Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Tumble to Sandy Water Park & Back

I had arranged with Paul, my neighbour to cycle the Tumble Bike Trail and today was it.  Apparently Angela his wife, preferred to stay home and carry out some domestics!

We took the car to Tumble and set off on the trail (bike route 47) heading for Llanelli.


This was Paul's first ride on the trail. I have mentioned this route before but it's always worth doing as it is a first class trail, tarmac and traffic free. having said that weekends will see plenty of walkers with or without dogs, runners and cyclists so care is needed.

Today, Tuesday was less busy but we saw a selection of all those mentioned above.

We met one couple on a tandem and had a long chat with them about the advantages of tandem biking. the only down side seemed to be getting it onto a car.  They had even transported it to the USA some years ago.  (now thinking of trying one with Mrs Bob perched on the back).

A coffee break was had near Cynheidre and then on.

Our next stop was to chat with a couple of Sustrans workers who were clearing a drainway.  This week I had applied to be a Sustrans volunteer and it seems the "gaffer" of these two would be the chap I may be helping in due course.

Autumn colours were still in evidence but judging by the covering of leaves on the trail it won't last for long!

The Swiss Valley reservoirs were spotted with the overflow working well. We also met with a couple of spotted pigs who seemed keen for a chat or probably free food.  They were out of luck.

We left the trail at Sandy Water Park and had another coffee/cake break.  The swans soon gave up begging when it became clear there was nothing on offer.

Refreshed we returned to the trail and cycled back the way we came. The route is now uphill but nothing too arduous.

Another good day out .

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Cwmtawe Trail (Route 43)

As I had to be in Llwynhendy first thing to take my grandson to school I thought it would be an idea to take the bike and as well as visiting Tredz, Halfords and Go Outdoors on the Llansamlet Trading Estate, go for a bike ride on Route 43 also shown as the Cwm Tawe Cycleway


The ride took me to Ystalyfera alongside the Afon Tywi and the Swansea Canal.  I can wholly recommend this route as it is all off road with excellent surfaces on which to ride.  There is plenty of interest including industrial history along the route.  The autumn colours were still on show.

Not far from Llansamlet I came across Garth Farm Wood which was advertising for volunteers.

Garth Farm Wood

Along the Swansea Canal were a number of old locks and an appeal from the Swansea Canal Society.

At Clydach there is a Heritage Centre, but it is only open on Saturdays, but there were some interesting things to photograph.

One of the history panels tells the story of a mine disaster in the 1800's which claimed many lives including one boy of 14! Sad as this was it was a long time ago and hard to feel part of it.

However just a short way on is a memorial to the Gleision disaster of 2011.  This memorial was clearly erected by the close friends of those who died and it made for some sad reading and brings home to you the danger of this occupation which continues in these modern times.

As I approached Ystalyfera the mountains came into view and the route takes you between Mynydd Allt Y Grug and Darren Fach leading to Varteg Hill.  Beyond are the Brecon Beacons.

I had lunch here and then turned back to Llansamlet. An excellent day of cycling.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Tumble to Cross Hands and back

Out of the blue Mrs Bob suggested a short bike ride on the Tumble trail.

Didn't take me long to load the bikes up and then wait as Mrs Bob layered up!

We met quite a few dog walkers and other bike riders, some of whom I expect had travelled up from Llanelli.


The trees were still in their autumn colours although judging by the path there cannot be a lot more leaves to fall.

Nearing Cefneithin rugby ground I could see the lights on and we saw two young teams under training.  Good to see some parents and voluntary coaches taking an interest in the young ones.

At the Cross Hands end of the trail we turned around and headed back to the car, just in time to beat the rain which for the rest of the day hammered down.

Thursday, 30 August 2012


We have been having some crazy weather in the last week, but all has not been lost.

Bank Holiday Sunday the sun shone and we had a family day on the beach at Llansteffan.  It then poured down on Bank Holiday Monday. We had another family day in Brecon on Tuesday with the ladies shopping and the chaps canoeing, including my grandson's first trip in a canoe. Wednesday biblical rain!

So here we are on Thursday with a dry day and one for the bike.

I decided to pedal from my home and take in some of the lanes lying south and west.

You will see from the route (click) that there was a lot of need of the granny gear but it's all good practice!

I had two interesting bird experiences; the first with a blue tit flying alongside me for a few seconds and then a buzzard which flew directly in front of me for a short time.

On the return leg I came across a short section of flooded road but with feet up, managed to get through unscathed.

The trip was about 12 miles

Thursday, 23 August 2012


The forecast for today, Thursday, was looking reasonable with any rain later in the day. I decided on a trip around the Usk reservoir and perhaps an extension in the near vicinity.

Here is the route (click) and a picture below

The journey by car, when I turned off the main road from Llangadog to Ammanford, leads into some beautiful country with mountains and moors soon coming into sight.

This area introduced me to hill walking when two friends (one of whom I refer to now as "The Navigator" in my other blog http://randomdailywalks.blogspot.co.uk/ (click) decided to show me what it is all about. It was a wet, turning to snow day and my dear wife suggesting they surely wouldn't go in this weather? So innocent.  A long story told short is that I finished wet, cold and in awe of Cyril, my other friend who had about 30 years on me who just strolled up the snout of one of the Carmarthen Fans as if it was flat.  He apparently said to the "Navigator" that's the last we will see of him.  WRONG.

I still get cold and wet but enjoy every hill and valley and now I also have the bike.

Back to the present. From the car park I took the road which leads down to the dam of the reservoir and where a number of people were fishing, some from the bank and some from boats. 

  I stopped for a while but no fish were seen. I carried on and the tarmac turned into a track which was  reasonably firm with some puddles - the bike's first mud.

I stopped on a few occasions to look at the views which took in the Carmarthen Fans and further away Corn Ddu and Pen - y - Fan of the central Beacons.

Before long I was back near the car and decided to extend the ride on the lanes which led away and then back to the reservoir and eventually my car.  Downhills are great but inevitably there is the equivalent up to contend with and although theses ups meant a stop for a breather , no dismounting was had.

I came across two farms who reared lambs, but not just any lambs.

One assumes that in by-gone days there were plenty of locals to warrant building a chapel in the middle of farming country.

A good few hours cycling in splendid countryside and the sighting of a number of red kites on the way home.

Tomorrow's main task will be to clean my bike.

Sunday, 19 August 2012


Whilst Andy was having his car fixed we went for a cycle ride from Tumble to North Dock, Llanelli and back.


No photos as again as I  forgot my camera.  However I was given a gift of a new phone later that day and it has an inbuilt camera so providing I remember the phone there should be pictures in future!

This was the first time I had cycled the whole of the Tumble cycle way and with the extension to North Dock AND back! We met a fair number of other cyclists, walkers and joggers.

We had a quick look around the Discovery centre which includes a bike shop with some fancy machines and some dodgy lycra apparel. Lunch was had overlooking Sandy Water Park where the caldera cone came in useful again.

The new bike performed well but it has wider handlebars than the borrowed bike I had been using and will not go straight through the special  gates to restrict motor bikes and I had to wiggle it through.

We reached my car just in time to miss the rain.


I have always liked the saying "Man plans and God laughs"  He certainly had a good guffaw today!

Andy, my brother -in-law was on holiday in Newgale Pembs and it seemed a good idea to meet in Haverfordwest as his wife would be passing though to visit a friend in Narberth and we would cycle the Brunel Trail to Neyland and back.

I had no idea it was the start of the Pembrokeshire show which is held on the outskirts of Haverfordwest.  The heavy traffic started some ten miles outside of the town for both me and Andy.

I had a text that Andy had taken his bike off the car and was cycling to our meeting point.  Then I get a call from Frances that the car had broken down just after she had left the town!  Luckily I was not far away and soon spotted her on the verge (off the road and a nervous breakdown).  I assumed the car had over heated but she said the gears had felt odd and she was barely able to move forward.

In a manly way I opened the bonnet and looked in, yes the engine was in place.  Andy then turned up and the breakdown company phoned.  In the meantime I made us coffee on the caldera cone. The breakdown guy arrived and soon found that a gear selector had come loose, a common fault apparently as they wear.  With a cable tie he made a temporary fix and we all went back to Newgale. Lunch was had and Andy and I set off to have a shorter bike ride as I was keen to try out my new bike.

Our route can be seen here Route (click).  Apart from the steep climb out of Newgale the route was reasonably flat and quiet.. 

We had hoped to use a green lane near Lochmeyler but it had also been used by cows with loose bowels so we turned back to tarmac and continued.  It was very hot to start but the temperature did reduce and it became more comfortable.  Near the south side of Brawdy airport we wheeled the bikes across a footpath to rejoin the main road and a steep down hill ride to Newgale.

  The beaches were busy with surfers and people enjoying the sunshine.  I am writing this on the day after and it is pouring down and blowing a hooley. 

Friday, 13 July 2012


A quick decision was made today to sneak a lift with Mrs Bob to her coffee morning meet in Foelgastell and then cycle back via the lanes which circle my home area.


Here is where the "ladies' hold their "coffee' mornings!

The pub was advertising a  25 mile bike ride this Sunday with free grub at the end.  Not sure I can manage that distance without some breaks, so perhaps next year.

I did obey the following instruction, but wondered how the Tour de France boys descend so quickly.

After crossing the old A48 onto another lane I stopped to take a photo of the local mill. I can remember this mill making flour and taking the cub scouts to see how it was produced.  It looks like it has now been converted into a private residence.

Granny gear selected I slowly made the next hill and as I turned a corner I came across a buzzard dining on a new kill.  He saw me and flew straight at me, a close encounter.  No photo I'm afraid.

The climbs can be worth it for the views.

We still have some old sign posts.

My next stop was by a stream where quite some ago I would spend time catching small brown trout on home made flies.

Home in time to watch the professional bike riders.