painting Offa's Dyke Path, #30paintingsin30days

The trails stretches across the moors of the Black Mountains.

Offa’s Dyke Walking Holiday

I have big plans for painting Offa’s Dyke Path, #30paintingsin30days celebrating the completion of our walking trip in Wales. In August John and I joined walking partners and travel experts Charley and Kathy Woods for another long distance walking holiday in Wales. This time, it was the Offa’s Dyke Path from the south coast of Wales to it’s northern coast. This national trail follows along an earthwork hand-dug & built over 1300 years ago, commissioned by King Offa of Mercia, to divide his kingdom from his rivals. Over 15 days we covered 182 miles, and then some. The official trail sites 177 miles, the signs at each end post 182. We never felt the mileage was accurate it felt so much much further. We had a huge misconception that walking a dyke would be fairly level. The elevation gains and losses are more than that of climbing Mount Everest!

Elevation Chart of Offa’s Dyke Path 

182 miles of the Welsh Countryside

This was our third “walking holiday” and possibly my favorite. We had near perfect weather over the two week period. With it’s 500+ stiles, kissing gates, and acorns; 8 border crossings,spread over 8 counties, and covering three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty the Wye Valley, Shropshire Hills and Clwydian Hills; countless sheep, cattle, horses and pheasants, our interest was peaked around virtually every corner.
The trip was booked through Celtic Trails, the walking company arranges lodging, dining where necessary and transfer of your luggage. A packet comes in the mail with the necessary maps and instructions to find your lodging each night.
painting Offa's Dyke Path, #30paintingsin30days

The halfway point marked at the top corner of a cow pasture.

What I love about Walking Holidays

I find walking holidays to be the bee’s knees! The list is quite long and includes:
  • A huge sense of both physical and mental accomplishment.
  • A closer relationship with my husband, because we worked as a team.
  • Mostly unplugged from tech gadgets and computer screens, instead engaged in nature
  • No better way to be immersed in an area and it’s culture.
  • See things you would never see from a car or in a big city.
  • All that exercise means you can eat & drink like you’re on vacation yet not gain weight.
  • Much, much more

30 Paintings of Wales Coming Your Way

I would love to come back and do this walk again. Next time I would hike a day and then paint a day, but one day of painting wouldn’t be enough! Do you know how many beautiful scenes you can see in a 13 mile stretch of Wales?
“The landscape is always stunning, from the riverside meadows of the Wye and Severn valleys to the peaceful rolling hills of Shropshire and Powys and the dramatic heather clad uplands of the Black Mountains and the Clwydian Range / Dee Valley.”
Lesley Saeta’s 30 in 30 painting challenge is, ON, the month of September, I have signed up to participate.  I have chosen for my theme: 182 miles, small studies showcasing the Wales countryside. Narrowing the thousands of photos, I took, down to 30 was a big challenge already. I have been researching artists of Wales and this has me so very excited! Painting Offa’s Dyke Path will be exciting for me, to relive the experience. Challenge accepted!

I tried this challenge once before and was simply overwhelmed. My strategy is better planned this time and I have more motivation too. This time around, I have outlined my strategy in Evernote and hope to share more about this with my fellow artists very soon. With this system in place, I won’t be wasting time searching for the photo file or deciding what to paint and my blog posts should be a snap to post.

painting Offa's Dyke Path, #30paintingsin30days

you lookin’ at me?

Wales now holds my heart.

It was an experience we’ll remember for a lifetime and as a result, a country that now holds my heart. 
Thank you to all who followed along on Facebook ad left encouraging words, they really did lift our spirits when we would get so very tired.
I’ll tell you lots more about the trip and Painting Offa’s Dyke Path, the 30 in 30 project in my newsletter, coming soon.
Watch for my sensory prompts and daily painting throughout the month of September celebrating this incredible experience.I plan to post progress both here, Facebook and on the challenge site.
Leave a comment if you would be interested in a walking or walking/painting holiday in the comment section below.

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