The Great British Cycle Tour… Remember that? My quest to cycle to the four British capital cities this summer? So far I’ve cycled to Edinburgh and Belfast on a route that took me from my home here in West Yorkshire to the Dales, the Lake District, the northern Pennines, the Borders of Scotland and then to Edinburgh via the east coast of Scotland. Following a day in the Scottish capital I headed south again via Glasgow and the west coast of Scotland, a ferry to Belfast and a short three-day cycle back to Belfast via the Antrim coast and Portrush before catching another ferry back to Liverpool and then a train home.
All the links to the write-ups of each day of cycling along with (most of) the GPS tracks and the online map can be found on the Great British Cycle Tour 2020 page of CyclingEurope.org.
Two capitals remain; Cardiff and London and I am beginning to piece together a plan for an 10-stage cycle which would see me return to Liverpool (the point at which I paused in early August) on the train, cycle across the north of Wales to Holyhead on Anglesey where I would pick up the Lon Las Cymru cycle route to Cardiff and then head west along the Kennet and Avon Canal and the Thames (national cycle route 4) to my final destination, London.
(Don’t read too much into the detail of the route shown here in the Google Map – it is the one automatically generated by Google as the ‘bike’ option. Here is the link to the online map.)
As I suspected, the main difficulty that I experienced when cycling the first part of the journey in late July and early August was, in the context of our COVID-ravaged summer, the accommodation. Indeed for the first week of the trip from home to just over the border in Scotland, I booked campsites in advance so I knew for certain that I would have somewhere to stay each night. Accommodation was more of an issue thereafter and although I did find some campsites, I also had to resort to hotels and B&B’s on quite a few of the days after leaving Edinburgh.
So, in light of that experience, I’m going to try and plan every night of accommodation during the second part of the journey across Wales and southern England. My preference for this trip is going to be Warmshowers. I’ve used it a lot in the past and when I lived in Reading, hosted people quite regularly. It was a popular stopover point between London and the west country and Oxford. Where I now live in Yorkshire I seem to have far fewer people passing by my front door and have only hosted one person in recent years which is a pity as it’s an excellent way to meet like-minded cyclists. I’ve put out lots of requests in the last couple of days and have so far secured hosts for the first two nights. If those requests come to nothing I’ll look into campsite options later this week.
Here’s the proposed itinerary (August / September):
|Tuesday 25th||Prestatyn||Holyhead||75||Warmshowers host|
|Wednesday 26th||Holyhead||Caernarfon||93||Warmshowers host|
|Thursday 27th||Caernarfon||Dolgellau||80||Torrent Walk Campsite|
|Friday 28th||Dolgellau||Llanidloes||62||Dol-Llys Farm Campsite|
|Saturday 29th||Llanidloes||Glasbury||67||River Cabin Camping|
|Sunday 30th||Glasbury||Cardiff||97||Sleeperz Hotel|
|Monday 31st||Cardiff||Bath||94||YHA Bath|
|Tuesday 1st||Bath||Reading||127||Friend’s house|
|Wednesday 2nd||Reading||London||74||YHA Central London|
|Thursday 3rd||London||Halifax||–||Train home|
So that comes in at an estimated 840 km in total or 84 km/day (which is 52 miles per day for the Brexit voters). During the first leg of the journey from home to Edinburgh and then Belfast I cycled 1,300 km, on average about 70 km/day over 18 days but that did include two very short days of cycling (under 10 km) so the ‘real’ average was also somewhere around 80 km/day. The Welsh stopover points listed above are those suggested by Richard Barrett in his Cicerone guide to cycling the Lon Las Cymru if you choose to complete the journey in 5 days (from Holyhead to Cardiff). I have also adjusted the distances to take into consideration the location of the Warmshowers host on Anglesey which is some way from Holyhead itself. You see I do think about these things…
If you happen to live along my route, please do get in touch. It would be nice – as I did on the journeys to Edinburgh and Belfast – to meet a few people along the way.