Introduction

This is my love letter to Wales. I am fascinated with it's rich history and rugged landscape. Within 50 miles I can travel over 5000 years. The Bronze and Iron Ages, the Middle Ages, and the not so distant Industrial Revolution all huddle beside each other amongst the verdant Southeast Valleys. This is where I ride and this is why I write.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

BIKE & HIKE
The Punchbowl


Hot on the heels of our trip to the Folly Tower above Pontypool, Ivor suggested a ride to the "The Punchbowl". Having not heard of this place, yet confident in both Ivor's recommendations and our previous success; this next adventure did not disappoint.


Of course too, this ride would require a bit of climbing... (as do most all rides in Wales). So on the following Tuesday we set off for Blaenavon and the much revered; "Blorenge".


The clouds were heavy with a heavy blanket of mist as we ascended 1500 feet to the summit.


Climbing The Blorenge is not for the faint of heart, yet once at the top; the 360° views across the heather and into the surrounding valleys are stunning.


At the car park near the summit, we turned down a rough road and climbed another 100 feet to a high ridge seemingly at the edge of the world!




We then had to ditch our bikes to begin our descent by foot...




And then... quietly... slowly... she appeared through the thick trees.

















  Ride Report Card
  Ride Name: The Punchbowl
  Ride Date: August 22, 2017
  Distance: 84.0 mi
  Duration: 13:47:54
  Moving Time: 08:01:44
  Elevation: + 5221 / - 5220 ft
  Avg. Speed: 10.5 mph
  Weather: Clouds & mist
  Temperature: 21c / 70f
There's a link below that provides some history about this place and all I can say is that it's well worth the effort. We met a few folks walking about and everyone agreed... it is quite special. First off, it is incredibly quiet - quiet to the point that it makes everyone whisper. Birds calling, toads croaking, and even just crunching through the grass is amplified from the sides of the surrounding hillside.

We walked around the perimeter, climbed a bit along one side, then after a long look back, we slowly climbed our way up the hill to our bikes.

The thing about Wales that astounds me continuously is that there is so much to see within such a small area. This place is tiny. And though it may take a bit of effort to reach some of these remote locations; actually, they are all within a reasonable distance. Wales has such a depth of history... it fascinates me. I am truly in awe. I am a lucky boy.




Far off in the distance, The Skirrid looms under foreboding clouds.



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