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.

July 08, 2012

Adventurer's Fuel

Hello, muse asked me (his wife) to write an article about the treat I make for him to take on his cycling adventures with the Tuesday gang.  Will, if you are reading this; they are not exclusive to the Tuesday gang, he just forgot to take them when he went out riding with you!

It's no secret, muse loves his bike snacks!  Everything from fruit to cheese; however you just can't beat the combination of oats, fruit and nuts, that is a cereal bar.  He has tried and tested many brands and flavour combinations, both here and over the pond and of course, he has favourites but hopefully; mine are number 1. (A wife's privilege, yes?)

Here is my recipe for: They'll Get You Through Lairig Ghru Bars

100g butter
200g porridge oat (I like to toast them first in the oven)
300g of dried fruit and nuts, use anything you like, I do.  Although sometimes I use sultanas, which I don't like, but muse does
3 tbsp honey
50g sugar
2tbsp crunchy peanut butter, you could use smooth
1 tsp cinnamon

1. Add the oats to a mixing bowl.

2. Add the fruit and nuts.

3. In a saucepan add the sugar, butter, peanut butter and honey.

4. Over a gentle heat, let the butter melt and the sugar dissolve and all the ingredients combine to look like this.

5. Pour the mixture into the bowl with the oats etc.

6. Mix the oats, fruit and nuts until fully coated with buttery, honey mixture. Like so.

7. Pour the mixture into a greased ovenproof dish, (I usually line mine with greaseproof paper for easy removal, but I had run out.)  Flatten the mixture down gently but firmly.

8. Pop in a preheated oven,  I use a fan oven at 140C, and bake for approx 25 - 30 mins.

9.  Allow to cool in the dish.  Remove from the dish, and cut into bars, I usually get 10 bars from this much mixture, I use a  8.5' x 8.5' square dish. 

10. Eat 'em up. Yum!

Sidebar: Wondering what or where Lairig Ghru is?  Check it out, Lairig Ghru.

July 03, 2012

Three for the Price of One...

I know it's been a while since I last wrote something for my blog, but I've been rather busy lately... riding me bike! So here my friends, are a few recaps of several memorable day trips I made over the past three weeks.

Manmoel Meander...
The clouds were breaking as we left and headed up the hill behind Oakdale toward Manmoel. It's a steady climb of about three miles with nothing but sheep and the wind blowing up through the valley to keep you company. Will and I have a habit now of making our trips epic in proportion... nothing short of 50 miles and always getting as far away from civilization as we can. (see: Talybont Adventure...)

climbing up the hill...

...looking back.
a surprising find in the Usk Valley...

Winding Wheel...
John took us up to New Tredegar for our weekly history lesson where we visited the Winding Wheel museum. The hole was 1500 meters deep. The winding wheel is 24 feet in diameter. Three miles of cable connected men and coal, blue sky and a deep, dark hole n the ground. Looking at pictures. Reading about the lives. I still cannot get my head around how life must have been for these people.

a complete loss of scale...

not a tinker's toy...

a union of steam & iron...

Wilds of Wentwood...
John cannot be blamed for this one... we all went willingly. And it was grand. We climbed and we climbed and we climbed. It rained and we got lost and we were covered in mud. We looked far out over the River Severn to England. We stood beneath the wall of the last great castle in Wales. We rode almost 80 miles wandering around the valleys between Caerleon and Monmouth. With a sparkle in our eye, a wide grin behind our stories; we was walkin' funny for a few days thereafter.

ponies grazing behind the castle at Raglan...

a slow ride along a mountain logging road...

and pretty girls greet us outside a village...

a few outtakes...

off of the paved road and into the wild...

John... may I see the map?

uh John... the map please?

No Graham, John will not show me the map!
 I know, I know... I'd rather climb hills.

Graham, John, & Ivor lookin' fine.

Add caption: winner receives free bike helmet.

uh?... never mind boys.

a pony way off on the horizon...

a tribute to the ponies that worked in the mines...