Today was a mega day in all senses – long, hilly, magnificent scenery, wonderful weather. It started with David being woken by cows mooing at 6am. Being first up in the campsite is always peaceful. The sun was brightly shining and it was great to pack up a dry tent. We were off by 7.30am.
We bumped our way back down the track from the campsite then it was largely downhill to Fishguard. The 200m alongside the Harbour was the only flat section of the day! We climbed out of Fishguard and were soon in stunning Pembrokeshire countryside.
The cycle along the Cwm Gwaun valley was picture perfect. A gorgeous tiny country lane along a rippling river, tree clad hillsides, hedgerows packed with wild flowers.
Bypassing Newport, we were nearly floored by a very steep hill but these days we feel no shame at getting off and pushing. A lorry squeezing by us said he would have given us a tow if he wasn’t going in the opposite direction – and I have a horrible suspicion that he meant it!
We had a great swoop down in Cardigan where we stopped for ‘second breakfast’ in a rather haphazard café. We were up for a ‘greasy spoon’ breakfast as although we had already done 650m climbing we still had lot to go. The coffee was good and they let us charge up all our gadgets, but the banter between the staff was hilarious as they tried to come to terms it was busier than usual – but then it was the bank holiday weekend so they could not have been surprised (which they professed to be). It was all well meaning chaos, just like Dominic Cummings’ account of government (without the well-meaning of course).
We faced climb out of Cardigan – of course – but then a lovely road high on the hills parallel to the coast. We dipped in and out of two beach resorts. There were caravan parks all over the place but, as I had discovered when looking, there was very little tent camping. It is far easier here to get a place for a caravan or motorhome than a small tent.
By this stage we had climbed over 100m – our usual marker for a tough day in the saddle – but faced another steep climb away from the coast. It is not the climbing itself that tires us alone, it is the effort to climb very steep hills with all our stuff. However, gritted teeth and this time we managed not to get off and push. Then up, up, up the side of another lovely valley then onto a high ridge where we could see all of Cardigan bay ahead and even the LLyn peninsular misty in the distance.
We rested in a lovely grassy field (the farmer had conveniently left the gate open for passing weary cyclists) and brewed up some tea to build ourselves up for the last section. We had already climbed far more than counts for a ‘big climbing day’ but the incredible views and continuous sunshine kept us going. The last up and downs along the ridge to our highest point at 301m then a glorious decent down, down, down over about 12km. Now with panoramic views inland.
One more much lower ridge to pedal over in the last afternoon sun and the last descent down to the coast. The bank holiday meant everything was very booked up even a few weeks ago when I was looking. In retrospect we were glad that I had been unable to find a campsite as we were absolutely wacked when we arrived at our hotel; a complex of accommodation attached to a golf course.
Totally exhausted after such a fantastic day then able to relax in a large comfy room and a hot bath.