zondag 23 juni 2013

A recent to trip to Wales (June 2013)

A trip to Wales

Because of bad weather in Spain we decided to go to Wales in stead, the weather forecast being favorable and maps with cycle-routes already purchased last year.

We take the customary route: in less than 3 hours we arrive in Calais, P&O ferry to Dover, and then more boring motorways to circumvent London.  We detest the motorway service restaurants so at midday we leave the M4 to have lunch at a real English pub near Swindon.

Another 3 hours takes us to Aberporth near Cardigan on the Welsh coast of the Irish Sea where we rented a cottage for a week. We are welcomed by the Welsh speaking owners, the cottage is perfect and includes a private terrace with a distant view of the sea. We want to stretch our legs and take our bikes down to the beach at Aberporth village some 3k m away. We immediately know what we are in for on our biking tour when we have to climb back 140 m to get  to the cottage.  

I had prepared Ordinance Survey maps from the internet, so next morning, after our self-catered breakfast, we set off on our bikes heading for Cardigan along country roads.
At Gywbert we drop down to the sea, a country lane lined with blooming, yellow gorse. An exhilarating ride!!
On country roads in the UK there is a rule: what goes down has to go up again. So, before reaching Cardigan we climb back up the hill, only to descend to the old bridge

 The roads are narrow but with very little traffic and the verges  full with flowers, all is green. A paradise for cyclists. 

                         We always picnic somewhere suitable at lunchtime


On the second day we take the bikes in the car to a site where we pick up parts of an old railway track and follow the track to Aberystwyth on the coast. 
The going is not so easy, some parts of the track are blocked, we drop 90 m and have to climb back pushing the bikes over steep footpaths, but there is no traffic, flowers everywhere and fresh forest air. Very pleasant cycling.

We have a look at the seaside of Aberystwyth, a pebble beach and follow River Ystwyth back to where we left the car. Using the same route, including the many up's and down's. The exercise is worthwhile. We have a healthy appetite in the evenings, having diner in local restaurants: there is some good fish around!

We take a day off, lunching at Gwbert's Flat Rock restaurant at the sea front: fish of course! Then find a lonely spot near the cliff's where we can play our bagpipes.

But being near the coast we really want to do some cliff walking on the Pembroke shire Coast path. In fact we spend two days on the Coast Path, a total of 15 hours, with blue skies, a fresh sea breeze, the continual sound of the waves on the rocks, the call's of the sea birds and the scent of the blooming gorse. It is like a dream, a never ending dream, because there is always the next cliff to climb or another narrow path between the gorse and all around blue-bells, again and again......

But the path is not without danger, you can't afford to dream, the path is narrow and very often a shear drop of at least 50 m is only centimeters away, you have to stay alert.

But the dream does not last, we reach the end of one section and need to return, at least  3 hours.

We look across at Pen Dinas, another section of the coast Path that we walked back in 1997.

This was a return visit and we need to return again, health permitting of course.

                                                                  I made a video of the Coast Path walk: 

                               (click on image to see a video)

                                                                    I made a video of the bicycle trip:

                         (click on image to see a video)

Anyone interested in staying at the same cottage we rented for the week??

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