I bid farewell to host Katrina and (head of security) Jake: a picture was essential and represents a desperate attempt to get a “like plus comment” (in my dreams) for my blog:
He was going to the vet later….Awww!
So on to the bike gingerly pedalling in low low gears to Clive Powell cycles in Rhayader who fixed my bike : new chain..and new cassette (ouch!) with new extra big granny/grandad gear for Welsh mountains. Oh yes.. and a chain splitter spoke fixer Topeak multitool was another bargain buy from this Aladdins cave of a bike shop which is also a pub!
I’m told bike nerds are my only audience for contributions on bike parts and settings (thank you readers, all feedback appreciated) so you will have to wait for a ‘tech’ wash-up post for details on my wonderful new chain.
Now I must share my bird watching highlights of this sunny blustery day in the Wye and Élan valleys : first, a mousey little tree creeper . Then both kinds of woodpecker within a few minutes. And last but not least, majestic Red kites !! Shockingly large brightly coloured hawks with forked tails that shift about the skies at great speed. Still a little hard to believe they are indigenous. My iPhone Red Kite video is a triumph (but could be any bird and is not uploaded : Ed)
After several days without meeting fellow pilgrims I’ve had quite a day of it. There was a delightful man who’d walked from Cornwall – just 15 miles a day with plenty of rests. And looking very well on it.
Later a couple from Bristol doing Lon las on a tandem! I was amazed at the climbing power of their machine, but fear a little for them on the rough stretches and the steep North Wales hills.
And most enigmatic was a hi-visibility Man who’d come from Lands End and apparently lost the power of speech somewhere on the way. In his defence he had just been warned by the lady in Llangurig post office that it got proper hilly from here on. He would have passed a sign saying he had just reached the highest village in Wales (1000ft above sea level) and had probably been looking forward to coasting downhill the rest of the way. I stopped my bike as he approached : he returned my good morning without slowing, and raced past. Llangurig (literally, church of St Curig) is said to date back to the 7th (seventh!) C ( AD), and was supported by the monks of Strata Florida Abbey 13 miles to the West. The present church is contemporary by comparison having been built in 15th century (not long before Strata Florida was ‘dissolved’).
Another taste of history was the ancient coach road between Rhayader and Newbridge on Wye. Overhung by trees, stony and undulating; a Dick Turpin kind of woodland highway.
The Builth Wells healing waters are, unfortunately, a thing of the Victorian past so I have had to be content with ibuprofen for creaking 200 mile legs. At least I can resort to a little prayer if knees allow in one of Builth’s many churches.