Last night we camped in a field just outside Taunton after riding through the town last night where we went past Somerset cricket ground the famous ground where Botham and Viv Richards graced the square many years ago.
It was a fantastic great rolling ride in the morning with some steep vicious climbs but breautiful riding through Devon into Tiverton where we stopped for something to eat at the local shop.
The hills got steeper and longer on our ride to Barnstaple. We had a bit of problem here as the bridge over the river was closed. Nothing can go wrong! We regrouped in the Red Lion and re-routed after a few beers and carried on. It did not get any flatter as we rode up and up towards Bradworthy. We got there before the the Inn opened so it was a good job Stubbsy was a bit late. The pub opened by the time he arrived. We had a massive meal then headed onto the moors. Beware of the Hounds of Baskervilles!
We found ourselves a camp at Laucells on the road to Bude.
We had a great night with the North Wales Clan and really enjoyed the stay. A massive thumbs up from the Team and also happy birthday Doreen have a lovely day you deserve it after looking after us. Irene, Keith and I loved the hot tub and full English breakfast you prepared for our early start. [Ed: nudge nudge say no more].
After starting the ride with our farewells we headed towards Mold and passed Warren House (We Doreen & Alan used to live) so we had little photo outside the main entrance. Once again happy memories of family parties and weddings.
Then we stopped for breakfast at Mcdonalds in Mold, and also had a look at booking some accommodation as we are meeting Dave’s mate Ian later for dinner and few beers.
But a bit of a problem as we can find no accommodation in Buxton. We were forced to do a bit of rerouting to Cheadle on the outskirts of Manchester. So on we went. At first it was not to good as the roads were busy with many intersections. Soon however we found some old railway tracks. Happy days, within the hour we were whizzing past Chester and back in England.
From there we kept on the tracks and canal tow paths most of the way but it was still not good enough to stop big Dave having a little tumble at a junction. He fell off with his shoes clipped in like a stranded turtle!
We stopped in a nice pub just outside Warrington for lunch and then carried on adjacent to the Manchester Ship Canal then on to another smaller canal. A great route. Then it was just the last few miles up to Cheadle and the hotel.
Eventually we had a lovely meal in the end last night. We were kept waiting for a table at the hotel for 3/4hour only then to be told they had no food left. The cylist were OK with it though Stubbsy daughter had just done a 12 hr shift at Bath hospital which is far harder than cycling. She was not best pleased. But all’s well that ends well as we found a great Italian restaurant less than 50m away.
We woke up to a lovely sunny morning had a bit of breakfast and then hit the road just after 8. It was a bit of a steep climb out of Chepstow as we headed for Newport for a quick meet up with Chris and Lester Powell. It was great seeing them both looking very fit and well. We had a little chat then wished them all well. Chris gave us a big bag of Welsh cakes: Bingo promptly took ownership of them.
We pressed on through Newport and passed the famous transporter bridge – a marvelous feet of engineering. After finally getting out of Newport we headed towards the Rhondda valley and picked up the Sustrans Cycle Route 4 or maybe Route 8 [Ed: or both; 4 goes E/W to Fishguard and 8 goes S/N to Anglesey]. It’s a credit to the Welsh tourist board as it was excellent, fully paved and a joy to ride on.
Before we knew it we were climbing steadily up the valley, going through Caerphilly where we stopped for a photo shoot of the castle and the statue of Tommy Cooper (I did not know he was Welsh [Ed: now you do, just like that!]). Then we stopped for lunch at a cafe in Pontypridd. Big Dave is making sure we have a dry lunch – he is a good lad. From there we carried onto Porth and then up the Valley to Ynysir where my Dad was born.
We had a few pictures taken along William Street and remembered holidays from the past playing football with Graham on the Oval and wearing a horrible tweed tweed suit that Dad had brought for Keith and I to name a few. Personally I was really pleased we went up the Ynysir valley. I loved it, but anyway that’s enough of the sentimental stuff as we had the first of two big climbs in front of us.
We had already started the the climb upto Maerdy. It was our first proper climb and it was good stuff as that’s what we came for.
All of us were laughing and joking as we rode up to Aberdare, and with big Dave ditching the no beer thing Keith and I went in the Aberdare Constitutional Club. Dave and Andy had a beer outside a coffee shop then joined us. It was just a timing and thirsty thing. The club was full of sporting memorabilia and the host was a great guy as he showed us all the bits and pieces.
Finally we left the club and struggled for a while to get out of the town. Then we hit another climb up to Merthyr Tydfil. On the descent we headed off towards Brecon for a good few miles, and stopped by a small hamlet on the side of a reservior. We tried a few B&Bs here to no avail and finally settled for a wild camp on the banks of the Llwyn-On reservior which is a lovely spo. We managed to put the water through the purifier, so we had coffee, 1/4 egg roll, 1/4 Soren Malt loaf each for dinner tand hen an early night.