Which Way Hay: Monmouth To Preteigne. - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

April 23, 2014

Which Way Hay: Monmouth To Preteigne.

Confusion@ sign to Hay: is the sign meant to point that way?
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I ask the lady at the campground, what is the best way to Hay-on-wye. She umms and ahhs, then says the best way is by the Hereford road. I don't think she really knows, as the Hereford road, as she suggests, looks to be a bit of a roundabout way, going all the way back through Monmouth; whilst in my atlas, I see that, turning right from the campground gate goes north in the direction of Hay, though a staggered route, with a turn right, then left, then right again, turns that I'll have to look out for.

Well, it isn't easy. There's a lot of steep climbing and a lot of small roads not in the atlas, as there comes on fine drizzly rain. I descent to a gentrified village, that is all period houses, second homes of wealthy folk from the city. In the centre of the village there's an old ruin of a castle, by the entrance of which, I pause to pull on my rain-jacket, before studying the atlas closely again.

To me the road straight on through the valley looks to be due east. There is also a narrow road leaving the village north, but it goes toward a steep hill, and I'd rather avoid unnecessary hills. To the side of the entrance is a man with his dog, batting a tennis ball with a racket against the castle wall. The dog with mouth open and eyes focused on the ball, rebounds back on it's hunkers on each bounce of the ball back off the wall, catching the ball on the few occasions the man misses and coming over to drop the ball at the man's feet. When I ask, he confirms my suspicion that the small road north is indeed very steep, though perhaps, not being a cyclist, he thinks it daunting to ride that way, so recommend I keep to the road straight on, saying, it takes me out upon the Hereford road, which is not what I want to hear.

The rain eases to a few spots and I don't have to ride as far out of my way as he suggested, as I veer to the left and ride on upon a quiet B road between square cropped hedgerows with pleasant valley scenery to the side. Then another cyclists catches me up on a little incline.

"Not bad weather today" he comment in a distinctive South London accent, as he rides up abreast of me. I agree, saying that the rain is so light as not to cause much of a hindrance. "The countryside here is werry nice. Werry nice." then he goes on to tell me he's riding Lands End to John O Groats. "I'm doin it with my son, but he come down with a bug yesterday, so is spending today recuperating.

A damp morning between the hedges.
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I reach Hay roughly around one thirty, where after a look around, there being many bookshops, which I expected due to the town's lituery connection, I find a Welsh tea shop for a well earned lunch of jacket potatoe with cheddar cheese.

I set off again around three in drying conditions with some sunshine at last breaking through.

Pastural scene outside Hay-on-wye.
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To the right of the above.
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I was so hungry I didn't think of taking a photo. But better late than never.
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Onwards from Hay.
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From the campsite as the sun goes down.
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The hillside opposite.
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Today's ride: 66 km (41 miles)
Total: 14,962 km (9,291 miles)

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