Leaving Brecon behind in my asphalt dust, I should’ve known a huge climb awaited me. Just on the outskirts of town, it began and up and up I climbed…or in this case walked. The whole time thinking about how tasty some fish and chips sounded. Unfortunately, the small shop I had found in Brecon was closed during the middle of the day and I had just missed the lunchtime opening. Getting tired of pedaling for 30ft and then hiking some more, my stomach was already eating itself, so it was time for a break and a yummy wrap to refuel. Before long I had made it! Overlooking Brecon, it was a fantastic view.
Down, down, down I headed gaining speed and enjoying the cool breeze in the face. Heading deeper into the beacons, I was out of the city limits and into the hills. So began my next agonizing climb. It was a tough and long one lasting about 2 hours. I was so happy to reach the saddle and cruised down the other side. Rounding a corner, I couldn’t believe what I saw. A gorgeous lake down below that I couldn’t resist snapping a picture and taking a moment…or three to soak in this scenery.
It was time for some single track! Oh it has been awhile since I’ve hit some fun single track through forest. Before long, I was back down in the valley after reaching 40mph on the fire road. Time for food! I found a small restaurant in a small village (Bwlch) and ate a big meal. With 2 hours of daylight left, I continued pressing on hiking back up through the mountains. This track was completely unrideable with the steep ascent angle. In the end, I was graced with a breathtaking view and a great sleeping spot that I just so happened to stumble upon. It was just too perfect to pass up; a nice and well kept little brick hut.
Morning came and after some snacks and coffee, it was time to continue on. Still making my way through the Beacons, I ascended into the clouds. Fog was all around me as I made it up and over another pass. What a cool experience! It was another long day of riding and eventually made it to Bath after 12 hours, where I met up with Ralph. He came to meet me on the road and together we pedaled the last couple miles together to his place. Helen, who I had stayed with on the Isle of Man, had connected me up with Ralph since they were good friends. The bicycle community is such a wonderful place full of great people!
Ralph was a great host and showed me some of the outstanding architecture in Bath. Thanks for a great time Ralph! Loading up in the morning, I followed the canal path to Avebury. This was a fantastic 35 mile ride. It was easy and flat but that doesn’t matter because what made this ride so pleasant was the various houseboats located along the whole canal. Looking at each one as I rode by kept me entertained for the duration of this segment. Each boat set up differently and customized to the person who owned it.
Arriving into Avebury at lunchtime, some bacon wrapped chicken was calling my name. Now Avebury is like Stonehenge, except here you can go right up to the rocks and the actual town is surrounded by three different stone circles and contains the largest circle in the UK. It was a pretty cool sight to see and the Red Lion Pub where I grabbed food is surrounded by one of these circles.
Just outside Avebury, I hopped onto the Ridgeway National Trail. This would take me 87 miles and just 25 miles shy of my end point. It was a great ride with some fantastic views that I didn’t believe were possible in the southwest of England. Meeting and talking to several different people on the way just helped reinforce why I chose to bikepack. More on the Ridgeway National Trail HERE.
It was time for the home stretch from Ivinghoe Becon to Letchworth. Only 25 miles to go and it seemed to last forever! As the sun was setting, I still had another hour to go. My thoughts were running all over the place and it was difficult to keep my head screwed on straight. I was so ready to be back in a house where I could relax and have some home cooked meals for awhile. Finally pulling into my cousins house at 10:30pm, I had made it! A delicious chicken curry awaited me and I scarfed it down with a tired, happy, and relieved expression on my face.
This had been a life changing adventure as I not only completed the last 550+ miles from Liverpool but 2 months bikepacking and traveling the UK. There were parts that were quite tough to deal with (rain, rain, and more rain..oh and hail) but the good far outweighed these. I made some lasting friendships and saw many sites and places that many locals don’t even experience. Most of all I am looking forward to the next time my path might cross with the many people that were so kind and gracious towards me!