Welsh Slate Water Features owner Ioan Raymond is a keen cyclist and recently entered the Tour of Pembrokeshire 2022 for the fifth time. Ioan loves completing this tough one day cycling challenge which takes in all the fantastic sights his home county of Pembrokeshire has to offer. Being the only coastal national park, Pembrokeshire has some truly special views and this cycling route really makes the most of this incredible landscape.
Ioan talks us through the route he took with his cycling friends:
“We chose the longer course, Paul Ties 105 mile route with an estimated elevation of just over 7000 feet. Starting at the school in St Davids around 7am the route took us along the coastal gems of Solva and Newgale heading towards Milford Haven. The hilly route then turned inland and after a quick feed stop in Wolfscastle the terrain changed and became even more hilly as you gradually climb up towards Crymych, passing Waldos Memorial Stone and then tackling the long drag starting at Crosswell and up through Brynberian, riding close to the famous burial chamber of Pentre Ifan and then passing Waun Mawn Standing Stones across the Preseli Hills. Dropping down and taking a breather whilst trying to get your heart rate back down to a normal level, a few sharp steep climbs and descents as we headed towards the Gwaun Valley. A short feed stop before climbing back out of the valley and heading for Fishguard with the dreaded Goodwick hill climb taking the last of any energy left. Navigating towards Mathry before yet another sharp climb before heading along the coast back towards St Davids. After crossing the finish line it was a real treat to see Mark Evans from Old Farmhouse Brewery serving cold beers and ciders. The perfect way to rehydrate after a tough day in the hills.”
Ioan and his friends based themselves for the tour at a lovely ‘Villa’ located in the heart of St Davids, just a few minutes from the start line and close to the pubs and restaurants in the City. There are so many nice cottages to choose from at St Davids Escapes and the facilities at the Villa were nothing short of excellent. Everything had been thought about – rails for wet suits, dog blankets and even a bbq on the terrace.
Ioan talks us through the social side of the Tour of Pembrokeshire event:
“We were lucky enough to book a table on the Friday night at the Bishops. It was very busy and we were fortunate to get space on a busy Friday night. You can a great view of the Cathedral as the sun sets from the beer garden at the rear. Saturday night after the ride we took a short walk down to the Farmers. Full of exhausted riders keen to rehydrate after a day on the bike. The gammon was the best I think I’ve ever had. An absolutely massive piece of meaty gammon with very little fat on and nice chunky chips. All washed down with a few local ales.
After waking early on the Sunday and keen to replenish the calories we headed over to the Mill for a full English breakfast and this did not disappoint. A lovely fresh and clean cafe with a modern decor, the breakfast was amazing and much needed after Saturdays ride. Fed and watered, we loaded the van, filled up with fuel and headed for the long journey home along the M4. What a great weekend, taking in the sights, burning a few calories in the sunshine of stunning Pembrokeshire.”