Claerddu bothy trip A bikepacking trip from my house

This trip started from my house and very quickly I headed away from the road and into the Southern tip of the Cambrian Mountains.

Amazing dirt roads take me deep into the countryside

Leaving the small market town of Llandovery I head North to beyond the Village of Rhandirmwyn, I then turn off onto the first off-road section of the day. A great climb helps me gain elevation fast, dropping me out onto the forestry road that circumnavigates Llyn Brianne reservoir. Following this all the way around until I reach the stunning chapel of Soar Y Mynydd.

I would have said this used to be one of the most remote phone boxes I had ever seen in Wales.

No motorbikes!!! Good as I wanted this next stretch all to myself

After a small but beautiful road section from Soar Y Mynydd I turned back onto forestry roads. Using these I rode alongside the famous Strata Florida byway until I reached the ruins of the old Abbey.

Riding this trail in the evening light will be something I'll remember for a very long time.

After the Abbey you take a sharp right and head along a couple of kms of country lane until you reach one of the most amazing bridleways your likely to ride on. Combine this with the low sun of a Winters afternoon and the solitude that Mid Wales can offer, there really is no better place.

This bridleway will pop you out by the majestic Teifi Pools and by this point a much needed tarmac track. Following this track brings you to the council road only a few metres away from where you turn of to reach the Claerddu bothy.

Looking back towards the Teifi Pools just as the sun drops upon the horizon.
As I arrive, the last of the days lights is cast upon the hilltops.

My friends soon arrived from various directions bringing with them a feast of food and drink.

A crystal clear night and zero light pollution makes for a rather spectacular sight, providing you can brave the cold.

This bothy is what I refer to as the Hilton of bothies, with running water, gas, a toilet, three separate sleeping areas and most likely a great supply of wood thanks to a local business that keeps it stocked.

A rather frosty but perfect dawn

I had a perfect evening spent with friends who cycled or walked in from different directions. We ate homemade stew, cheese, meats and a healthy supply of ales.

It was hard to pull myself away from the comfort of the fire in the morning knowing that outside was sub zero temperatures and I had a minimum of a 70km ride back home. Luckily I knew the next section would bring me awesome views as I skirted the Claerwen reservoir and onto the town of Rhayader.

As you ride away you can look back to appreciate just how remote this old farm house really is. Life for most is hectic and although living here would have been a tough existence, we can now use it to slow down and take stock.

A frozen trail laid ahead until the sun was high enough to lift the temperatures and bring some warmth to the day.
The frost was beaten and the day became near perfect.

As I reached near the town of Rhayader I pulled left and headed along back lanes towards Llanwrthwl Common. This was another unknown path for me, although rather boggy in places its a great way to stay away from civilisation for a little longer and offers some great views.

Tough riding on skinny wheels but worth it

As I left the common I made the decision to head back via the road, partly because I wanted to get home to do something with my family and also to test the loaded bike on the road as I was reviewing it for Bikepacking.com Click the link on the image to take you to the review.

This was a fantastic adventure with around 140km of riding straight from my doorstep. I could have made it twice as long and spent the two days slogging it but this was about dropping of the radar for a small amount of time and letting the outdoors take over. Stopping at rivers to drink fresh water, sitting on rocks to look out at the uninhabited countryside and take the odd picture and film along the way.

Below is my hastily put together video of this trip but it will help to give you an idea of the route and what I experienced on this little adventure.

Credits:

Anthony Pease Photography

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