Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Llansamlet to Mumbles Pier and back

There are lots of reasons for being retired but one good one is that one can choose the good days to go out. Today was a cracker, blue skies and not too cold. However although not too strong we seemed to be against the wind on the outward trip and again on the  way back - how does that happen?

Today was also the second in less than a week when we went east and crossed the Afon Lougher and strayed into Osprey Land (it`s a rugby thing).

Route - Viewranger

Route - UK Hills

We parked next to the lake in the Llansamlet trading estate and set  off on NCN 43 heading for Swansea marina situated in the imaginative named area of SA1 (the postcode). We passed the training ground of Swansea City FC, who are riding high at present in the Premier league and then Liberty Stadium where both the football side and the Osprey rugby union side play.

Liberty Stadium

Swansea Marina

Once at the marina we crossed over the Afon Tawe by the barrage and then headed west on the shared path to Mumbles Pier. We did however stop at "Ripples" cafe for a cup of coffee and a warm Welsh cake and butter.

We returned on the same route apart from a short diversion to cross the Sail Bridge in SA1.

I told you it was windy
The wild side of Osprey land

Before driving home we did visit Tredz Cycle shop to drool over lots of lovely bikes and kit, but no money changed hands.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Chester - Delamere Forest - Guilden Sutton

My son and partner live just outside Chester and luckily my brother-in-law Andy also lives in Chester.

The main purpose of my visit was to carry out gardening work at my son`s but I had time off for good behaviour and Saturday was pencilled in for a bike ride with Andy.

The plan was to cycle on the Chester Greenway and then on route NCN 70 to Delamere Forest and find our way back again on NCN70 and 71 to Guilden Sutton.


The weather was cooler than late with just a hint of rain but ideal for cycling.

The Chester Greenway is traffic free and built on a disused railway. We headed east but he way west takes you to the Wirral all on traffic free trails.

Once off the Greenway we cycled on mainly country roads with little traffic. Anyone thinking that Cheshire is flat well think again. There were some hilly bits with a couple of 10% inclines. I did walk for one short stretch.

Morning coffee (no cake) was taken at the cafe at Manley Mere and then lunch at the cafe in Delamere Forest (no cake). Not by design but we took a forest trail which coincided with a race celebrating the Sandstone Trail and it was very busy.

They breed them big here

No cake

After lunch we took another forest trail around Blakemere Moss a shallow lake teeming with wildlife.

Blakemere Moss

Segway riding
Back on the roads we cycled through some lovely Cheshire countryside and villages back to my sons home in Guilden Sutton, pretty well tired out.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Golden Secrets

I bought some time ago a guide to a number of cycle rides based at Llandovery and with a day spare I decided on the longest ride which is described as "Golden Secrets"


I parked the car by the bridge over the Afon Tywi and set off crossing Dolauhirion Bridge and thereafter followed the described route.

The weather was just right for cycling being not too hot or cold and little wind.

The route shows two steep areas but the first which leads to Bwlch y Rhiw was not too bad and I cycled the whole way rewarded with a lovely descent passing Cwrt Y Cadno and then the entrance to Dolaucothi Gold Mine.

I was hoping the next steep bit on the outskirts of Caio would be similar to the earlier one, but no, this was beyond my output and I walked slowly up pushing the bike and munched a banana at the top.

My friend tells a story about Caio when he was asked by a traveller if he knew the way to CA  10, When the traveller showed my bemused friend a map he realised it was Caio!

I had a short lunch stop in Porthyrhyd ouside the old post office. This Porthyrhyd sometimes gets muddled up with the other Porthyrhyd near my home and about 7 miles east of Carmarthen..

From here it was relatively flat with one steep descent back to the car.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Millennium Coast Path

Paul and I decided a ride on the Millennium Coast Path to include fried egg on toast at the Pavilion Cafe seemed a good idea.


We parked at the Wildlife Centre and cycled west passing the North Dock Discovery Centre and on to the Pavilion Cafe. However we had made good progress and cycled on to Burry Port and stopped here near the lighthouse.

Breakwater leading from lighthouse

There is a plaque here now reminding readers of the power station which once dominated the area and which I did vaguely remember.

We cycled back to the Pavilion and enjoyed double fried egg on toast and a warm drink.

My cycle computer turned 1000 miles on this trip which has taken me from Christmas 2012 to complete!

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Lougher to Weobly Castle and Return

I was on grass cutting duty for my son today as he is a work slave trying to educate the youth of Swansea.

So as to make the best of the day I took my bike along with a plan to cycle from Lougher bridge and head out on the north coast of the Gower.


This was a new route for me and a recce for a possible overnight further into the Gower.

I was pleased to find a traffic free part of the route along the North Gower Way which led to the outskirts of Penclawdd.

Then at Crofty I took a minor road which took me alongside Llanrhidian Marshes, with warnings that high tides may flood the road and the danger of unexploded ordnance on the marsh!

On through Llanrhidian I then took the road to Weobly Castle, one I had not previously seen. I did not pay the fee but perhaps next time when I repeat the ride with Paul.  It looks like there may be fine views from the castle.

I retraced my ride back to the car.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Llansamlet/Ystalyfera/Swansea Bay/Llansamlet


With one day left of our boys week I suggested a bike route which Andy had not done. This was NCN43 which links Swansea bay to Ystalyfera.


We parked up at the trading estate in Llansamlet and set off heading north to Ystalyfera. As said in previous blogs this is a traffic free route and  well worth cycling.

No pictures I am afraid. However i cycled this at the beginning of June with Paul http://randombikerides.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/llansamlet-to-ystralefera-and-back.html

On reaching Ystalyfera the cafe was again closed - early closing on Saturdays, although we were told that the owners were considering extending weekend opening. Not to be outdone we  crossed  the road to have coffee and cake in Asda.

We decided on returning to Llansamlet to continue on to Swansea Bay, which was part of the route which was new to me.  The path is again traffic free and passes next to the Liberty Stadium, home of the Ospreys (not a place for a  Scarlet fan) and Swansea FC.

We crossed  the road to enter the marina area and pedalled around , watching some expensive yachts enter through the lock gates and then back to Llansamlet.

The end of a good week of "being outdoors"

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Llanddarog to Clyne Farm and Back

15/7/2014 and 16/7/2014

My brother-in-law, Andy came down from Chester for what is becoming an annual "boys week" where we try to have some bikepacking, backpacking and where possible a canoe trip.

The forecast for the week was looking favourable and the decision was made to take the bikes for two days from 15/7/14 and then backpacking for two days and a one day bike trip to round things off.

I had decided to use the cycle  trip I had used last year from my home in Llanddarog and cycle to the Gower with an overnight at Clyne Farm and return the following day.

Route out

Route back

With bikes packed we set off heading on roads towards Cross Hands and then joining the cycle track which takes in the old mineral railway line down to Llanelli where it joins the Millennium Coast Path which leads to Lougher Bridge.

We stopped near Sandy Water Park for a coffee break and on to Lougher.

From here there is a cycle lane and quiet roads leading to Gowerton which then joins a traffic free route all the way down to the Gower at Mumbles. On reaching the coast we cycled around  to  the well known watering hole of Verdis. It was full to bursting and so we found another outlet for a welcome ice cream.

It was then time to cycle back along the coast and then climb steadily up towards Clyne Farm. To be honest it meant a push as the hill is very steep. It does however give good views once at the top.

We soon had the tents erected, showered and sorted out our evening meal.

Despite some 35 miles of cycling we walked back down to the seaside and enjoyed a couple of pints in the West Cross and of course back up the steep hill!

I slept well but I vaguely heard the patter of rain during the night.

We packed up wet tents in the morning and set off back to Llanddarog. The weather did improve and we stopped for a coffee break near the North Dock in Llanelli and then pedalled our way back home.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Llansamlet to Ystalyfera and back

Paul and I decided to revisit NCN 43 as the environmental works on the Afon Tawe had been completed and the original route was now reinstated. We would also ride the Glais loop on the way back.


We parked up near the lake on the Llansamlet retail park and joined the cycle route. Following the major riverside protection works the cycle path has been relaid and in due course the current  bare banks will have tree cover.

We had a coffee break not far from Clydach and sat next to the iron sculptures which represent local people.

This a great route to cycle which is completely traffic free as far as Ystalyfera. We continued on into the town, which Paul noticed seemed to be shut! In fact the cafe at the end of the traffic free route was just closing - at dinner time.

Afon Tawe

I have written about this route before and was taken by the home made memorial to 4 miners who lost their lives in the private Gleision mine a few years ago. There is now a more formal memorial.

Our return journey took in the Glais loop which gave the only granny gear climb of the day and we revisited the work we had carried out with Sustrans where trees were planted and a picnic table made.

Kidwelly to Pavilion cafe and back

Spring Bank Holiday Monday was set fine for a bike ride and I decided to cycle from Kidwelly and head as far east towards Llanelli as my legs would go.


The route is NCN4 and included the new diversion.  The old route went via Pembrey Forest had been changed because of continuous flooding.

The new route takes in minor lanes and some single track off road for a short while before returning to the main route at Pembrey village.

Nearly missed this sign because of overgrowth

Single track

Once on the Millennium Coast Path it was very busy with cyclists and walkers enjoying the sunshine.

Worms Head on Gower

And again

I rode through Burry Port and then stopped at the Pavilion Cafe for a coffee (no cake) and then returned back to Kidwelly taking the coastal path to the entrance of the Pembrey Country Park and then rejoining my outward track back to the car in Kidwelly.

Burry Port harbour

Looking back to Burry Port

Flowers, beach, sky, lovely

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Bosherton/Castle Martin Circular

I have a Sustrans leaflet describing a route alongside the Pembrokeshire Coast and it was an itch which needed to be scratched.


As the route crosses MOD land where tanks etc practice their art you have to check that they are not active on your chosen day.  Usually it is OK at weekends and holiday periods but check the website.

I parked the car in the National Trust car park in Bosherton and set off south on the lane which leads directly to the coast and the shared path west.

Bosherton Church

Who said mint sauce?

The track is stony and not suitable for road bikes but hybrids and mountain bikes are fine. Walkers of course can of course walk alongside the cliff edges.

There was a strong headwind and I hoped this would not change on the way back.  There were a number of cyclists on the route as well as walkers and a number of climbers heading for the cliffs.

I stopped to look at St Govans Chapel a small building built into the cliffs and also stopped to look at Huntsmans Leap and the Elegug Stacks.

Stackpole Head

Elegug Stacks

Elegug Stacks
At the end of the path near Flimston I headed inland and road the lanes to overlook Freshwater West Bay.

Church with flock

Freshwater West

It was here a long time ago I experienced a rip tide.  I had capsized my kayak and instead of being pushed ashore in the surf I found myself heading out to sea. Thankfully I was seen and towed back to safety. I soon learned what to look for and to swim horizontally to the current if it happened again.

Following lunch I headed east along quiet lanes back through Castle Martin, Warren, St Twynnels and back to Bosherton.

St Twynnels