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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Glastonbury weekend

Last weekend was the clubs weekend ride around Glastonbury and as some were camping I decided to take the camper.  When I went to fill up with fuel on Thursday ready for the off on Friday, and as I started to leave the garage the engine management light came on and stayed on.  Looking at the manual it told me to take it to a main dealer for checking and not to drive far.  So thats what I did and it took them three days to sort it out.  There are too many electrical sensors in todays vehicles.
So the camper wasn't an option for the weekend and I booked into a B&B and drove down in the car.

Today Glastonbury is famous for its festival, but it's been a site for pilgrimages since the middle ages visiting the Abbey and the Tor.  Some believe that the chapel there was built by Joseph of Arimathea when he came there after the crucifixion of Christ bringing with him the Holy Grail.  Others believe that it is connected to King Arthur.  But whatever you believe there is evidence to show that the site has been inhabited since the Neolithic times. 

Nowadays it is a unique place and I've never come across a town like it in the UK.

The Tor

Stunning views of the Somerset Levels from the Tor.

It has a huge selection of weird and wonderful shops 

[picture by club member]

The monument in the centre is a popular meeting point.

There were 17 on the weekend and our rides included one to Burnham on Sea

The Sunday ride was to Cheddar Gorge  with a lunch stop in Wells.

[Web picture]

As you can see we were blessed by wonderful weather for the whole weekend.

]picture by club member]

In Wells there was a food festival just the ticket for hungry cyclists

I think this mural sums up the ethos of our club as the company, rides and weather were good.

 [picture by club member]

Monday, October 02, 2017

Cycling through history

We are lucky in our cycle club to have a local historian, so on Sunday he led a ride and gave us a talk about places we stopped at.

One was Dunraven Castle which originally looked like the picture below.

 Web picture.

However because it had fallen into disrepair and the cost of either rebuilding or maintaining it was too great, it was demolished!!!! and only the outline of it remains.
Hopefully this would not have been allowed to happen today as surely some use could have been made of it especially with its unique position and stunning views.

This was the gatehouse on the drive leading to the castle.

Another stop was St Donats castle.  This medieval castle which overlooks the Bristol Channel is now a school, Atlantic College and an arts centre.

It was once owned by William Hurst the newspaper owner and publisher, who renovated it with artifacts taken from other old properties.However when times got hard he sold it in the 1960's.  Whilst he owned it it was famous for parties attended by the jet set of the day, Charlie Chaplin, other film stars and reportedly a young JF Kennedy.  Some arrived by yacht and moored in the channel.

The final stop was in Llantwit Major and St Llanilltuds church.  There has been a church here for 16 centuries.
The present church has been renovated from the picture below and all the old artifacts have been included.

Web picture

The old Celtic crosses have been preserved and housed within the church.

Even though is was a rainy day the ride and the company were good. Unfortunately I didn't record all of the route but the relevant part is on the Strava side panel. 

Saturday, September 09, 2017


This was originally a medieval house set in the Towy Valley between Llandeilo and Carmarthen. It was in the same family for 10 generations before falling into disrepair.  Over the years parts of the  estate  were sold off and the house is now owned by a Trust who are gradually restoring it but the gardens have been recreated and are open to the public.  More here.

Some say that there was a monastery here in the past and the walls that are left would suggest so.

The restoration of the gardens has been featured on TV and for many years we have had it on the must goto list and this summers we made it.

Well worth a visit.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

The Bwlch ride

The Bwlch mountain is always a favourite ride as its very similar to an alpine type road climb.  Its long about 5 km and a few hairpins with and average gradient of about 7 or 8%.

When the weather is right the views are stunning and these next 3 pictures were taken while riding.

Dave in red, talks with his hands which when riding a bike is not good, and this time he lost concentration and took a tumble.  So here he is getting some first aid.

A couple of views from the top, with the inevitable sheep.

These sheep being, Welsh Valleys sheep, will eat virtually anything and I've seen tourists giving them a ham sandwich , which soon disappeared.

The ride down the other side of the Bwlch is a really fast descent so no hand held pictures of that, but soon we were on a cycle path which was once an old railway line. 

It was late afternoon when we stopped for a bite and what started out as just a slice of pie ended up being a full sized meal as the cafe owner off loaded the remains of his lunch menu on us rather than waste it.  Luckily there were no long hard climbs afterwards.

Another good day out on the bike.

The full route "Bwlch reccy ride"  is on the Strava panel. 

Friday, August 18, 2017


A few weeks ago we went up to Derbyshire and stayed on a site which is part of the Chatsworth estate.  Campers even had their own key to a door that lead into the park.  Some parts of the house is covered in scaffold, which is part of a £37 million renovation.!!!

The river Derwent flows through the estate.

Its the most opulent stately home that we have visited even the window frames are gilded.

The Duke of Devonshire and 

The interior is used for exhibitions, this one is Damien Hirsts St Bartholomew.
No flash is allowed inside the house, so not great pictures.

On the day we visited, the house was the stopping place for the 1000 mile rally of the vintage cars, and many of them were Bentleys.  I couldn't even guess as to the value of all these cars.

The grounds and gardens are well worth the walk, even in the rain.   There was even an underground railway to take the coal into the house!   

These next pictures are of the "Rockery"  How much labour was required to construct this ??