Tarquin's cycling pages

17 January 2004 - Talybont Reservoir forestry circuit

WhereTalybont Reservoir forestry circuit
(Brecon Beacons and South Wales)
Date17 January 2004
Duration3 hours 30 minutes
Distance16 miles (~26 km)
WeatherCold with sunny outbreaks
Trail conditionsDamp and very muddy in places
Chris Poole 31 GT LTS 2000 (CP)
Mark 'Tarquin' Wilton-Jones 23 GT LTS 2000 (TWJ)

Trip report

Description by Mark 'Tarquin' Wilton-Jones

This ride followed the route described in 'The Brecon Beacons National Park & the Black Mountains (mountain bike guide)'.

See pictureThe Talybont reservoir was shrouded in clouds.

See pictureSee pictureThe clouds lifted as we parked the car by the dam. We headed back along the side of the reservoir and turned onto a forestry track. This quickly steepened, and my old chest complaint made itself known again. Still, at least the effort kept us warm, even if I was too tired to look around at the scenery.

See pictureSee pictureWe climbed steadily (well, Chris was cycling steadily at least). I had to stop for rests every few minutes as breathing heavily was causing a lot of pain ('I really need to get fitter').

See pictureAs we approached the high point, a large bird of prey (a buzzard? or was it a vulture ...) circled overhead and effortlessly climbed high above us, almost out of range by the time I could get the camera out.

See pictureSee pictureWe passed some forestry workers, and the track began to head steeply down to the road, about 150 metres below. The corners were a bit sharp, and the gravel gave the feeling that it might not be possible to turn in time, but we both made it down to the road at about 30 miles per hour. Be warned that the bar across the path just before the road is still there, so don't forget where you left those brake levers.

See pictureOnce at the bottom, we cycled to the bottom of the steep uphill section and walked the bikes up to the base of Craig y Fan Ddu.

See pictureAfter a small amount of food at the picnic site, we headed to the track that ran down the opposite side of reservoir. This descended steadily, but soon became very muddy (with an odd smell of sheep droppings ...) thanks to forestry workings. I glanced backwards to see Chris disappear off the track after hitting a deep section of mud, but I managed to make it out the other side, still on the bike.

See pictureNow a new shade of brown we traveled alongside the reservoir, passing some stunning views of the Brecon Beacons.

See pictureEventually we reached the dam and headed across to pick up some money, before returning to continue to Talybont on Usk. After a coffee in a surprisingly welcoming pub, we headed back up to the car along the roads.

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