Hereford to Llandovery – day 3

I must have been in bed around 9 p.m. and the next thing I knew it was light and time for a wee. I looked at my phone and was amazed: 5.40. What’s more, I was warm: I felt wonderfully cosy under my new fleece blanket, which had condensation on the outside. It must have worked.

I got up to irrigate a laurel bush and then went back to bed and snoozed fitfully until 7.30. I got dressed and started packing  when my host arrived and invited me indoors for breakfast. I was treated to muesli with stewed plums (home grown), a boiled egg with toast and blackcurrant jam, all washed down with tea. We continued to chat about the politial situation, and the sad fact that Boris Johnson had sneaked a win in London. I handed the landlady £10 – for two nights: I’m coming back here after my trip to the Tywi valley and Llyn Brianne. This has to be the best £5 I’ve ever spent on a camp site.

It was around 10.20 that I eventually set off and I hadn’t been going long when I was overtaken by a small group of cyclists on steeds fully equipped with mudguards and Carradice Barley saddlebags. Of course! Tewdric had mentioned that the Brevet Cymru would be passing through Builth Wells some time during the day. The last chap to overtake me was riding a Van Nicholas whose rear mudguard rattled so much that, had it been my bike, I would have ripped the damned thing off and chucked it in the Wye.

I used NCN 43 to approach Builth Wells, which gave much better views of the Wye than did the road.

There was some sort of event involving horses and horse boxes going on at the show ground. It was far too soon to stop for 11ses and the town was very crowded so I carried on, again taking NCN 43, which involved climbing. I was soon too warm, but when a long descent arrived I was too cold again so I elected to get just a bit too warm on the ascents and remain comfortable whilst descending. There were some spectacular views.

I reached Llangammarch very quickly and hunted around for somewhere or 11ses. The Cammarch hotel was to hand, and I bought tea with a small slice of McVitie’s Jamaica Ginger Cake which cost me £3, a terrible rip-off. I carried on and was soon joined by a young chap who had recently returned to his home town of Abergavenny from a stint working in Leicester. He was out doing a local loop. “It’s like being on holiday all the time!” he remarked.

I must have been riding well as I was not aware of an especially large amount of climbing but when I checked the Garmin I had reached well over 1000′, including chevrons, and it was now time to descend. This was a wonderful exhilarating descent over several miles until I reached the A483, but I didn’t stop there and found myself hurtling along at 18 or 19 mph for long periods. Eventually I found the West End Café in Llandovery where I met Polepole, who was taking part in the Brevet Cymru, which was a very pleasant surprise.

She recommended the fish and chips, so I had some of those, and after than I visited the general store for milk and calories. I knew that where I was going for the next 24 hours or so would be devoid of places to buy supplies.

The road out of Llandovery was quiet and very gently climbing towards the camp site beyond Rhandirmwyn.

The Tywi Bridge Inn seemed to be trading well when I came past and I decided that I would retrace the mile or so from the camp site rather than cook for myself. I pitched the tent above the Tywi river and made straight for the pub where Evan Evans “May Fly” was on, as well as a very good Chinese-style beef with ginger followed by sticky toffee pudding. There was a distinct chill in the air as I was sitting outside the pub so I retired to the side room to eat my meal, after which I returned to my tent and snuggled under my blanket.

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