I had covered far fewer miles than I had hoped on the 1st day and when I rose from my warm slumber into the cold damp morning I felt an overwhelming urge to pack up and go home. I had every piece of clothing that I had on and could not stop my violent shivering.
Some adventurer I turned out to be, at the 1st sign of any real discomfort I had contemplated every sound reason why I should retire but realised that the only thing I could do was to de-camp and set off on the bike to get warm.
Once underway the weather was showing signs of improvement and I instantly felt encouraged to see if I could make up for lost ground. I headed towards a village near my next checkpoint at Strata Florida and planned on picking up some supplies for the day and found a small local newsagent. This being Wales I found that it was also a café and a central meeting area for locals early on a Sunday morning. Two other WRT riders had already sniffed out this little gem and so I joined them for a full English whilst drying some kit in what was now becoming a bright and sunny day.
Moel Prysgau Bothy
Comparing routes, we decided to ride together and proceeded to have an extremely memorable day through the Tywi forest, to the Moel Prysgau Bothy, the 7 splashes, Doethie Valley and a lap around the beautiful Llyn Brianne reservoir. As the evening began to draw in we managed to refuel on an enormous pub meal before heading off to ‘The Ritz’ of bothies; Claerddu, just north of the Teiffi pools. With a roof, floor, gas, hot and cold running water and a flushing loo, this was certainly roughing it in style. The other 11 WRT riders who also found themselves there that night agreed. What a fantastic end to what was an amazing day on the bike. I had managed to cover far more miles than I had expected and I couldn’t imagine a bigger contrast in emotions from how I felt early that morning. To top it off it was great to catch up with some other the other guys after a couple of days riding, their stories contrasted greatly. Some seemed to have spent hours caught in bogs making very little progress over two days, whilst others had swept around their route and had enjoyed an excellent time on the bike… such are the benefits of local knowledge!
Early rise the next morning (one up, all up) saw me heading off on my own again, this time towards Devil’s Bridge as the others headed east toward Monk’s Trot. An uneventful but equally spectacular ride followed taking me to Nanty Arian reservoir, the infamous Checkpoint No12, along a section of the Trans Cambrian Way and finally back to the start point at Pennant, where a cup of tea and some welsh cakes was waiting.
Stuart never asked for the Checkpoint sheets when we returned and equally none were offered. The checkpoints were just cues that allowed you to experience fantastic riding through the relative wilderness and beauty of Mid Wales and the Cambrian mountains.