We took the opportunity of the May bank holiday weekend to do a short tour across Wales from North to South. We caught the train to Chester early Saturday morning and were heading back from Swansea to London on Monday evening. A great long weekend getaway!
On Saturday morning we missed our train from London due to Alberto forgetting his wallet and the train tickets at home! Fortunately we weren't charged for being booked on to a new train, arriving into Chester about an hour later than planned. We headed out of Chester on quiet roads and then found that the GPS track led us onto a dirt road through farmland. We followed it for a few km and when we emerged back onto tarmac we had entered Wales.
|Dirt track leading to Wales|
We had made relatively slow progress thus far and I was finding it hard to relax into the rhythm of the tour. I was concerned about all the kms we had left to do. Fortunately, it was about at this stage that we entered into Snowdonia National Park so there were more interesting things to look at. I also seemed to discover the area of Wales where the Welsh immigrants who settled Southeastern Pennyslvania came from, as we passed through the towns of Gwenydd, Bala, and Cynwyd.
|Bwlch y Groes pass|
|Ready for the descent|
The following morning it was a bit misty so the tent had to be packed wet, but it did improve over the course of the day. We had an offer of a garden to camp in, but it was 125km away, so we knew it would be a long day. We enjoyed a scenic ride towards Llanidloes, and when we arrived there decided to stop for lunch. We found a pub doing a £5 Sunday carvery including as much veg as you could eat! I don't think hungry cyclists were part of their business plan. We had a great lunch and headed to Rhayader on the B4518.
|£5 carvery lunch|
Finally we arrived (at about 8:15pm) and met Mark who showed us the ropes of the outdoor tap and loo. While we were cooking dinner, a very inquisitive cat started hanging around. I am much more comfortable with cats than Alberto, but we were both concerned that it was getting too close to the stove and could knock over the pot and set itself or somthing (else) we cared about on fire! It would not leave us alone and it took a tag team of Alberto doing the food and me distracting the cat to get dinner done.
|Here's Marks cat the next morning still sniffing around|
We woke up on day 3 to sunny skies. As soon as we were moving around in the tent, we could see the cat's shadow sniffing around outside. I do believe I've heard a song about this cat before....
We took our time packing up, waiting for the condensation to dry on our tent and chatting with Mark. We decided against cooking up the bacon we had bought to avoid a repeat of last night (Mark did confirm the cat was his, and that it was crazy about all food!).
We only had 50km left to Swansea so we could enjoy a leisurely start on a long, gently climb through the Brecon Beacons, followed by an incredibly fun descent to intersect with the A4067. Just down the road we found the Craig-Y-Nos Country Park with its excellent farm shop cafe and inviting outdoor seating area. We had a second breakfast and also bought a jar of homemade jam. It was great to be able to enjoy it without being in any rush.
|Through the Brecon Beacons|
|Cycle path into Swansea|