I left Kieran’s cleaner and better-rested, physically and mentally, than I’d been in a while. The reservation for the ferry in Fishguard to Rosslare is set for tomorrow at 1:10 pm, with a hostel reservation for tonight in Newport, only 15 km from Fishguard. I gave due consideration to the route today, and (mostly) followed National Route 82. Besides following the Tiefi River to the coast, 82 also passed by the two castles along the way.
Still not flat, I still spent a portion of the day walking up hills too steep to climb. I no longer struggle with them – if I can’t climb it, I just go ahead and walk. Walking uses different muscles, and by the time I reach the top my cycling muscles are refreshed.
The first castle, Cilgerran, was another Cadw Heritage site, and I finally managed to do only slightly better than breaking even on the Heritage membership. The unadorned ruin sits next to the river, with the vestiges of a dock for supply by sea. One of the wardens, a cycle tourist himself, talked to me for a while and made some recommendations about the roads ahead. When I commented about the great weather, he told me know to tell anyone, because the reports of bad weather keep the tourists away.
From there another 10 km brought me to Cardigan Castle. Cardigan’s storied history focuses on the recent events surrounding the transition of the castle from private to public ownership, including an 11 million pound government grant to restore the castle. In the end all they restored was the 19th century manor house, which in turn has no feel of history left in it. Instead, there are displays about the transition. They did not get their money’s worth.
I arrived in Newport by 3. Given that the Reception for the hostel didn’t open until 5, I explored the town, the local beach, and the nature trail before returning to wait outside with Katherine, an unemployed archaeologist from Australia extending a conference to six weeks of touring about the UK. While I’ve had people to chat with, the hostel is relatively empty; I have the room to myself.
I’ve hit the denouement part of the trip, where the focus swings around to the end. Always makes me feel like the trip is over. From Newport I have only 15-20 km to Fishguard and the ferry tomorrow to head back to Dublin. Rain is in the forecast (one reason I selected a hostel), but the rain could continue into the morning. If so, I won’t be able to outwait it and get to the ferry on-time. Wales might rain on me yet!
There’s a campground in Rosslare, and another in nearby Wexford (which I stayed at two years ago). With no Wi-Fi at this hostel, I’m not quite sure how the weather will make that turn out.