Thursday, 13 June 2013

Howton to All Stretton

72 miles total ascent 1645 metres.

The day started with a top breakfast. Full English and full continental, in fact a full global to be fair!

On the road the gods of cycling were kind. We picked up a southerly tailwind and cruised along welsh lanes taking in nice little villages, fields covered on yellow rape seed , sheep, cows and the ever present smell of sheep poo!

I felt stronger after a good night's sleep, and the choice of shorts over longs was correct. The miles seemed to fly past and the bike just rolled perfectly. The odd small climb was easy felt with as the route followed the river valley for the most part.
After about 50 miles we stopped for a coke and a breather at the crown in wentnor. Just as we sat down outside the heavens finally opened big time. We knew the hostel at bridges was booked up and there was room at the yha in all Stretton. The barmaid took great pleasure in describing the murderous hill we now had to climb in the cold rain, this was the Long Mynd.
So wet kit on we rode off into oblivion. Then the heavens unloaded their full fury. The three mile sprint to bridges hostel was pretty fast...I thought they may take in a couple of drowning cyclists and let us have floor space, but noooo...seems the yha is more interested in filling rooms with motorists than providing shelter for vulnerable travellers. We were offered a cup of tea and given directions over the long mynd. This hill prooved to be a long steep drag up in the cold rain and mist. The lanes were sloppy with sheep do and running rainwater.
Higher up the clouds set in and the driving rain was making me feel like making a mad dash to get off the hill before hypothermia set in. But I decided to take my time and take photos, after all I would only be here once.

The views were lovley, but there was a sheep laying dead by the roadside. It had been hit by some inconsiderate car driver. I felt sorry for the sheep's mate who was just left confused and lost by the death. Why do cars have to destroy nature?? Selfish bar stewards.

Finally the top loomed out of the mist and then the downhill. This is as close to a vertical descent as I ever want to get to on a bike! Full brakes, arse back behind the saddle and all my wits about me got me down. kev, who got to the top way quicker than me, decided it was too steep for a safe descent and walked down. Better safe than sorry .

Down in the valley see boyo, the next task was finding the yha . This proved to be less than simple shall we say. As is often the case with hostels this one is well off the beaten path at the end of a rough bike unfriendly pathway.
Inside however all is good, clean, warm and a good home for the night.
A meal of pasta and beef Bolognese, coffee cake, chocolate, apple's and grapes is currently bring enjoyed.
I've changed the route for the morning to avoid having to re climb Everest.
Actually, I'm happy with the days events. The enforced change of plan took me over some wonderful scenery and this ride will I am sure be one of my best cycling memories .
All in all, another great days riding and adventure.

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