22 miles: total 4,128 miles
A rest day – but what a tough 22 miles (especially after yesterday).
You would have thought that with only four days left to go, I’d be feeling pretty damn confident, if not a little bit smug. Nothing could be further from the truth: if I were the kind of person who bites his nails they’d be down to the quick by now. Of course, the weather doesn’t help – the forecast is for more rain, and (worse still) wind, as if the elements had decided I should finish as I started. And I’ve got quite high mileages for the last four days too, including 93 on Tuesday from Caernarfon to the Wirral. But there’s only one thing I can do – keep pedalling, however long each day takes to complete. But I could do with my legs feeling a bit stronger – perhaps after this afternoon’s rest they’ll be in good shape tomorrow.
After a little lie-in this morning I left Aberaeron around 9 o’clock and stayed with the busy main road towards Aberystwyth for several miles. In places it’s quite narrow but the traffic was pretty good and gave me a wide berth. The ups and downs are gentle but long, or at least they were until I turned on to more minor roads, where a big lorry coming the other way had me climbing up the bank to make room for us both!
Once again I came across a ROAD CLOSED sign. You get used to these – if they are to do with the army, you respect them, but a quick look at the map showed a river in about half a mile, and an educated guess was that the bridge would be under repair, so I carried on. My prediction was correct and there was enough room to squeeze a bike over, so no detour was necessary.
The weather was being quite kind, though a heavy shower was falling on Aberystwyth. Although it’s only five or six miles from here to Borth, there isn’t a single metre that’s flat – it’s yet another roller-coaster, and it seemed to take forever, ending in a long 25% descent down to the seaside town where Morrissey says ‘Every day is like Sunday’ (although whether he was more inspired by Nevil Shute’s ‘On The Beach’ is a moot point).
Enough of this culture. An afternoon off, and a change of crew – Frank and Bernadette Brown left for Clitheroe after looking after me in fine style for a week (they need to get home so they can pack for their next holiday in a week’s time)! ‘She who must be obeyed’ Val, plus daughter Catherine and brother-in-law Alan, have returned for the final four days, and as I write, Val is re-organising the motorhome to her own personal requirements.
Tomorrow I’m hoping that there really is a footbridge alongside the railway bridge at Barmouth, otherwise I’m in for a long detour! And let’s hope the wind isn’t of tree-toppling proportions!
If I’ve time I’m going to post another blog with a bit of a re-cap for all the new readers who weren’t here at the outset. I’ll see how it goes.