This morning I woke to bright sunshine and no wind, and it has stayed like that for most of the day while I’ve been cycling through some beautiful countryside.
The temperature overnight has dropped considerably in the last few days, and last night I was cold despite wearing all of my clothes. So this morning I decided to go shopping in Monmouth for a new sleeping bag. The one I was advised to buy was on a “buy one get one free” offer, so I ended up posting two bags back to London. This meant that I was late setting out from Monmouth. Also the terrain, as well as being stunning, was also hard work, particularly since my knee was quite painful.
The route took me up the Monnow valley, past the castles of Skenfrith and Grosmont. The latter had a particularly tough hill leading into it, so I took advantage of a chance to stop and re-provision at the Post Office and General Store. This was a charming shop with counter service. I also bought food for elevenses, which I eat at the castle – despite it now being midday.
My route then took me up the Golden Valley with a short, Sharp hop over the hill at the head of the valley to drop into the Wye valley and cross that river at a toll bridge with a wooden deck.
I had resolved to try to go without a pub lunch today, so that I could get some extra miles in. However, by the time I got to Eardisley I convinced myself that a quick sandwich would be in order, so I entered the Tram Inn. I ordered a ham baguette which was to be washed down with a pint of Hereford Gold from the Hereford Brewery. The baguette was a full meal as it came with a good portion of chips and a salad. It was really good, made with best quality local ham. The beer was good too, and I got chatting easily with Mark, the proprietor, who did not have any trouble persuading me to have pudding – lovely home made rice pudding. Yum! When I came to pay, Mark very kindly gave me a donation to the appeal which equalled the cost of my food, along with a card from him and his wife, Kerry wishing me luck with the rest of my journey.
By now the afternoon was half gone, and I was resigned to putting in less mileage than I had planned. But I pushed on through continuing pretty back roads.
At Lingen I saw a sandwich board outside of the Methodist chapel inviting passers by in for quiet prayer and DIY refreshment. At this stage my water bottles were running low, so I decided to investigate. I said a few prayers about my father, the big ride and my knees, and then filled my bottles and helped myself to a cup of tea and some biscuits. Thank you, the kind and thoughtful people of Lingen!
By now it was getting quite late, so I looked on the map for a convenient camp site, and made for the one at Snead, on the Welshpool road, about 20 miles away, and for the first time on the trip I deployed my flourecent waistcoat and lights to get there.
On arrival at Daisy Bank I was greeted by the charming owner, and found that the site had the best bathroom facilities of any that I have stayed in.
So a fantastic day of good weather, excellent scenery and friendly people (and just the small matter of my knee).
[the phone data signal seems poor this evening, so pictures will probably follow later]