Monday, 23 June 2014

Welsh 3 Peaks Hike & Bike Challenge – Day 2

There are two reason why we got up had breakfast and cracked on with getting ready for the ride down to Brecon Beacons which lay ahead. The more romantic version is: We woke early to yet another beautiful day, blue skies and the low morning sun casting shadows on the steep slopes of Craig Goch which towers above the serene waters of Tal-y-llyn Lake, if this does not inspire you for the day ahead then nothing will. This is the non-romantic and probably more realistic version, ruddy midges, hundreds of the little gits!! However the first version was also true.

Ready to go

So off we set 85 miles to go, and it started as it meant to carry on, climbing a hill although this climb up to Corris Uchaf did present a nice view down towards Tal-y-llyn Lake. We turned off the main A487 to pick up the small quiet road which is also national cycleway 8; this took us down to Machynlleth past the centre for alternative technology. Once through the town we turned right continuing on cycle route 8 on the mountain road up over the highest point of the ride at 510m the climb up to this point was tough but we did stop to admire the views before the descent down past the stunning Llyn Clywedog and into Llanidloes for our first stop where Ryan was waiting for us with some grub and top up water.

Tal-y-llyn lake

Llyn Clywedog
It was now getting very hot, refreshed we departed the picturesque town of Llanidloes again continuing to follow cycle route 8 to Llangurig, from here still on route 8 we rode along a lovely stretch following the River Wye down to Rhayader. Although for a small section I did wonder if our road bikes would make it as the surface became very uneven and I was very surprised but also very pleased that we didn’t get any punctures. Once in Rhayader we stopped for lunch at a café in the town centre again Ryan meeting and joining us there. This was a nice welcome break and once again we set off feeling revitalized.

Off road - on road!!
While back on the main A470 for a stretch down to Newbridge-on-Wye I was cursing as my Garmin cycle computer decided to ‘have a moment’ I thought I had lost all the data from the ride up till this point but thankfully it sorted itself out and the cursing stopped although when I looked back it certainly lost some data but only a couple of miles or so, I would have been gutted if it had all the previous data. Anyway at Newbridge we turned off on the B4358 which is quite an undulating road up and down, up and down. At Glandulas we headed south towards Garth and our next meeting point with Ryan.  From Garth we then headed south but up and I do mean up the B4519 past the viewpoint at 455m and entered the ‘Danger Area’ red flags flying so no straying off road, not that we were going to anyway. While riding through this Danger Area we caught our first glimpse of Pen y Fan the end was in sight. A quick descent down into Brecon and then the final stretch the A470 climb from Brecon up to the Storey Arms car park, this was actually a nice gradual climb long a constant gradient meaning we could keep a constant speed all the way up, the legs where tired when we stopped at the car park and not surprising as we had done 85 miles which involved over 9,000ft of climbing. I have to say this was a great ride, tough but great. The scenery going through Mid Wales was simply stunning. Ride details are below.

Climb out of Garth
Let me take a selfie
First glimpse of Pen y Fan
All that remained now was the walk up Pen y Fan; I had almost forgotten that we had to do this while spending most of the day cycling. The walk up the highest point in the Brecon Beacons any other time is not exactly a taxing one but both Mitch and I looked and felt a bit weary now as we dragged our aching limbs up the path, and it was a welcome sight when the summit came into view at Bwlch Duwynt. The final few metres to the cairn and NT sign which adorn Pen y Fan’s summit where filled with congratulatory words it was also very nice to share this moment with Ryan who accompanied us up the Fan, as I previously stated he was an integral part of the team and his support was much appreciated. I stood on the top with a big smile on my face satisfied with our achievement. We didn’t hang about and made our way back to the car park, third peak done, challenge complete! Pen y Fan chalked off in 1hour and 40 mins.

The conversation went onto what next……….. I didn’t want to think about it at the time, now a few days later the mind is thinking of national 3 peaks Hike & Bike??? Mmm maybe???

Last peak

Nearly There
Challenge Complete - Pen y Fan summit


  1. Beautiful blue skies and clear views there! Shame about the midges, they seem to be very bad this year!

    1. Thanks Howellsey it was a stunning couple of days, could not have timed it right with the weather. I suppose we only have ourselves to blame for the midges as we camped near the river, still they were a pain in the .......