Afon Argoed Bike centre

Paul and I had discussed a day out and cycling was to be it.  Paul suggested the Afon Argoed centre which lies above Port Talbot.

This is well known for its mountain bike trails, but we were headed for the 14 mile Rheilffordd Route which does not involve too much sweat and hopefully little chance of falling off!  This venue has been on my tick list for some time and we were not disappointed.

Route

There were a number of plusses even before we mounted the bikes; car parking only £1.00 all day and coffee at £1.50.

A trail map was purchased – 20p and  we set off.  Paul’s choice of shorts was better than mine of lycra tights as the weather warmed up nicely.

 

View of Afon Afan

 

Another view of Afon Afan

 

Interesting carving

As we headed for Pontrhydyfen I noticed my bike computer was not recording speed and mileage. I soon realised I had put the front wheel on the wrong way around! Error sorted and off we went again stopping on the viaduct overlooking the above village. We decided not to look for the blue plague to show where Mr Burton was born or that of  Mr Emmanuel, him of Zulu fame but instead turned uphill and headed for Cymmer. The trail is tarmac and climbs at a steady incline.

Looking down into Pontrhydyfen

 

At Cymmer we turned left and headed for Glyncorrwg and had lunch at the Glyncorrwg Mountain Bike Centre. There is a small camp site here with the centre supplying your biking needs and a large restaurant with reasonable priced food and amenities.

 

The old Cymmer station

 

 

Glyncorrwg

 

One of the interesting information panels

 

A hill too far

 

The next hill won’t beat me.

 

Fine figure of a man

Following lunch our route was across the valley and downhill all the way back to the starting point where there is some atefacts of the lost mining activity.

Old rail viaduct

 

 

Wooden water pipe

 

 

A strong dad must pull this lot

If in future marketing shots of Neath and Port Talbot and the surrounding area you see photos of two rugged bikers, then they will be of Paul and me as the local authority photographer was clearly hard pushed to photograph two old fellows riding bikes.

We both agreed this was a good venue for biking and walking with views now opening up owing to large scale tree felling.

 

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Broadhaven Circular (Pembrokeshire)

No more Billy Nomates as “The Navigator” was once more in charge and on Monday we set off for Broadhaven.

 

The recognized carpark was too expensive for us pensioners and so we parked on the public road a bit further along.  Judging by the empty car park we were not the only ones to jib at the cost.
We took the path adjacent to the Youth Hostel which led us through Haroldston Woods which had a good display of spring flowers.

We came across a farmyard where clearly the three bears each had a tractor.

The next area worth noting was that of Silver Green woods which led us to the Rosemoor Nature Reserve near Walwyns Castle.

There is a large lake with a number of benches with carvings of wild life to sit and enjoy the sites. The entertainment was supplied by two Canada geese where one would call and the other answer, both wanting the last word!

There is a permissive path at Woodlands which again gives a pleasant descent to Little Haven.

From here we walked back into Broadhaven but not before noticing that the National Park had incorrectly placed two information boards at the wrong ends of the village.  Do not believe the arrow which states “You are here” because you are not. This will hopefully be rectified before the main tourist season to avoid puzzled visitors.

Clyne Farm to Llanddarog

The dawn chorus is particularly noisy when one is only separated by a sheet of nylon and I was awake about 0530!

However I remained in my sleeping bag for another hour and was on the way back home by 0715.

There is a certain satisfaction to watch the workers hurrying to their offices etc. as I am up early for enjoyment – I did work for 41 years!

Route

Colourful Millennium post but no information!

The forecast today was for mixed weather and strong winds – into which I would be cycling. The other slight difficulty was the majority of the return trip would be uphill, albeit not too steep.

I thought the Millennium Coast would be difficult but although there were squally showers and the forecast wind I made it to my coffee break.

 

As I approached Tumble there was a notice pinned to a gate telling about the sighting of an albino ferret. the writers thought it may have been an escaped pet.

The cycle route back to Carreg Hollt is reasonably sheltered from the wind, but when I turned west back to Llanddarog the wind was head on and slowed me right down.

The last hill to my village is one I can ride in normal circumstances but after a long cycle and the wind doing its best to push me backwards I dismounted and walked.

A great two days which hopefully will not be the last bikepacking trip, now where’s that map!

Llanddarog to Clyne Farm (Mumbles)

I had a plan and with the weather forecast looking reasonable, well it was earlier in the week, I decided on my first overnight trip with the bike.

I decided to pedal from home to the camp site at Clyne Farm in the Mumbles area of Swansea Bay, using for the majority of the route, traffic free trails of NCN47 and 4.

Route

The start of the bike trail

The final weather forecast looked OK for the Wednesday, but Thursday showed high winds coming from the north west. There never is a perfect trip and so with bike packed with camping gear and food I set off from home and joined the route near Carreg Hollt, just before Cross Hands.

This was to be my longest one way mileage, although all parts had been cycled in sections previously.

One of many direction posts erected for the Millennium

 

 

First view of the distant coast

With plenty of time I made sure to have stops and make a brew using the caldera cone and even reading a book at lunch time.

 

 

Bridge leading to the Millennium Coast Path

 

A large needle with Gower across the estuary

 

First coffee break

The book was for inspiration, written by Anne Mustoe a retired teacher who has cycled twice around the world, the first time without any experience. My two days seemed trivial.

 

On the way, near Dunvant rugby club there is a “Bikeability” centre with lots of bikes adapted for those with disabilities.

By the time I reached Swansea Bay there was a certain amount of tiredness and it was time to look for Clyne Farm. Just in case others want to use this site be prepared as it is up a steep hill and an even steeper farm track – I admit to walking and pushing part of this!

Swansea Bay

The bonus of the height are excellent 360 degrees views. There was only one other tent on the site and I never did see the occupant.

 

This was to be my first time in the new tent, a Luxe Mini Peak, which is basically just a pyramid fly sheet held up in the middle with a walking pole.  It had plenty of room and I was pleased with my bargain buy.

The farm is an activity centre with a selection of animals, the goats were particularly nosy.

After my evening meal I went for a two mile walk which took me around the outskirts of Clyne Gardens.  I did think about going through the gardens but they were closing at dusk – when is that?

This is clearly a moneyed area if one judges wealth by size of property.

An early night to be ready for the return.

Part two is shown as a separate bog.

Llanddarog to Nantgaredig and back

Route

I was Billy No Mates on Monday so decided on a short bike ride as shown on the above link.

Although an obvious observation the easy ride DOWN to the Afon Tywi meant a long climb BACK UP. However with the help of the granny gear I made it all the way without dismounting.  The route link shows the dip.

Downstream from Nantgaredig Bridge

 

Upstream from Nantgaredig Bridge

 

I spy a useful means of transport.

The return journey was via the bike route passing close to the Botanic Gardens.

Hopefully the weather will start to improve so that I can have an overnight on a bike ride to the Gower.

Millenium Coast Path – Carmarthenshire

On Wednesday I was scheduled to take my grandson to school and as they live near the Coast Path and the weather forecast was favourable I took the opportunity to take along my bike.

Route

I parked at the Wetlands Centre and set off eastwards as I wanted to check out the camping site further along the Coast Path for a possible overnight bike trip.  It is ideal and the site looks nice and flat with all the services one would want, however I was told a single tent would cost £14.00 per night.  I don’t think so and plan B will need to be considered.

 

 

I continued eastwards to the end of the trail and cycled into Bynea and Llwynhendy and back onto the coast path at the Wetlands. The day was too good to finish so early and I continued on to North Dock stopping on the way for a brew.

The path runs close to Machynys Golf Club and it struck my odd mind that if your hobbies were cycling and golf the fashion police would have a field day!

Following a short break at North Dock I cycled back to the car at the Wetland Centre