Having read in the National Geographic that the drive from Hay to Abergavenny was a “castle-dotted route” that “brims with vistas” it sounded too good to be true. However, there are two possible routes and no clues were given to help us pick the right one.
Given that one route was an A road we decided that probably wasn’t it so elected to go along the other, along the Gospel Pass. I say “pass” but that was a bit of a misnomer as pass was one thing that it was very difficult to do it being so narrow. Fortunately we met very little along the 20 miles of road that takes you from the bleak, sheep strewn, hill tops to verdant low lands.
We stopped a few times along the way to take pictures including a longer stop at Llanthony Priory which was an incredibly peaceful place. There you could hear nothing but the birds and the breeze. A great contrast to what I can hear now writing this at home with the usual Sunday night M4 drone in the background.
On a business trip a few months ago I went through Caerleon and I thought how pretty it was so, given that we were passing so close to it, we decided to make it the final stop of the day. This proved more difficult than expected due to many roads being closed for the Velothon Wales. In the end we decided just to dump the car and walk into the town.
There were a few townsfolk stood road side waiting for the cyclists (they had no where else to go as the town was cut off due to the road closures) but the centre was deathly quiet. We walked to the amphitheatre and round the walls before heading back out. I stood and waited for the race to come past (you can see some pictures here) while Helen made her way back to the car.
All-in-all we have had a great weekend and will definitely be going back to Hay again in future.
Some years ago the utility room in our house was full of shelves overflowing with books. Then along came the all powerful triumvirate of kids, kitchen and Kindle and all the books went (along with all my LPs). Over the years there has been a pang of regret for the loss of both books and records and now with the children leaving or taking up less space we are beginning to reverse the process.
Hay is famous for one thing and that is the abundance of second hand book shops and so a trip here is a quick and easy way to restock the shelves. After a hearty full breakfast at the Bear we set off out to see what we could find.
There are about 20 book shops in Hay, with some specialising in areas that weren’t of great interest to us, but we still managed to visit 90% of them. To my mind the best of the lot is Booth’s which is the original shop that started it all. Not only has it got a great selection of books it is well laid out in an interesting building. In the end we returned there at least three times and bought on each occasion.
I had a list of items that I wanted to find whereas Helen was just happy to browse. It was surprising how little I managed to cross off the list in the end but I did increase my H.E. Bates collection as you can see from the picture below.
At the final reckoning we ended up with 12 books and 2 LPs which will make a small step towards rebuilding the library. No doubt we will be back to Hay again in the future to top it up!
Despite stopping overnight close to the “classic” Severn Bridge we elected to enter Wales further North thereby avoiding the £6.50 toll, money that clearly isn’t spent on repairing the road surface on the crossing. This was a much more pleasant way to get to Hay, our ultimate stopping point, than a blast along the M4.
We have been on a health kick lately and I have managed to meet my step target for the last three weeks so I really wanted to make sure I continued that trend. To do that we needed to find a walk of several miles. A quick search online turned up this walk which was only five miles and a circular route starting from the car park in Hay.
The instructions for the walk were pretty good but as soon as they are committed to print (or blog in this case) things change. Trees grow, fences are put up, steams choose a new path etc. and so you have to be constantly vigilant that you have remained on the right path.
So we found ourselves on a number of occasions not being entirely sure that we were where we were supposed to be. In these situations it becomes very easy to find yourself making the landscape around you fit what you want, nay need, it to be. To make matters worse one stile looks pretty much like another. We spent an interesting five minutes looking for a set of “distinctive metal railings” which we eventually found more by luck than judgement.
Clearly given that I am writing this blog (from the really excellent The Bear Bed & Breakfast) shows that we did make it back successfully.
Tomorrow we hit the books shops.