21 August 2010

B2Y2: Dolgellau to Shrewsbury: Rain stopped play

Bah. Got as far as Shrewsbury and then gave up.

It had rained incessantly since I started from Barmouth, and I was soaking and miserable. Mending punctures in driving rain with trench-foot is no fun.

En route I went over the Bwlch Oerddrws on the A470, one of the highest road passes in Wales, except all I could see was clouds of November grey and the tail-lights of lorries that had just cascaded me with puddle water.

I'd been aiming to stay at one of the youth hostels at Ironbridge, but they were closed for school groups, and the only alternatives were prohibitively expensive. With rather less liquidity in my pocket than there was in the air, I gave the whole thing up as a bad job and came home, smelling of wet road.

I'll do this route again properly when I'm in a better frame of mind. And when there's less of the Atlantic on top of me.

Miles today: 60
Miles since Barmouth: 72

19 August 2010

B2Y 1: Barmouth to Dolgellau

I'm now en route, as we say in English, from Barmouth to (Great) Yarmouth, as the second of my series of coast-to-coast bike tours between rhyming English towns.

My train arrived at Barmouth around 4pm, just in time for the torrential rain to start.

Barmouth's tourist info was closed for staff training, so I couldn't ask them where to buy the once-famous biscuits. Perhaps they all ended up in my grandma's airing cupboard.

The most notable attraction in Barmouth is not the beach, but the Carousal cafe (supposedly a mis-spelling of 'Carousel') whose initial letter dropped off a few years ago. It has become so famous for its truncated new name that they haven't bothered to replace it.

The second most notable attraction in Barmouth is the historic wooden bridge that carries trains, pedestrians and bikes across the Mawddach estuary. The Victorians built it and it survived being eaten by worms in the 20th century.

On the other side is a lovely traffic-free rail trail running all alongside the estuary ten miles or so to Dolgellau, where I'm staying, and where it's raining. Hard.

Miles today: 12
Miles since Barmouth: 12