Matt Houlbrook: mobile historian; beard growing, head shaving; occasional cycling.
I’ve just got back to Oxford after spending a few days riding my bike from one end of Wales (almost) to the other. After a long year and a difficult few months I needed to get away so it was time to hit the open road. After a long train ride to Holyhead I slowly made my way south and east. For the most part I followed the Sustrans Lon Las Cymru route before swinging north to Hereford to meet up with my parents for a couple of days. Apart from a few torrential rain storms I got lucky with the weather and saw all the best that the Welsh mountains have to offer. It was far tougher than I was expecting; it was more remote than I was expecting–there were long stretches when it felt like I had the hills to myself; it was just as stunning as I was expecting though.
The headline facts and figures: 4 days / 251.93 miles / 20543 ft of climbing
The route (click through for the GPS tracks):
Day 1: Holyhead to Cricieth
Day 2: Cricieth to Machynlleth
Day 3: Machynlleth to Builth Wells
Day 4: Builth Wells to Torrington
I didn’t take many photographs: when you’re riding on your own there isn’t really a whole lot to photograph. I also prefer just to ride through the big hills rather than squeeze them into the lense of an iPhone. Here are a few though:
My bike: loaded and ready to go
My book: just in case in needed any more gruff masculine interiority en route.
A bleak beginning at Holyhead station and port.
Crossing the Menai Bridge and leaving Anglesey behind.
Obligatory nice cycle path photo
Traveling night with the Terra Nova Laser Comp
Barmouth and a bridge: what was it that Ruskin said?
Looking towards Cadair Idris
Big views from above Pennant and Staylittle
The open road calls and the clouds threaten
A beautiful bridge in Builth Wells
Bike homeward bound and waiting for a train