Once it started to rain, we hastily put on our rain jackets and continued pedaling. Finally, we stopped under a bridge so my husband could put on his rain pants, and we assessed whether it was getting worse or better. We decided to wait it out, and just then it started to pour, so we were glad we hadn’t risked it. Then it was just drizzly, so we continued on. We made it to Merthyr, and then pressed onward. Somewhere around Pontsticill, the rain let up, but we made a wrong turn off the trail, and wound up on the road. That quickly became an unbelievably steep hill. We pushed our bikes up the hill and stopped at the top, feeling generally concerned and defeated. I stopped in at a pub to ask for directions after the trail, and found we were only a few hundred yards from where we could pick it up. We talked about getting tea, but decided instead to press onward.
There are no pictures of what happened next because it started to rain again. And it was hilly. Really really hilly. We spent a lot of time pushing our bikes up the hills in the mountains. Finally, we came to a downhill and followed it down to the reservoir. Ah-ha! I thought to myself. The Talybond Reservoir! Our B&B should be coming up on the left! We cycled and cycled and there was no B&B. Finally, we came to a sign that said “Pontsticill Reservoir.” Which we had passed about an hour earlier, before we got back on the trail. Husband and I looked at each other, at a loss. We finally decided to just keep following the signs to Talybont.
If you’ve ever been lost in the mountains of Wales, with a cell phone that doesn’t work and no numbers to call even if you did have a working cell phone, you will understand the desperation I felt at this moment. As we continued to pedal onward, I started to feel more and more desperate. It was past 5pm, we had no idea how much further we had to go, and the hills were getting steeper. Finally, we saw a couple of cyclists coming the other way, and I asked them for directions. Which involved pronouncing the name of our B&B, which I couldn’t do. The cyclists got what I was asking anyway and assured us we were only 2 kilometers away from our destination. Better yet, it was downhill.
As we coasted down the hill, the thunderstorm started. The sky opened up as the Talybont reservoir came into view and finally! there was the Abercynafon Lodge, on our left, right across from a lovely babbling brook. The owners opened the door and asked if we wanted tea and took our wet things and generally made us feel like their long-lost cousins who had come to stay.
That was the view from our room. I could have stayed for a week.
Tomorrow, the rest of the trail, and the Brecon-Monmothshire Canal Towpath.