Land's End to John O'Groats Cycletouring Trip Part 1

Day 17 - Chepstow to Talgarth

I woke up early today, maybe 6 or 6:30am, and was off by 9am. I posted the old derailleur off at Portskewett post office and made steady progress towards Usk, enjoying a nice downhill section as I arrived.

I almost had a close encounter with a car driven by an OAP woman who drove straight at me. She didn't see me until about the last 5m or less. I had already stopped and was getting of my bike at that point.

I met Rod from Oxford in Usk. We looked over each others bikes. He had a Claude Butler with a rather tough looking Campagnalo rear derailleur. I wondered if I should have spent some more money and bought something more robust than my Dawes Kalahari (for the use I was putting it to).

I have been having some front ringgear change problems from 2nd to 3rd gear for some days now.

I cycled with Rod to Abergavenny and found Chats cafe where we filled up on ham eggs and chips and pop. We bid farewell as Rod was off westwards to Breneen? and I was off up through the Black Mountains.

I bought some sun tan lotion and camera batteries at boots and some doughnuts at the bakery. After setting off again, I promptly got lost following the sustrans route signs. So far the signing had been excellent in Wales.

To add to the problems, there seemed a distinct lack of road name signs in Abergavenny, but eventually I found my way again after asking 2 separate people the way including a local pub.

There was a steady climb out of Abergavenny, and I tried the slightly longer route to see the crooked church at Cwmyoy, but this was closed due to a 3km limit of a foot and mouth outbreak. I had to turn round and return to the main road.

I made steady progress, and at Chapel-y-firth?, just passing a farm I noticed a horse helping itself to freedom from a field. I told a little child at the house nearby who told their father. He didn't seem in much of a hurry to sort it out, but eventually chased it up the road in his 4x4.

I continued on progressing well although I was slowly feeling worried at how easy the going was. The Sustrans map had shown some much higher elevation than on previous days and so far I didn't feel that I had hit the incline.

Suddenly the going got much harder as I approached Gospel pass. All the land here was closed to walkers, only the roads could be used. There were plenty of signs telling motorists not to stop and not to get out of their cars. There was hardly any traffic about at all.

On the other side of Gospel Pass, the view was excellent, I could see for miles and miles. There was a fantastic long descent towards Glasbury, and at the crossroads I turned left towards Talgarth, then up towards Bronllys for the Riverside International Caravan and Camping Park. It was £4 for the night and had some lovely views. There was lots of land, and plenty of space to choose from. This was my favourite site so far.

In the evening, I dropped back into Talgarth to the New Inn for a full 3 course evening meal and a good pint of westons cider. This was a lovely local pub and I was made very welcome by the staff and locals. I shall remember this pub and the hospitality for a long time.

The distance travelled today was 56 miles with a maximum speed of 29.3mph.

Photograph of the crooked church at Cwmyoy
The crooked church at Cwmyoy

Photograph of countryside views near the Black Mountains
Countryside views near the Black Mountains

Photograph of the road leading to the top of the pass
Making my way to the top of the pass

Photograph of the view from the top of the pass, looking down at the at the countryside below
The view from the top of the pass, looking down at the at the countryside below

Photograph of the Campsite at Talgarth with views of the Black Mountains
The Campsite at Talgarth with views of the Black Mountains

Photograph of Alfred relaxing at the Campsite
Alfred relaxing at the Campsite

Image of a stamp from the Riverside Caravan and Camping Park

© Copyright  Piers Pettman - This page last updated 08 July 2006
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