WELCOME! I've been cycling through the Southeast Valleys of Wales since 2010 and I can't say (or show) enough about the place. I just love it. So if you've got the interest and would like to spend some time... sit back and let me show you some of the fabulous places I've discovered.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Looking for Clydach Gorge...

Yesterday was quite a day. I set out thinking I'd have a fairly straight forward ride toward Abergavenny to meet with the folks of Sustrans, but that turned out to be rather naive, to put it mildly.

Following a backbreaking climb from Tredegar to Brynmawr, I rode east along the cliffs of NCN 46 for about 2 miles to suddenly find Clydach gorge closed due to construction and renovations. Urgh. (see photo below...)

Not to be deterred, I cycled back to the entrance and tried a different approach over the top toward LLanally Hill. 30 minutes later I knew that there was no turning back. The narrow road turned to unpaved trail then to dirt path and finally to what can be best described as a "goat track". (see photos below...)

I found myself at the top of a mountain without GPS service and no where to go but down... down a very steep mountain. (see photos below...) I continued on with only a vague notion of where I was heading when suddenly from around a blind curve another cyclist popped up and asked; "where ya headed, mate?" And with that surprising encounter I was lead down the mountain into Abergavenny. Despite having a great little adventure, I unfortunately did not meet up with the group from Sustrans... until next time.

Once into town I came across a group of gentlemen relaxing on a bench by the park along the Usk river. As it turned out, they had ridden their vintage touring bikes up from Cwmcarn. Weird?!? So after a brief introduction, explanation, and the general "how-do-ya-do's", they offered to lead me back down the valley... and away we went. What a wonderful surprise. (More about these fellas tk...)

Meanwhile here are a few more shots from around Clydach Gorge.

and here's the gratuitous "bike shot"...

On Monday I rode an easy route through Sirhowy Country Park and along the Monmouth & Brecon Canal as a warm up for the longer ride I had planned for Tuesday. Needless to say, the little ride shown below did NOT prepare me for 63 miles and over 2300 feet of climbs that were to pass under my wheels.