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Cold Aston

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Last Sunday's bike ride was an early one, due to other commitments later in the day.  An overcast and slightly humid morning for another Cotswolds ride - our third from the guidebook.

We started by the pub in Cold Aston and rode down the wonderfully named Bangup Lane.  I'm not used to starting a ride by going downhill, so that was a bit weird!

fields and track

The bridleways are all 'named' ones, with diamonds on the OS map.  However the names on the map (Diamond Way, Macmillan Way) didn't seem to feature on signposts - and the Sabrina Way we saw signed isn't called that on the map!  Not really a huge problem though as the route is very obvious.

I rode almost half way before realising my forks were still locked, which should tell you a lot about the terrain!

The final section bridleway was this beautiful stretch through an avenue of trees.  I absolutely love autumn colour.

autumn colours on a tree lined path
so pretty

14.5km of bridleways/tracks and a few bits of tarmac, with 230ish metres of ascent.  This was such a lovely ride, we'll definitely do it again - maybe in an evening next summer.  There was nothing technical or difficult, and not much navigation required either.

outdoorbloggers in Snowdonia

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Last week I attended the Outdoor Bloggers weekend in Snowdonia.  It's been a while since I met (in real life) any random people from the internet, and I've never really done any sort of networking so wasn't quite sure what to expect.

Despite an afternoon off work and good intentions, I arrived in the dark.  Good thing my tent only takes a few seconds to put up!  We were camping at Llyn Gwynant, which rather conveniently features a pizza shop on busier weekends.  Yum yum!

We sat around the campfire telling stories and getting to know each other a bit - though I realised I wasn't really going to find out what people looked like until the next day.

Saturday morning brought rain.  Not what I wanted to wake up to knowing that we'd be in the mountains all day, but this is why waterproof clothes were invented!  My only previous walk up Snowdon (in 1997, with the scouts) is possibly one of the wettest walks I can remember so I was not so secretly hoping for better conditions this time.

Our guides from Climb Snowdon arrived and we piled into cars to head for our walk start point - Rhyd Ddu (which translates as 'black ford').  They'd chosen one of the quieter routes, past an old quarry and up the South Ridge, then returning via the Rhyd Ddu path.

Snowdon and Rhyd Ddu sign

As we walked through huge amounts of waste slate, the rain eased off and waterproof trousers were removed. Happy days.  I love the sound slate makes when you walk over it.

old quarry buildings

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Bredon Hill

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Another Sunday bike ride from the Cotswolds MTB book - Bredon Hill.  This route is sort of a figure of eight, going up and down twice.

We started in Kemerton and headed up.  Some amount of walking occurred, because hills suck (also I've not fixed my dodgy gears yet).  Having taken a slight wrong turning at a junction we eventually detoured back to the correct route, and our first descent - a rooty rocky path down to some fields and eventually the road.  I stopped at one point because my bike seemed very rattly to find that the rear wheel had bounced itself loose.  Not good to be that close to disaster!  Always check your bike over before every ride...

cycling along a bridleway on Bredon hill
somewhere near the end of the second ascent

Things got a little wonky again at Kersoe, where we missed the turning onto a bridleway not just once, but twice, so ended up doing what the guidebook had as a 'bad weather' alternative - more road.  Oh well.

Our second ascent started in Ashton under Hill.  This one featured even more walking, as the path was steep and very rocky - no thanks! Eventually we joined the Wychavon Way and followed that until we reached the stone tower.

bikes leaning against bredon hill stone tower

From here it was down all the way back to the car.  Hurrah! Some really nice bits of single track through the woods, then more rocky track back to the road.

24km total, with around 550m of ascent.  No wonder my legs ached the next day!