Day 7 Along the coast to Aberystwyth

I had originally intended to stay in Goodwick but the mileages became somewhat uneven so I looked for somewhere around Newport. There were no hotels but the Cnapan B&B, in the centre of the village, looked interesting, if slightly more than my price bracket. However they had a room and I booked it. I arrived last night feeling very sore and exhausted and was met with a cheery smile (well I think it was cheery, because it was behind a mask but the eyes told the tale) by Judi who found a home for the bike in the garage and took me up to my room on the first floor and then made me a cup of tea which I drank in their large garden. The bed was enormous and comfortable and the shower washed away the dirt and aches. I washed my clothes and Judi hung them up to dry and delivered them to my door this morning.

Judi and Mike, from Liverpool, acquired Ivy Lodge some years ago but decided the name needed changing. Cnapan was a Tudor game played between parishes, attempting to get a small hard ball across country to designated goals. The gentry used horses, whilst the plebs got stuck in on foot. By the sound of it it was brutal and people were killed which is why it dropped out of favour but it was a name that was unusual and not easily forgotten so they chose it for the B&B.

Cnapan B&B

I had to go in search of food which, on a Saturday night still in the summer season, could have proved difficult although Newport has 3 pubs and a couple of takeaways. There were a lot of people at the Golden Lion when I turned up at about 7.30pm but I was welcomed and found a place at a table in the bar. Lots of Covid precautions including perspex screens between tables and track and trace details and many people chose to wear masks except when eating. I dined on a very good leek and potato soup with home baked bread and a butternut squash risotto with pesto and well cooked veg on the side. Both were delicious as was the chocolate pudding with ice cream. Bill of over £30 but worth it.

This morning I woke after a very good night’s sleep which I put down to a comfortable bed and quiet. Everywhere I have stayed so far has been close to a road and traffic noise has kept me awake but my room at Cnapan faced over the garden and I was undisturbed. For breakfast I again went veggie with glamorgan sausage and scrambled eggs. Sign of the times was a vegan option though a standard fry up was also available

I set off knowing that I had a substantial climb early in the journey which would tell me whether or not I had recovered some energy. As its name suggests Newport has a harbour and sandy beaches but my route did not take me there and I set off along the main A487 road to Aberystwyth. Two miles in I turned off and started climbing up some steep gradients but fortunately in shortish pitches allowing me to recover in between. Amazingly my legs felt good and I had no wish to GOAP during the four mile climb. The road was almost traffic free until I ,once again, joined the main road and swept down a long hill to Cardigan. Again I by-passed the town so can’t tell you of its attractions but took a picture from the bridge as I crossed the Afon Teifi, nearly knocking over a dog walker as I took off without looking behind me.

Ceredigion

What comes down must go up and I had about 12 miles of mainly uphill but not extreme slopes. I passed the West Wales airport at Aberporth, for light aircraft but with a Licence to take larger aircraft. My original plan had been to cycle down to the coast at Aberporth but it would have added about 800 feet of climbing to my journey so I re-routed last night. I then went through this wonderfully named village

before turning off the main road towards the sea at New Quay. I stayed well above the village realising that I would have a steep climb out again but from a distance it looks charming, clinging to the side of the cliffs

New Quay

However further along the coast it deteriorates into a succession of caravan and trailer parks which seem to proliferate.

I suppose they pay better than farming but don’t do much for the look of the coast. Another steep climb back up to the main road and down to Aberaeron where I had planned to have lunch. I duly partook of a very nice foccacia with a couple of bottles of Fentimans Lemonade in a marquee that had been erected over the pavement.

I went on down to the port which is reckoned to be one of the best places to live in the UK. Pastel coloured Georgian houses and lots of small craft

I now had to stick on the A487 for most of the rest of the journey. It was not particularly pleasant. Lots of climbing on a road that is barely wide enough for the traffic it takes even on a Sunday. I had a couple of inconsiderate drivers who came close enough to make me shake a fist at them and an artic that came close to brushing my pannier. The climb was about 5 miles long with slopes up to 8% so I was glad to crest the hill and look down on Aberystwyth, my goal for the night. There was a steep swoop down to join a cycleway that must have followed an old railway line and took me almost to the centre.

Cycle track Aberystwyth

I followed the signs but they took me to a pedestrian bridge that was closed so had to retrace my steps before hitting the promenade

which I followed to Glengower Hotel, almost at the northern end, arriving at about 4pm. The bike was stowed in a store room and I washed and changed and went down to the restaurant for food which I had pre-booked for 5.30 as last food orders were at 6pm on a Sunday.

It’s not been that interesting visually or historically but I’m pleased to have travelled the road. It’s been a relatively easy day: a shortish distance which has put me under no time pressure and I have felt much better in myself all day. Hopefully I will strengthen as I make my way north.

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