The campgrounds last night and tonight make me long for that on-star campground on the Isle of Wales. Not only have the campgrounds the last couple of nights been basic, but they’ve been filled with out-of-control kids rampaging everywhere. I am not at the campground I planned on. I realized I was going to get to castle #5 for the day at about 5 pm, so I could either go forward another 10 km, and then retreat back in the morning, or stop 10 km early and get there in the morning.
I’m not covering anywhere near the distances I expect. I planned this trip as a relatively small circle, so I’m still tracking to making it back to Dublin at the appropriate time even with the shorter distances. Part of the reason I’m not covering the typical 100+ km /day is I’ve been stopping earlier in the day than my norm. I’ve also been having to spend more time navigating than long stretches of Eurovelo or Camino. Another part is having a hard time getting in shape (and it’s only been two weeks, where admittedly my expectations are from longer trips). Today, that problem included stopping at castles.
Yes, that’s right; I didn’t make it to the fifth castle today. Today included castles of all types. All that was left of Prestatyn Castle was the mound the castle originally stood on. Rhuddlan Castle was awesome. The castle is massive. They actually diverted the river to the castle so they could supply by sea.
The shop at the castle also convinced me to buy a Heritage Card so other member castles will be free. Whether I actually break even remains to be seen. Gwyrch Castle, barely visible on the hillside, was protected by No Trespassing signs that I decided to observe. Conwy Castle was another amazing castle. They built the entire massive structure in only four years. Two castles that were about an “8” in the same day!
I spent part of the day in dedicated cycle path, and part of it on glorified sidewalks to avoid heavy traffic. While I’m generally following the Number 5 National Cycle Route, I occasionally had to divert for castles or shortcuts. Even on the national route I kept encountering grades of 10%+.
The weather today was fantastic. No rain, and dare I say it warm. All thanks to Hurricane Gert; weather reverts to the usual cool temps tomorrow of about 16 C. I learned a shorthand trick for converting to Fahrenheit. Double the temp and add 30 degrees, and you’ll be close.
I passed a post office with a big display in the window indicating they changed currency, and decided to solve my Isle of Man currency problem. They said they thought they were the same. Since they were the same, I asked if she could exchange them. Then see started to waffle, and said she didn’t want her boss to be mad at her, and suggested I go to a bank. I left and shortly thereafter stopped at a bank. The bank said they couldn’t exchange the money unless I have an account, but that I could get it done at a post office!
Looking ahead to tomorrow, the castle density is about the same. The scale on my (paper) map is different than I’m used to; objects on the map are much closer than they appear. Tomorrow should be another day of about 70 km. However, my day ends climbing into Snowdonia. Wales is hilly. Snowdonia is the hilly part of Wales. If all goes as planned, I’ll be camped or in a hostel between multiple 3000+ foot peaks.