One benefit of being retired is that I can now choose the weather for any trip and at the beginning of this week Tuesday and Wednesday looked good.
For the last two years I have bike packed from home to Clyne Farm which is near to the Mumbles on the Gower and it was time for a change.Wild camping on the Gower with a bike is not really a viable proposition and a camp site is the only option.
Ones that are reasonable in price and are prepared to take single travellers are a rarity but via the Cool Camping web site I found a little gem in the hamlet of Slade. This is just one step up from wild camping in that there is a cold water tap and some porta loos and thats it. It does however have a well mown slightly sloping field with lovely sea views from your tent door. Another bonus, although not used by me is that open fires may be used.
Room with a view
Route day 1
Route day 2
Ready for the off
I cycled from home in Llanddarog to Carreg Hollt where I joined the traffic free route NCN47.
This follows the old mineral rail line downhill to Llanelli. At Sandy Water Park I stopped for a bacon buttie and coffee (total cost £2.10!). I now joined the Millennium Trail to its end near Lougher Bridge.
Looking across to the Gower
Lougher Estuary from the bridge
As yet no passport needed to cross from Carmarthenshire to Swansea but you must be careful not to mention you are a Scarlets supporter.
Near Gowerton I turned to cycle the north part of Gower and onto the North Gower Trail another traffic free route which ends at Penclawdd. The on road from now was however very light in the way of traffic and I turned right at Crofty to cycle the Llanrhidian marshes road into Llanrhidian village. Here I stopped for a lunch break.
Hard hat time?
Lunch at Llanrhidian Church
Up to now the route was familiar but I was now on new ground. I continued on through Oldwalls to Stembridge and then uphill south east to Reynoldston.
I had planned to continue to Little Reynoldston but my legs refused to climb further and so I turned south to join the main road, A4118 and then south again to cycle to Oxwich for a welcome coffee (twice the price of Sandy Water Park).
Gate House at Penrice Castle
It was only a short distance from here to Slade but with a very steep hill which I admit I walked.
I had the camping field to myself which was a bonus as I imagine it fills up at weekends and holiday periods. I soon erected my tent/tarp and contemplated my navel for a period of time and following my evening meal I walked down to the coast path overlooking The Sands beach.
Looking toward Port Eynon Point
By 2100 I was safely cocooned in my sleeping bag and soon out for the count. Sometime during the night I had to visit the gents and the display of stars on this clear night was something to behold.
At 0600 I was awake and on my way by 0745. My return route included one dismount to push the bike up from the nature reserve lane up to the main road, where I turned off through Little Reynoldston and cycled up the road I turned back from yesterday. This afforded extensive views once at the top. The map shows burial chambers here known as Arthurs Stone an area my friend Paul and I visited earlier in the year on a walking day.
Near Arthurs Stone
It was now a nice descent passing Broad Pool and then turning left towards Llanrhidian, but with fresh legs I headed uphill to Welsh Moor, Gelli Groes and Three Crosses.
Near Welsh Moor
Here I treated myself to a Snicker Bar which I eked out until almost home. It was now another lovely descent coming out near Gowerton and then back onto the Millennium Coast Path. By now I was fantasising about another bacon roll and coffee which I consumed with joy.
Fancy bridge on Millennium Trail
Looking back to the North Gower
I was now on the last third of the trip but from Llanelli to Tumble it is uphill all the way albeit just a slow pedal until the steep descent to Drefach and the last few miles to home with yet again an uphill finish.
My next bike pack is with my brother in law, Andy, when we travel to the isle of Man.