Reflections of riding the Irish Sea Cycle Route.
I soon leave the leave B4342 on the outskirts of New Quay for quiet lanes through Cei Bach, it’s a very pleasant detour avoiding the busier roads. After Cei Bach the A487 cannot be avoided towards Aberaeron. It is a busy road but respite comes in the form a right turn through Hedfynyw village then a steep descent into Aberaeron, almost by stealth.
At Aberarth the ISCR cuts inland on country lanes avoiding the busy A487. Over the hills to Pennant then a left at Bethania takes me all the way Llanfarian on the outskirts of Aberystwyth. From the high ground, I can see to the radio masts on a road that was in the original planned route. However, the plan was changed because of the traffic on the A487. Along this section of the A487 there is little, if no protection to the cyclist from traffic and it just didn’t feel like fun! And so the quiet B-roads cross the hills, it’s a nice detour with easy riding and extensive views. Llangwyryfon is a short descent followed by the customary climb, then it’s almost all down hill to the A487 at Llanfarian. Here, I enjoyed a sausage, bacon and egg bap washed down with a mug of coffee from the catering trailer by the Garage - recommended!
Following cycle trails, it’s easy level riding all the way into Aberystwyth. There’s a steady climb out of this very interesting University town, just before the summit the ISCR takes a left following superb country lanes all the way to Borth.
on the descent into Borth
The road out of Borth is a joy, up close and personal with the Irish Sea. For me there is a headwind and soon it will be high tide, the waves are foaming and surfing. On the sea-wall, I enjoy the freshness and smell the ozone – wonderful!
At Ynyslas I turn eastwards and get some shelter from the northerly headwind so good progress into Machynlleth.
In Machynlleth, a couple of local women kindly teach me how to (attempt to) correctly pronounce the name of this Welsh town:
"In Welsh, we say the ch using the back of the throat, so its Mach (Mackkk), then it’s yn (in) and the last part is Lleth (Lllleth), all together it’s Mackkkinllllleth".
I think the Welsh language sounds delightful. Now it’s my turn, with enthusiasm (and good tutoring), I reply:
"Mackkkinlllleth ... Mackkkkinllleth ... Mackkkinllleth ..."
"Do you know Maud, I think he’s got it!"
I can’t tell you how pleased I was with myself. I know it’s only one noun but I can now use it with confidence. Mackkkinllleth! Machynlleth!
This reminds me of a similar experience from over ten years ago on a mountain in Snowdonia. The mountain is a designated Marilyn named Pen Llithrig y Wrach. Back then, a local Gent taught me the pronunciation Penlllith rig i rack which translates to ‘The head of the Slippery Witch’. Now that’s a proper name for a mountain, conjuring up mystery and myth. Welsh is such a wonderful language, simply delightful.
Places of Interest along the way
Wildlife Centre, New Quay Aberystwyth Castle Welsh Assembly, Aberystwyth National Library, Aberystwyth Camera Obscura, Aberystwyth Borth Ynys-hir, RSPB Reserve, near Furnace Heritage Centre, Machynlleth