Wales! Bikepacking on a Brompton - empty roads, empty hills - snow, rain, sun, hail, happiness!
Good morning! from London. I'm on the way to Wales. So, why Wales? Well, my elder brother and sister-in-law live in Anglesey I thought I'd go and visit them, and to get there I'd cycle and camp through Wales, which is a part of the country I don't really know at all So I was going to get the train to Stafford and then ride from there. The ride would be about 140 miles, with a lot of climbing through Snowdonia, so it was going to be much harder than anything I've done since chemotherapy which had to do last year when my breast cancer came back. I hoped the daily exercise that I've been doing would mean that I had the resilience and strength to enjoy it and I was super excited about heading out to the hills I've just left Stafford which was easy actually.
I'm always a little bit nervous at the beginning because I need to kind of feel that everything's fine , and the luggage is fine, and the bike's OK Hello! Hi! Beautiful morning isn't it. Yeh So, it was March - early March - and actually it had been really snowy. The forecast was not terrible but not very good and it was really cold Oof. OK, done that I'm kind of running out of options So, not perfect, cos there's a track And there's loads of really curious sheep My legs are a bit wet. Round the knees.
So I'm going to quickly make some food and, yeah, and then get nice and cosy So it is tortellini in chicken cup a soup So I have set up my chair. It's called a Trekker chair, which you can set up using your sleeping mat. You fold it and then clip it, so it makes a little comfy seat And this is so nice! It's actually warm. I mean it's not hot, it's not dangerous so I'm having tea and hobnobs By the morning it's gonna be about 7 degrees and there's going to be some sunshine. Oh my god I would just love it if I had a little bit of sun
to just get the edge off the temperature. That would be brilliant I think it's gonna stop raining soon Ah so nice! It's quite early, it's about erm 6:30, probably more than that now Ah it's so good, it's drying the tent. It's a lovely day! Ah look at the mountains over there! Wow, exciting Well it was good actually. Obviously this is a track, but it's not really used because there's no traces of wheels on it, but uh I was kind of worried all the same But it was really good Right oh god it looks like a pile of rubbish So, goodbye little spot! Okay this could be awful now, so I've got to walk down the field And get over the stile, so I'm just carrying the second bag, because I'm gonna have to unload it all to get over the stile. So off we go!
So the plan for the day was to ride across the border into Wales, across the Berwyns, and get to Bala Well it's miles warmer today. Look at me! no gloves on Yesterday I had double gloves on. Gosh, super nice now! I'm actually quite nervous And I must stop it, because that's not helping enjoy it But obviously it's going to be a fair bit of climbing and last time I did a lot of climbing was in the Peak District And I couldn't manage it. I really hope that the exercise that I'd done had made me strong enough I just met a really nice woman cyclist, who said, 'don't worry, just take care about your food and your nutrition and you'll be okay'. She was really nice
She was an ex racing cyclist too, actually A really nice person lovely view This is the border! This little river. Wales! So now I was leaving Powys, and heading up into the Berwyns, and towards the old Kingdom of Gwynedd I'm doing it! I was kind of pinning my hopes on that being the top, and it is kind of not Hello This is finally it! Yay! I think this must be it, oh god Well done! Right hold onto your hats Cosy! So now I was in Gwynedd which was a kingdom that had been strong because of its massive mountains and because of its brilliant farmland in Anglesey. This was the land of Llewellyn Don't want the bike to blow over The weather forecast tomorrow is just shocking it's just heavy rain all day and quite windy. Today felt pretty windy up on the tops Tomorrow it's going to be more um and today I climbed about 1500 foot and tomorrow it'll be 2,300, so it's it's So it's a fair bit more, but it's not like double, so I'm thinking I will probably manage.
I just need to really be careful with food, like almost double the food, or like increase the frequency of food, so that I keep my energy going. So I'm just looking at the maps for tomorrow. This is today's map actually. This is tomorrow's. Oh god look how many contour lines there are there, oh my god But the day after, actually, going down to the coast the day after, the weather's much better like sun and everything, so that could be amazing Yeah, so I just need to really look after myself now Rest, and eat That's it! Gosh it looks good actually, looks really good I'm really proud that I've actually got this far, I mean I scaled the trip to be as easy as possible really. I'm doing kind of 35 miles a day. And I go from thinking oh god I can only do 35 miles, to thinking actually 35 miles here is not bad Now tomorrow it's going to be an absolute shocker of a day I think The weather's going to be crap. But if I actually manage it I'll be I'll be
really pleased with myself. Actually if I manage it, and I enjoy it because there's no point doing it if it's just a struggle. So we'll see. We'll see. Anyway I've got some tea and I'm gonna have
chocolate tonight. It's going to be lovely Morning! It's absolutely shocking weather It's about six o'clock now Right I'm gonna go to Bala village, and just suss out whether this is actually feasible. Yeh ride to the village And see My glasses might blow off haha Oh so pretty Oh god! It is terrible weather! This is so hard This is the Conwy River. Oh my god
The wind had actually felt dangerous and I was really wet so I decided to cut the day short, and stop at Betws-y-Coed So it's going to be here, oh thank god So the goal today is Anglesey, and Snowden actually gonna take a really steady, and hopefully it'll be okay When you have had a really rough time and then the sun comes out you really appreciate it I'm so glad that I didn't do this yesterday Look how beautiful it is now Right so now I'm here, and this is where there's quite a lot of oh my god, quite a lot of climbing to do now, so we're going over Pen-y-Pass, woo Just keep eating. I've got lots to drink. Actually it's just coffee now but it'll be fine That's the pass It's really cold There's a huge headwind actually. It's downhill. And I'm pedalling Ah that was good haha It's time for lunch So I've got oat biscuits and carrot. And in here is the last ration of cheese. So these were the mountains of Gwynedd, the strongest of Wales's medieval kingdoms Now I just had to get to the sea and cross to Anglesey I was so nearly there now, but actually the Welsh weather was going to throw one more thing at me It's hailing The sea! So blue! It's lovely I was so happy that I had managed it, and enjoyed it and so grateful that I can do things like this again I rode across Anglesey and was welcomed by my sister-in-law in the evening sun