Taff Trail - Cardiff

by CameronM Sat, September 13 2003 05:14

I thought I'd really made a mistake by staying at the backpackers when last night revellers stayed downstairs partying until 2am. My room being directly above the bar I had absolutely no sleep and rose at 7am ready to kill anyone who mentioned what a great night it had been. After a breakfast of toast and coffee, I hired a bike from the hostel and headed south to check out Cardiff Bay, where they have spent a lot of money redeveloping the former port into a new commercial centre complete with restaurants and bars. At 9am nothing was open, but I was able to check out the foreshore and bay, which is now always at high tide thanks to the construction of a barrage that keeps the previous 12m tide outside the bay.

I returned to Cardiff and continued north along the Taff Trail - a 93km trail along the Taff river valley suitable for bikes and walkers. The trail heads towards Castell Coch, situated in the hills above Tingwynlais. Although it appeared impressive from afar, closer inspection revealed that the castle was quite small.

 Castell Coch, Cardiff

I continued along the trail until lunch time and stopped for what turned out to be the biggest hamburger ever (well close anyway). The lady at the pub where I stopped gave me a dirty look, I'm not sure if it was because I was covered in sweat, I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt or whether she just didn't like patrons (something a lot of shop/cafe/pub staff make no attempt to hide).

The scenery during the ride was for the most part very enjoyable, except for the few miles when it followed the rear of some rather dodgy housing areas or beside a roadway. The trail was clearly marked and mostly bitumen, with just the odd gravel sections. It was an enjoyable ride, but I was completely knackered when I returned to the hostel for a well earned shower and meal.

Some of the less inspiring vistas cycling the Taff Trail

Tags: , ,

UK

London - Cardiff

by CameronM Fri, September 12 2003 07:51

I had booked my ticket to Cardiff online and picked it up the day before at Victoria station, so all I needed to do today was finish packing my weekend gear into my backpack, store the rest at the hotel and make my way to Waterloo station. The train left on-time and it was a pleasant 3-hour trip through the countryside before arriving at Cardiff Central station.

The Backpackers was located only a short walk from the station, so soon I was joining the rest of the weary travellers, reading, watching TV or smoking in the lounge. I was surprised almost straight away at how little some backpackers actually do. I for one wanted to get out and explore, so I headed towards Cardiff Castle (Welsh: Castell Caerdydd) and wandered around the nearby park for almost an hour before heading back for a can of pasta and a shower.

As with St Paul's, workmen had disrupted my chances of a photo, with scaffolding around the front entrance of the castle. Interestingly the renovations are being funded by the Welsh lottery fund! What would we do without all the gamblers?

The Clock Tower begun in 1869

Castell Caerdydd

Tags: , , ,

UK