Day 1....Into the Mountains.
Last year’s idea of being taken by car to Mid-Wales had proved successful, so this year we decided to have our Dad to take us to the market town of Builth Wells in the county of Powys, which is deep into the heart of Mid-Wales. It was a Friday lunch time and the livestock market was in full swing as we got our bikes ready for the journey ahead. We said goodbye to Dad and then had a bit of lunch in the town. It was now time to start, we cycled up the main road for about 6 miles to the village of Beulah. The weather was warm and dry with a bit of cloud here and there. We then took the Abergwesyn road, we cycled along here on our first tour in 1999, this quiet lane still held al its splendour as it had done a few years ago. Like a lot of these narrow roads around this area, they were just dirt tracks 30 years ago, but since then they have been roughly coated with tarmac, making them magnificent for cycling! After Abergwesyn we took the lane up the Irfon valley. I have written before about this beautiful valley and how we camped here a few years before, we cycled steadily up the valley, we knew it ended with the infamous Devil’s Staircase, the climb to end all climbs, this snaking pass takes some effort to get up it with a heavily loaded touring bike, but thankfully it is over quite quickly. After that there is a gradual climb up the mountain of Pen-y-Cnwc (475 metres), over to our west we could see the mountain of Drygan Fawr (642 metres), this is one of the highest peaks here, it also covers a massive plateau area. We descended down the road that leads to the top of the Llyn Brianne reservoir; we carried on the road toward Tregaron. Before long we reached the start of the forestry access road, which was to take us over the 548 metre mountain (which does not seem to have a name) to Strata Florida abbey. We had now left the public roads and were in another world of rough tracks and pine trees. The climb was steady but a bit rough as this part of the forest does not seem to be used much. We cycled this part a few years ago and we got hopelessly lost, but as with last year we now were carrying a small GPS to navigate with. It was late afternoon when we crossed the Hirnant River and then climbed to the top of the mountain. Here we joined up with the large dirt track we had cycled over the other way last year. We stopped for a while by the small lake near the summit, we were thinking about camping here, but it was unsuitable. We had seen no one in the forest, but the dust all over the trees meant that forest trucks used this road during the day. We decided to ride down the mountain; we eventually came to the spot we had camped on the way up last year. A good site is always good so we made our camp here, on the nice soft grass with the splendid view over the Tregaron Bog. I was now using a new set of Carridice bags, which have improved things ten fold from the old bags I used to ride with. Also now putting the tent up was second nature and before long we were all set up cooking our evening meal. We were then treated to spectacular sunset before we settled down to sleep....30 miles.
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Day 1 - Day 2 - Day 3