I had only just heard of the mysterious "Gospel Pass" a few months back and immediately it seemed intriguing. Everyone raved about it as a "must do" ride for it is the highest road pass in Wales (459m above sea level).
Names like Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins were often dropped when describing the route... advertisements from Rapha alluded to "legendary". Tim had mentioned it casually back in May as part of a micro-tour... so when the weather finally forecast a week of warm & sunny weather... well... we were off.
I left Oakdale early Wednesday morning for Pontypool. It was warm and sunny and simply fantastic to finally have decent summer weather after the coldest Spring Wales has had in 50 years!
I cycled NCN Route 466 from Crumlin to Pontypool where I joined the Monmouth & Brecon Canal; NCN Route 49. (see: A Quiet Beginninng...).
After 2 1/2 hours and 27 lovely miles I met up with Tim at the train station in Abergavenny. With our bikes loaded we began the slow climb out of Abergavenny and up NCN Route 42 on Old Hereford Road.
The road soon narrows and turns up the valley of the Afon Honddu (River Honddu).
First stop was at this well known church... one of the smallest chapels in Wales; Capel-y-Ffin. A good place to catch your breath before the serious climb.
There's not much else after that but sheep, wild horses...
Here's Tim just before we go over the top...
Now before I continue, I want you to pause a moment and think back to my previous blog entry; "A Quiet Beginning". Did you see that one? I only ask to emphasize the variety in landscapes that I have cycled through in less than five hours. It is something I could not have ever imagined having lived most of my life in the big ole US of A.
Wales is a tiny place, but there is so much diversity packed into this lovely little country. So take a moment and look back... consider this: I have cycled just over 30 miles. Now... let's move on.
Do you see what I mean?
Am I conveying the dramatic impact clearly?
How about I toss in some more wild horses? (note: little sleeping ponies!)
And there my dear readers... you have The Gospel Pass. I didn't get much photographed on the ride into Hay-on-Wye because it's just over 6 lovely miles down the mountain... and well... it's not often that you get that kinda ride.
We stopped and had a well-deserved pint at the first pub we saw in town. (And it was mighty tasty too!) Then we headed out a couple of miles to the campground where we wasted little time pitching our tent, making dinner, and falling fast asleep, tucked in our sleeping bags.
Stay tuned... cuz there's even more to read about our adventure.