Sunday, August 27 – Llangollen to Bolton

We woke up this morning with the rain beating on the window, and a general desolation everywhere which seemed to point to a hopeless day. At breakfast we met a CTC-ite who was on tour from Bradford, and we had a long chat together. I had a seat by the window overlooking the rocky bed of the Dee, which was gurgling and dashing itself amongst the boulders tumultuously. He influenced me to join the CTC and next year will see me a member of the said organisation. Later I went for a paper, and when I returned he had gone on the Holyhead road towards Llanberis. Didn’t I wish I was going with him!

At 10am it brightened up so we went out. Castell Dinas Bran excited my interest, and I would not be satisfied until I had dragged my pal up the steep hill (1000ft) upon which it is situated. Little now remains of what was once a strong fortress, its walls 290ft by 140ft must have occupied the whole of the crown of the hill, and it is supposed to have been built by the Britons before the Roman invasion. As it was raining hard we repaired to the little shop on the summit for refreshments, and after a talk with the proprietors we again went to the ruins from where we saw a wonderful sight. The clouds were breaking over the distant peaks of the Berwyn mountains, one by one the peaks rose from the mist, presenting a grand spectacle, then gradually they disappeared and everything was as before. We stood gazing at this for some time, afterwards agreeing that it was worth the trouble if only for the view. The view from the castle is said to be very extensive on a clear day, the whole of the Vale of Llangollen from Moel-y-Geraint (Barber’s Hill) to the aqueduct towards Chirk, the silver thread of the Dee, the Eglwyseg Rocks running into World’s End, and even Snowdon can be seen. Retracing our steps, we returned for dinner.

I could just spend a few days exploring around Llangollen, perhaps sometime I will, but now we must return to work. We hadn’t time to see all the ‘lions’, Eglwyseg Rocks, Barber’s Hill, Llantisilio, Horseshoe Falls, Valle Crucis Abbey, Eliseg’s Pillar, and a thousand other attractions, but must hie away. Dinner was late, and it was 2.40 when we retrieved our bikes, and bidding our friends goodbye we rode homewards. The rain had cleared and the sun shone brightly, and with a boisterous wind behind us we sailed away. As we climbed out of that peaceful vale I looked back with a tinge of regret at leaving it so soon.

Back through Trevor and Acrefair to Ruabon we sped, and soon reached that painful stretch to Rhostyllen and Wrexham. Here we took the wrong way, but speedily righted ourselves. Had we been sooner we should have taken that road – to Whitchurch – but we were late, so we sped on to Chester via the pretty little villages of Rossett and Pulford. Nearing Chester we saw clearly the hills approaching North Wales, which we hoped to be more closely acquainted with next week. Through Chester, we sped quickly on to Warrington. Another weary stretch, then Leigh, Atherton, and home for 8.10pm.

62 miles, 5.5 hours