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.

Friday, 28 June 2013

A Day in the Clouds...


Day Two. Cloudy, humid... looking like rain. We had a vague sense of what lay ahead. We knew there would be some hills... possibly more than what we had climbed the day before. We knew we were heading for Llyn Brianne and that it's the tallest dam in the UK and it's on top of a mountain... AND we would have to climb the "Devil's Staricase" to get there. We knew it might be hard... we hoped it would be cool.

Missing photos; Builth Wells (where we had a lovely brunch and charged our cell phones) plus Tim sitting on the giant bull.

Yes... I spent 30 minutes in the shop looking for just the right food... question tho... Did I get the right food?

The lane heading up the mountain looked promising... kinda steep in places...

But then... sweet jeezus!... We popped out of the woods and into the magnificent Afon Irfon valley.

Here's a hint: Be sure to look back from time-to-time to see from where you just came... the views can be surprising.

At the base of Devil's Staircase we could almost see the 2.5 miles we had just cycled. With a 500 ft. climb included, I'd say that's not too shabby. However, the real fun was just about to begin...

The map above shows a quick glance of the route ahead... 412 feet climb in .7 of a mile. (uh?... what?) You can do the math... I'm still dizzy. (Also: here is the link to Tim's very funny animated .gif showing his metal and climbing this beast with a full set of loaded panniers. Very impressive, indeed.)

I didn't get but this one photo on the Devil's Staircase because I was too darn busy pushing my infernal bike up the mountain. Yes... I said it. I pushed my bike. Judge me as you like, but it was posted 25% grade! (It's worthwhile to take a moment and read Tim's blog about our day too... Mr. Squeaky Wheel)

At the top looking back into the valley... I didn't need no stinkin' vista to take my breath away, thank you very much.

I'm going to take a moment to pause here. We've just climbed almost 1,000 ft. to the ridge above Llyn Brianne Reservoir. The following photos were shot riding down and around the reservoir for 7.2 miles. By the time we reached the dam we had climbed another 1200 ft., yet overall we dropped a total of 1300 ft. (Note: ups & downs on elevation chart...)

So here's the route...

It was misty at times... then raining slightly.

Essentially, we were in the clouds.

and here's the photos...

So there ya have it. 10 miles of glorious cycling through Afon Irfon Valley, the Devil's Staircase, and around Llyn Brianne. It was completely unexpected and with the clouds and rain; it was crazy, crazy, crazy spectacular.

And also the thing is this... (something impossible to capture)... it was quiet. You could hear the sheep bleating over the valley... you could hear the horses running across the wet grass... the cycle tyres scratching on the pavement... and in this quiet, this lofty, secluded quiet... there was nothing to be said.

You stopped... you looked... you rode on.

There is much of this days' ride that I didn't discuss and if you look at the map below you can see that we totaled over 53 miles and climbed almost 6,000 feet for the day. That is; we rode a helluva-lot. It rained and it rained and we were two soggy dogs when we finally pulled into the campground around eight that evening.

It was awesome.

Stay tuned... We've got one more day of adventures to this trip. I'll keep you posted. Also... I highly recommend visiting the Lewis to my Clark at: Mr Squeaky Wheel for more info on our adventure...


  1. Stunning photographs, love the accompanying narrative ....looking forward to the next instalment!

  2. I keep my cycling shoe covers in my bike bag so I can walk in comfort when the hills get too steep. Wish I could ride this.


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