The place with the very long name

Day 8 (Wednesday) and this time last week we were hauling trailers out of Pontypridd towards Merthyr, full of excitement and trepidation for what lay ahead. If we knew what was actually ahead of us, I wonder what we would have thought, and if we might have just turned back and booked two weeks in a cottage somewhere warm. But looking back now, it’s safe to say that neither of us wants the trip to end. That’s the sign of a good adventure.

We woke at our campsite this morning to see snow on the mountain tops, which explained the random hail showers yesterday. There was definitely a Wintery feel in the air. Amy was taking first leg today so we drove back up to Bryncir and dropped her at a car park on Route 8 heading north. I trundled ahead with Dizzy in the campervan, gaping out of the window at the snow capped peaks of Snowdonia. At a half-way meet up, Amy was beaming from ear to ear with joy, having just had a relatively easy first few miles on a traffic free route. In comparison to some of the days we’ve had, we felt like we deserved a little light relief and riding that we could actually enjoy. Our pit-stop and change over was in the shadow of Caernarfon Castle, where we made a plan for my next leg but left our final destination for the day a little bit open.

On the way to Anglesey

When we first made our plans to ride through all 22 counties of Wales, heading onto Anglesey had to involve a quick stop at the place with the longest name. I’m not going to type it out, so here’s a picture instead:

Amy and Dizzy hanging out at Llanfair….

After a few quick snaps I made my way back over the bridge into Gwynedd and navigated badly through Bangor. Google maps came to my rescue and I met up for my pit-stop just outside the city. We did our usual change over routine and I sent Amy off onto Route 5 which was now the North Wales Coast route heading East. I put my feet up for a few minutes and had a bite to eat, which was interrupted by a text from Amy “Gone wrong, heading back”. Unwittingly I’d sent her off in the wrong direction, back towards Bangor. Oops. “Did you enjoy your warm up?” I asked. Luckily she saw the funny side and pushed on in the right direction.

Route 5 pretty much hugs the A55 which also hugs the coast so the views were once again pretty cool. It was amazing to see the sea lapping gently on the beach, in comparison to Barmouth the other day which was more like armageddon. My second mistake of the day was suggesting to Amy that because the route follows the coast, it will be flat. She took a photo to prove a point:

Another character building hill

We swapped again at Penmaenmawr and I was treated to mainly flat, traffic free riding all the way into Conwy where I stumbled across the smallest house in Great Britain. Awww bless.

I managed not to end up on the A55 despite taking a wrong turn, and found my way through Mochdre to press on towards Old Colwyn. It was here that I met an old couple huffing and puffing their way up an incline on the cycle route towards me and the woman gave me a toothy grin and asked “So where are you going then?”. Truth was I couldn’t remember the name of the place so I answered with “Somewhere down there beginning with L?” in a questioning-type way hoping that she’d know the answer,  which she did. They were a retired husband and wife team campervanning their way around different parts of the Wales Coastal Path and riding bits of it that were accessible to their little Brompton-style bikes with no gears. The woman seemed super excited to have someone to share their ventures with, and was spitting at me with the speed that words were falling from her mouth. Luckily I was just out of spit-reach. I said my cherios but got hooked back into conversation again, until I just had to be a bit more blunt and pedal off after our 10 minute spit, I mean chat.

Amy had gone on ahead and found our campsite, checked in and got the kettle on, so when I rolled up with only 7 gears again, there was very little to do. I’ll need another bike shop visit tomorrow while Amy sets off back on Route 5 east towards Rhyl.

We are super happy with what we’ve achieved today, but a little sad that it could all be over tomorrow. She’s already making plans to ride somewhere warm “next time” 😃

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