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Lots of other people are doing it, so I have been tempted by the Christmas holidays to to try and find at least one photo per year from the last decade that made me smile, or brought back a memory. … Continue reading
Now here’s a mystery.
Just how has one of my absolute favourite places in the world to cycle been combined with one a much loved photo of a past ride despite them having apparently nothing in common?
The story so far.
About a week ago I was speaking to a former colleague at CTC, the national cyclists’ charity in the UK. “Oh” she said, “we were just talking about you”.
They had just seen a leaflet that was about to be inserted in this month’s CTC magazine, advertising Mid Wales Cycling Adventures. Apparently on the cover there was a photo which they were sure was my son Ben and I on our mountain bikes.
Mid-Wales is just one of the most brilliant places to cycle. I wrote about in last year in the post “Mid-Wales – The antidote to almost everything”, not just for cycling but for walking and chilling or whatever takes your fancy. If you haven’t been – just go. Go cycle touring or mountain bike, whichever takes your fancy. Good on Mid Wales Cycling Adventures if they are adding to the range of small businesses that are gradually building up in the area to support sustainable tourism. Great scenery winter or summer, this was from a hotel room in Rhayader.
But I was bemused. Despite Ben and I having ridden together at places like Coed-y-Brenin and Nant-y-Arian mountain bike centres I just could not recall a photo of us together. Maybe a photographer had been snapping while we were there. But if we were in a shot to promote cycling in Mid Wales then I am happy to be a model.
Then yesterday my copy of the magazine arrived and even before I got home to pick up my copy Mrs Idonotdespair had spotted the leaflet dropping out and waved it curiously under my nose. Because it was very clearly us!
The plot thickens.
Of course the CTC staff recognised the photo. It was on the noticeboard by my desk for nearly eight years, a souvenir of a fantastic day out with Ben back in 2005. It was spring and we had a brilliant day out with the local CTC group after the 2005 CTC AGM, just one of those days when everything works. Good route, good company and the countryside at its very best.
So as soon as I saw it I just smiled. Here’s the original beauty spot.
We were nowhere near Wales. That photo was taken by a ride leader from CTC Coventry and Warwickshire somewhere south of Warwick. 80 miles from the nearest bit of Wales at my guess.
How has it come to be associated with Mid Wales? I don’t know. It wasn’t as far as I know a commercial shot so maybe that ride leader had given it to a friend in Wales, or even moved there himself. Maybe old fashioned mixed labelling. I expect I’ll find out soon.
But if a great memory can help promote a wonderful place to ride then I don’t mind. So I won’t tell if you don’t. Ok?
Like many parents I spent this weekend collecting my son from university.
No stress despite lots more kilometres to travel since we moved to Belgium, and the first experience of driving a left-hand drive car on British roads. No stress at all from discovering the stolen bike or the state of the student room. (ugh).
Because my son goes to university in Aberystwyth, right on the far west coast of Wales, overlooking Cardigan Bay.
I am almost afraid to blog about it because you might go there and spoil it, one of my favourite places in the world. Just through Abergavenny and the Brecon Beacons National Park rises up around the road and I spent two hours passing through the stunning scenery. The motorway driving becomes a distant memory.
I stopped at Nant y Arian forest park in the late afternoon to have a coffee, take a seat and just soak up the view before I dropped down to Aber. Red kites flying overhead and sunlight running across the hills. I was really jealous of the mountain bikers using the outstanding trails at Nant that I knew from another trip and I really would like to have had a few hours for some cycle touring, but that is another time.
Down at Aberystwyth I was just able to soak up evening light, a sunset over the bay and in the morning a sharp, crisp sunlight over the coast. I hadn’t taken my camera so the fact that it even looks good on a mobile phone is a testament to how great it was.
I am sure he appreciates that he has chosen one of the best university locations in the world, at least in the UK, but I know his Dad sure does.
Next time cycle touring or mountain biking too.