Rhayader to Tregaron

Over the Cambrian Mountains
Over the Cambrian Mountains

We all slept really well, clean sheets, comfortable beds. But it was a strange place, the door was wedged open all night and the radiators in the hall and bathroom were full on for the whole of the warm night. Breakfast was included in the price of £19.50 and was served in the pub around the corner. It was very poor… tea, instant coffee and a kettle laid out on the bar along with cereals and white bread. Only the cooked part was served at table and the owner was nonplussed that we were vegetarian, asking if black pudding was alright – this from a man in the catering business.

We set off at 9:15 along a lovely cycle path, formerly the trackbed of a temporary railway built for the construction of the vast Elan Valley reservoirs to supply Birmingham. The visitor centre supplied real coffee where the pub failed, accompanied by cake to fortify us for the remainder of the morning. Weather was a mixture of sun and cloud very warm at times. The cycle track met the road for the run past the last reservoirs then became a track but much easier for cycling than yesterday’s. It was a wonderfully peaceful ride with only the sound of skylarks and the occasional bleat of a sheep.

At the main road we turned left and onto NCN82, the former Manchester and Milford railway line from Aberystwyth to Carmarthen, closed in 1965. We passed through the Cors Carron nature reserve, a red kite circling very low above us but maddeningly the trees thwarted my chance of a photograph. The track didn’t quite reach Tregaron so we had to resort to the main road to reach the small town, birthplace of Twm Sion Cati.

We enquired about camping and were told of a new campsite, Abercoed, a mile out of town in the direction we were heading, so we shopped for food and rode out. It was a lovely quiet small site in its first season and we were the only campers. The owner was very helpful, even providing us with a table and bench and only charged £7 for the night. By now the clouds had dispersed, it was a very warm evening. After we’d eaten, we rode back into town and sat outside the Talbot Inn enjoying Breconshire ale. A local character called Twm joined us for a chat, he leads local walks and mountain bike rides. Local youths were coming and going, Twm wandered off to ask a young chap why he was carrying a tennis racket, and an unseen group with microphone and speakers were broadcasting observations into the square. These small west Wales towns have their own unique ambience.

Tregaron to Cenarth