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

Day 18 - Talgarth to Rhyader

Today was June 21st, the summer solstice - we would have the longest day of sunlight of the year providing the weather held out!

So, on from Talgarth and cutting across to re-join the Sustrans route, using sections of an A road, largely uneventful but some excellent views in several places. I had spoken with a couple from North & South Wales at the campsite just before I left.

I got to Buith Wells and located an ideal cafe with a rear courtyard for eating and keeping a lookout for my bike. This was the 'Courtyard cafe'. It was here that I noticed a fracture in my low rider front pannier frame.

I was lucky enough to locate a bike shop in Buith Wells where I purchased a new but higher mounting (but stronger) rack. I also had use of all the shop's tools to fit it on to the bike. I had to hacksaw 3" off the front mudguard and modify the new rack mounting kit to get it fitted.

During this time, at least 3 other customers arrived at the shop whilst I was there outside with different ailments with their bikes. They all seemed to know the score, they showed John their mishaps, paid for the parts, and then helped themselves to the workshop facilities. Very at ease laid back owner and friendly. He knew the local roads well and advised me that the National Trust track ahead on the way to Rhyader was closed and that I would have to travel instead on the A roads around that part.

I took the sustrans route to Newbridge on Wye and then followed the A470(T), stopping several times to recover, as this was a busy fast section of road. I finally stopped at 2 caravan sites situated next to each other, just before Llanwrthwl. These were The Doldowlod and The Pines.

The first one was a caravan club site with no facilities for tents. This was being looked after by a local couple while the owner was on holiday. They were telling me that they had settled at Llanwrtyd Wells after 18 months on the road caravanning when the husband had been made redundant from work in Essex. The place they are living in now is the home of bog snorkelling and the ManVHorse race. Apparently the man was only 4 minutes behind the horse last year and the betting company stand to lose a lot of money next year if he wins. This seems to be sponsored by Ben and Jerrys ice cream co. and a local man Gordon Green? has a big involvement but I forget the whole story.

They phoned up the caravan site next door to find that they had shower / toilet facilities despite being mainly a static van site, so I passed through the private gate between the two sites, and pitched my tent on the patch of grass just over the hedge from the first site. We had joked this would probably be about to happen before making the call. It was £4.50 for the night, and I was the only tent on the site. I was kindly given a glass of wine by the couple. I rapidly cooked my evening meal as the midges were everywhere and increased in ferocity. I did not bother to wash the dirty dishes and hurried instead down to the pub.

Today's distance was just short of 30 miles. About 28 miles, with a maximum speed of 31.9mph.

Photograph of the Bridge at Buith Wells
The Bridge at Buith Wells

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