It rained hard overnight in Pembrokeshire, but by morning everything had settled down nicely and I was treated to another fine day. I had largely empty straight back roads for an hour as far as St Clears and made good progress.This was handy, because when I came to leave my very comfortable lodgings, I discovered a flat front tyre, leading to a delay that I could have done without. Still, it was a good place to fix it in a restaurant with a latte machine!
The constraint in my route today was the need to pass via Carmarthen. I followed the national cycle route through a circuitous and disorienting warren of tiny lanes with high hedges to avoid the busy A40 dual carriageway. Carmarthen is Wales’ oldest town, (or so I was told by a friendly cyclist called H) and the Romans would have recognised its importance as the lowest bridging point on the River Towey. Today, it is a regional centre, transport hub and county town. The County Hall, occupying the site of the old castle, rather dominates the townscape when viewed from the bridge. I was reminded of Colditz. The other architectural highlight, for me, was the new foot and cycle suspension bridge that links the town to the train station across the Towey. If you are ever in the area, seek out Sloppy Joe’s, where I had lunch. Great place.
For the next couple of hours, I cycled up the beautiful Towey valley. The busy A40 runs down one side; but I followed the almost empty and surprisingly level and wide B road on the opposite bank. Apparently this was used in the Tour of Britain, and so got resurfaced. You get to enjoy it all by yourself and it is a fine ride.
Eventually, after Llandeilo, where there is another bridge, my direct route took me upwards as the scenery began to take on a more rugged appearance, with views south towards The Black Mountain. Once again, mid Wales was surprising me. My long straight road reached a height where there were no field boundaries of any kind. It was just me and, again, the wild ponies who seem to prefer life in these more remote spots. On a nice day, like today, I can see why.
The descent to join the now quiet A40 was fun and I knocked off the last 10 miles, in gathering gloom, to Brecon before the weather had a major change of heart. When I later walked out to find dinner it was raining hard, and I think it continued well into the night. Timing, once again, was everything.