some lady in gratitude for those who were spared. We stayed at the Kings Head Hotel, not very nice, and came away on…
Our last day has arrived. We left Ross during the morning and not wishing to get home before lunch stayed and had that meal at St Anthony’s Well, where we drank that most lovely water, icy cold. We reached home at about 2.