OVER THE TOP 2012

22.07.12

An early start was the order of the day for our annual trip over the Gospel Pass, the highest road in Wales. The weather promised to be warm, so there was good time made in the cool of the morning. There were familiar tracks followed through New Inn, Monkswood, Glascoed and then up Rumble Street toward Croes Llanfair. After passing trough Abergavenny the penetration into the Black Mountains started. Following the Honddu river this route is fairly flat to Llanthony. From here the valley is climbed in a series of steps of sharp climbs and short flat straights. After Capel-y-Ffin  the road is confined in a tunnel of trees, the last part is quite steep breaking out of Monmouthshire and onto the open mountainside of Powys. The climb seemed to be particularly easy this year, so the celebration meal of pies was taken by the cattle grid at about 500m. The pass was then taken at 552m and a quick descent was enjoyed toward Hay-on-Wye. At 275m there is a sharp turn that crosses the border into England and the county of Herefordshire. The tiny village of Craswall was passed through and there then ensued an unknown steep climb up to Black Hill  at 443m. This fox-glove shrouded lane flattened out and there was a quiet sunny ride enjoyed along the plateau. The descent down to the Bull Inn was followed by a rough road ride through the picturesque villages of Longtown and Clodock. The border was crossed again back in to Wales where we stocked up on drink for a very warm retracing of our steps back to Croesyceiliog....109km  with 1675m of climbing.

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