Rides bikes, paddles sea kayaks, takes pictures. Life on the road & my home in Cornwall.
Wayfarer Centenary Ride, and weekend
A weekend in north Wales with the Rough Stuff Fellowship, in honour of the centenary of Wayfarer's snow-bound crossing of the Berwyn Mountains.
Should you delve into the annals of the history of cycling in the UK then you’ll find Cornwall doesn’t really feature at all. Historically little of two-wheeled significance happened here (a point on which I stand to be corrected), and major events rarely venture this far west. As such living all the way down here at the bottom of the nation it is easy to lose touch with the richness of cycling culture further north. I am sure folk more learned than I will be able to explain why the north seems to be more heavily represented than elsewhere; perhaps something to do with the rapid industrialisation of those areas enabling pastimes such as riding while the southwest was still too busy with fishing and farming. Regardless, Cornwall is not, relatively speaking, a hot-bed of cycling culture and thus it is a good thing to poke one’s nose across the border from time to time and join in with goings on of a bicycling flavour farther north.
One hundred years ago on the last Saturday in March a certain Walter MacGregor Robinson, popularly known by his pseudonym Wayfarer, set off on a snow-bound crossing of the Berwyn Mountains in north Wales. His account of the crossing appeared a few weeks later in Cycling magazine and helped cement his reputation as a pioneer of off-road cycling. Rather than repeat that which has already been written elsewhere I’ll point you to this page on the CTC Cymru website that explains a little more, and instead get on with throwing some snaps at you.
Last weekend, being the centenary, the Rough Stuff Fellowship (https://www.rsf.org.uk/) organised a get together in honour of Wayfarer’s crossing. It was a weekend featuring some terrific riding in the company of friends old and new, all rounded out with evening talks, slides of past Rough Stuff Fellowship exploits, plenty of beer, and “bonhomie”. Well worth the long drive north to dip one’s toe, or rather both legs, and head (I did go over the bars into a peat bog at one point trying to ride something that perhaps I shouldn’t have…) into some proper cycling culture again. The organisers did a fantastic job, kept it nice and informal, and are deserving of a hearty thank you for such a memorable weekend.
I didn’t set out to ‘document’ the weekend, I thought it might get in the way of just enjoying the riding, so stuffed my fixed lens compact camera in along with my sandwiches for some snaps; here are the places I pointed it…