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.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Looking for Clydach Gorge...

Yesterday was quite a day. I set out thinking I'd have a straight-forward ride to Abergavenny and meet with the folks of Sustrans, but that turned out to be rather naive, to put it mildly.

Following a backbreaking climb from Tredegar to Brynmawr, I rode east along the cliffs of NCN 46 for about 2 miles to suddenly find Clydach gorge closed due to construction and renovations. Urgh. (see photo below...)

Not to be deterred, I cycled back to the entrance and tried a different approach up toward LLanally Hill. 30 minutes later I knew that there was no turning back. The narrow road turned to an unpaved trail then to a dirt path and finally to what can be best described as a "goat track".

I found myself at the top of a mountain without GPS service and no where to go but down... down a very steep road. And so I continued on with only a vague notion of where I was heading when suddenly from around a blind curve another cyclist popped up and asked; "where ya headed, mate?" And with that surprising encounter I was lead down the mountain into Gilwern and then Abergavenny.

Once into town I came across a group of gentlemen relaxing on a bench by the park along the Usk river. As it turned out, they had ridden their vintage touring bikes up from Cwmcarn. Weird?!? So after a brief introduction, explanation, and the general "how-do-ya-do's", they offered to lead me back down the valley... and away we went. What a wonderful surprise.

Meanwhile here are a few more shots from around Clydach Gorge.

and here's the gratuitous "bike shot"...

Despite having a great little adventure, I unfortunately did not meet up with the group from Sustrans... until next time. Cheers!

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