Today, for the first time, I set off alone from Pontypridd to Bristol. Without maps, an iPhone or much organisation – I decide to rely entirely on Sustrans route 4: The Celtic Trail and a vague notion that my route is Caerphilly, Newport, Chepstow and finally Bristol. With the aid of two tourist information offices, one Sustrans centre and several strangers I meet; I arrive into a sweltering Friday night in Bristol 70 miles later, booking into a swanky hotel with Beatrice Charity who has arrived by train.
The Sustrans routes have been brilliant wherever we’ve used them, particularly in the highlands; but today the circuitous route and bewildering signposting around Pontypridd found me getting off to an incredibly slow start. I arrive in Newport, 15 miles down the road, having clocked up 30 miles on my milometer. This slow progress led me to jump onto A roads and try my luck with more informative signposts and directions.
On the whole, the plan works but as I come fizzing into Bristol along winding B roads where the sun had caused the Tarmac to melt and cling to my tyres, I am longing for some confirmation as to how much longer I have left. I also feel something mechanical and joyless about pushing over the Severn bridge through the West Country scenery with no one to discuss it with.
Tomorrow I reunite with Aldercy Manning and mystery guest Daffyd Garrick for a shorter ride to Taunton. The heat has followed us to the West Country and I fully expect it to be declared the hottest day in the year. Again,
Ps. Some cheeky photographic previews of Daffyd Garrick’s entry tomorrow.