Over the Border, Down Mexico Way
Well Over the Border, Down Wales Way lacks the same ring.
A beautiful day at home raised expectations for a nice run down the M4 to Wales. These were not surprisingly dashed at Slough ("come friendly bomb and fall on Slough", you can google the rest, well worth while if you've ever been to Slough) by fog/low cloud which ran the entire way to the Severn Bridge.
I stood it for as long as I could but had to stop at Newbury to put in the jacket liner before I froze solid. Another stop a bit later for a surprisingly good scone and coffee and we were in Wales. God bless Marks & Sparks "Simply Food", most un-British but they have stuff with taste!
Our planned route to Monmouth on the recommended A466 was not signposted so we missed the turn and ended up doing a cross country to Harold's Stones at Trelleck. 3500 years old rocks (why did they do this?) plus a very lovely St Anne's Healing(?) spring, festooned with ribbons and scarves and all sorts. Plainly the spring is still doing a big trade. Fortunately a local suggested that the police might take exception to our parking in the middle of a junction, (I can't see why, there was no traffic) and suggested we migrate to a nearby car park. Clearly a good plan.
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Devil Take It
Up very early on account of the bog next door (or possibly in the room from the volume of it). After faffing about for an hour I took myself off for a walk as breakfast is not until 8:30 however this proved to be a blessing as otherwise I would not have seen the ruined abbey just up the road.
A large and robust breakfast was very satisfactory and we got underway about 10am by which time jacket liners were not required and the day was set to be glorious.
We went through Hay-on-Wye which the locals have turned into 'book town', this has been a most satisfactory conversion as the place is fair buzzing. Economic development agencies need to take note with our first stop for the day in Brecon for coffee and cake. Joan attempted to lose her ear plug applicator down a stoem water drain but it stuck on the dirt between the bars, lucky.
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Woke at 6am and had a quick look out of the window at the prefect morning coming in over the hills. By 7:00 and my second look it was clear that the forecast rain had set in and it looked rather grim as well as being much cooler. This called for breakfast in style and slow time.
By ten the rain had stopped (also as forecast) and we were able to gingerly set forth to Rhayader and our planned trip around the lead mine, the lake Llyn Clywedog and up to Macgynlleth (also as recommended on bestbikingroads.com). This is another great trip and cannot be highly enough recommended!
Lunch was really rather nice sitting outside he cafe with an organic pasty and excellent ginger beer with a proper french onion seller doing a roaring trade to the passers by. Then on via a lovely high(ish) speed twisty road to the famous village of Portmerion in NW Wales where the cult 60's TV show The Prisoner was filmed plus there is a renowned pottery here. My colleague in this trip, Biker Gran, and the ticket seller seemed to hit it off but we finally got in despite this bantenage.
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