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.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Nantymoel & Bassaleg Super 8

This route includes the famous climb up the Bwlch. However; getting to the start at Nantymoel is so long and full of diverse landscape that's it's going to take a few trips to photograph it all.

Man, I love this route. I went out mostly for a training ride, but it's so damn gorgeous I had to take some photos. Looking back now I know what to shoot and where. I just need a longer day.

The ride is pretty straight-forward from my house through Llantrisant. It's once you leave Thomastown that NCN Route 4 gets really interesting.

Get yer gravel on! It's quite a climb up through the woods to the top of this ridge and then you enter onto some private farm land. It's not a very long section, but it sure is fun.

Passing through the gate at the far end of the paddock(s), you re-enter onto pavement and yeah, it's fabulous. Can you say; "zero traffic"?

There are just a couple of farms along the route... some kinda driveway, eh?

This just rolls along for approximately 4 miles. Stunning.

Up the hill through the woods and over the fields...

There's a great cycle route from Blackmill up through Nantymoel on NCN Route 883. It's a re-purposed rail line so it's super easy. You can basically just sit back and enjoy the views.

It's when you're leaving Nantymoel, however; that it gets really interesting. This is the famous "Bwlch" or Hellfire Pass. It is the second highest public road mountain pass in Wales and well known by all the serious cyclists.

It's quite common to see loads of cyclists climbing this mountain in great spinning pelotons of sweat. I don't know where they were today... perhaps a bit too cold and windy?

A good idea, but I definitely need to go back to re-shoot this image.

Looking southwest from near the top you can see the Bristol Channel at Port Talbot over 12 miles away (as a crow flies).

The detailed segment for the Bwlch.

Look at the wind turbines in the clouds.

At the top looking over toward Cwmparc.

It's a crazy fast ride down the other side. And no... I didn't get any shots of that for obvious reasons!

Can you spot my bike? Everything looses scale up here.

Report Card
Ride Name: Nantymoel & Bassaleg
Start Date: Sat. Feb. 17, 2018
Starts in: Oakdale, Wales, GB
Departed: 7:30 AM
Distance: 94.8 / 152.6 km
Elevation: + 6341 / - 6342 ft
Max Grade: 12.0%
Total Duration: 12:43:04
Moving Time: 09:02:47
Stopped Time: 03:40:17
Max. Speed: 37.7 mph
Avg. Speed: 10.5 mph
Weather: cloudy
Temperature: 8°c / 46°f
Despite the cold temperatures and blowing wind - the ride was just so damn pretty that I felt compelled to take a few photos. I'll go back later this spring/summer for a more detailed outline of the route. Meanwhile, if you'd like to see a few more photos of the area in general, check out my gallery from 2016: "Cymmer & Cwm-parc"

That's all for now... Cheers! cm

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