Thursday, September 3, 2009

Day 4 -- Dollegelue to Macyllen

I know I'm not spelling these correctly, and after my vacation is over I'll go back and correct them.

Today started fairly calmly, we rode back down the estuary that had ended our day yesterday. Stopped off in Dollegelue at a bike shop to clean our bikes and pick up somethings I needed. For the last 2 days, I've had a recurring problem with my shoes slipping off the pedals, and last night it occurred to me that the shoes I brought with me probably had something like 2 or 3 thousand miles of combined cycling and walking on them. So, I picked up some cycling shoes, a thermal shirt, some gloves and some additional socks. Let me tell you, the new shoes totally rock!

From there, we headed up a hill that was fairly steep (Pittburgers can think of Greenfield Ave) that never seemed to end ( think Greenfield, but 10 miles long!). Then we had a pleasant jaunt downhill to a farm called Hafotty-fach. There we got on what was described by our tour company as the hardest ride of the trip... but compared to what we did yesterday was a piece of cake.

However, about 1/2 between Hafotty-fach and the next farm, Bryn Gwyn, there was the Sheep Hill of Death. While not the steepest grade we've done this trip, it was just steep enough and quite long enough to take us about an hour to get over it. The view was, as always spectacular, and given the ride we had yesterday and the angle of ascent we decided to walk amongst the sheep and cattle to the top of what I can only think of as a mountain.

So, this brings me to something that I haven't mentioned. All along this trip, we keep coming to gates. When we arrive at them we have dismount, open the gate, walk our bikes through and then close the gate before remounting. For a while, we thought this might be some kind of property designation or something. Finally it occurred to Alice that these gates were actually keeping the sheep in. That's right, we really are cycling through sheep pastures, and have been since day one.

So as we ascended the Sheep Hill Of Death, we really were surrounded by sheep, close enough that we had to dodge their errr.... leavings on a regular basis.

Finally we reached the top, and from there it was a quick descent with a few hills in into Macllyenth, the home of the old Welsh Parliament. Basically, back in 1401-1406, there was a rebellion against English rule that was, for a time, quite successful. The last Welsh Prince Of Wales, built a Parliament building and ran an independent government from here. The town is just stunning with a large clock tower at the center of town.

This is such an adventure, and just so much fun. The weather until today was bad, and I don't mean 'oh, I think it might get a bit wet' but rather 'Is it possible for it to rain so hard that you drown?' Today was better though, and it is almost like a different country when the sun in shining. In the rain it is amazing because all the colors stand out so vibrantly. It is almost like everything has gotten a dash of neon paint. When the sun is out, then you get to see just how vibrant the green is and how majestic the mountains appear.

Pics from Day 2

Pics from Day 3/4

(The first couple of shots on Days 3 and 4 is the birth place of T. E. Lawerence, also known as Lawerence of Arabia.)


Rylee Corradini said...

The pics are gorgeous... what an awesome trip!

At the bottom of day 2... are those ruins? On old castle or something like that?

myddrin said...

That's Criccieth Castle, ins Criccieth. It was built by the Welsh around 1200, and then re-fortified by Edmund I and Edmund II in the 1400's.

In the information center there was this insanely strange cartoon about "Gerald of Wales", a real historical person. The cartoon was really odd, telling the story of Gerald touring Wales to recruit troops for the Cursades, but trying to be funny about it...