Orson’s Travel Blog


South Wales

with 91 comments

During my recent visit to the U.K., they were experiencing unseasonably warm weather for this time of year. In the U.S., they would call it an Indian Summer. I dunno what they would call it in Wales. A Druid Summer?

I arrived in Nottingham and reunited with my Triumph Thruxton after a two year absence. The Trumpet fired right up as if it were only yesterday. We set off towards Wales under cement gray skies but, with an improving forecast. When I say cement gray skies, I don’t mean cement-colored but that, it actually looks like the sky is filled with cement. A thick pea soup mixture that dulls everything it touches. The grayness persisted for the entire first day of the trip so, not many pictures.

After overnighting in Brecon, Wales, day two dawned under similarly gray skies but, the weatherman was calling for patches of sun as I headed south across the Black Mountains. As I crossed over the top of the mountains, the fog was so thick that, I had to slow down considerably and had to allow a car towing a caravan (camper) to pass ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

By 10:30 A.M., I was beginning to detect some brightness through the mist


Fall colours


Welsh backroads tend to be a tad narrow, down to one lane wide in places with pullouts to allow other traffic to get by


By noon, the sun was out in full force as I approached Swansea on the south coast


After getting through Swansea (a lovely looking city), I made my way to the Gower Peninsula. I stopped at the seaside village of Port Eynon for a lunch of fish & chips. I talked to a couple of local riders, one on a Harley and the other on a beautifully maintained, 30 year old Kawasaki Z900. I continued on to the town of Rhossili where, I found lodgings at a hotel overlooking Worm’s Head


Looking north from Worm’s Head to the wide expanse of beach. The little black specks in the water are surfers. Yes, surfers in Wales…in October


Sunset over Worm’s Head


The next morning, I was so taken by the beauty of the locale that I had to snap a few more pictures


Exploring the narrow roads along the coast. In the U.S. this would either be a bicycle or golf cart path. It’s hard to make out due to the brightness of the sun but, that’s the Bristol Channel on the horizon


On my third day, I left the Gower Peninsula and made my way around the Loughor Estuary, following the coast towards the Pembrokeshire National Seashore. The rugged Pembokeshire coast near the town of Bosherston


Continuing westward, there were many other people out enjoying the fine autumn weather


Looking back eastward along the narrow, coastal road


I spent the third night in Haverfordwest before continuing the next day towards St. Brides Head in far Western Wales

St Bridehead

The village of St. Brides is as peaceful and idylic as they come. Location, location, location

St Brides

Nearby, two fishermen were setting their pots


I continued north along the coast, trying to stay as close to the shore as possible by following the narrow, one-lane roads. Less sport and more touring really. Looking back south along the coast


Approaching the town of Broad Haven


Coastal farms were in abundance


A solitary stroller enjoying the fine day along one of the broad, Welsh beaches near the town of Newgale


Time was beginning to run out and I had to begin to make my way northeast towards Nottingham. The mysterious Preseli Hills from which the bluestones of Stonehenge eminate, hove into view


I rejoin the coast at Cardigan and follow the coastal road northwards past retirement and vacation homes. Near Aberystwyth, I find a nice country hotel with a splendid view and a fine restaurant. I enjoy a nice meal with accompanying adult beverages for my last night on the road. Wales is the closest place I’ve found that matches the beauty of Northern California. Sonoma County or Wales?


The next morning dawns bright and shiney and after a full Welsh Breakfast, I point the bike eastwards back towards England but, not before getting a few final pictures of the stunning Welsh countryside




The roads open up as the terrain begins to change. The Triumph falls into a relaxed pace as if trying to delay the journey’s end. It seems happiest when just puttering along at 65 to 70 mph on a lazily sweeping two-laned roads. A steady, unhurried beat like a Miles Davis composition ๐Ÿ™‚


All in all, I couldn’t have asked for better weather. To expect 4 days of continuous sunshine in October is to be tempting fate but, somehow it was as if I flew through the eye of a needle. I get the feeling I may have to pay on a later journey.

Route map:


Trip stats:

Riding Days: 5
Rest Days: 0
Mileage: 800
Police encounters: 0
Deer encounters: 0
Sheep encounters: 1,000,019
Bee stings: 0


91 Responses

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  1. Lovely piece with some stunning photographs. Well done also for publishing the map,lots of tourists never get this far west.I really hope you enjoyed your visit and also experienced some good Welsh hospitality



    November 3, 2010 at 11:29 am

  2. Oooh, purdy!

  3. Very nice pictures. An enjoyable blog.

    Chef Marc d'Entremont

    November 3, 2010 at 11:37 am

  4. Lovely shots. Like to see a few close ups of the bike!

    Chris Sorlie

    November 3, 2010 at 12:12 pm

  5. I’ve ridden across the USA, from coast-to-coast, at least 20 times over the years, so I know the lure of the open road. The pictures are great; a fitting memorial to a great ride. One day I have to hit the roads that lay “across the pond.” Keep the rubber side down.


    November 3, 2010 at 12:16 pm

  6. First, “A Druid Summer” — brilliant! Second, thank you for the lovely pictures. I’m so glad you were freshly pressed so that I was able to see them!



    November 3, 2010 at 12:33 pm

  7. Wow, you’ve really captured the green lushness of the Welsh countryside on your travels.


    November 3, 2010 at 12:36 pm

  8. Wonderful !!


    November 3, 2010 at 12:47 pm

  9. Some really nice shots there. Makes me think because i take it for granted every day living in the UK but we really do have a beautiful country.

    Blog Me - Blog You

    November 3, 2010 at 12:47 pm

  10. Wow, stunning photos! My grandmother is from Swansea and I spent a few weeks in Porthgain when I was a teen. Wales offers views and countrysides I’ve yet to encounter elsewhere … just beautiful.

    Thank-you so much for sharing these and congrats on being Freshly Pressed. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Drive on,
    – M.


    November 3, 2010 at 12:56 pm

  11. I live in Swansea, some parts of it are gorgeous. ๐Ÿ™‚


    November 3, 2010 at 12:56 pm

  12. Great post! Stunning landscape.


    November 3, 2010 at 1:16 pm

  13. Breath-taking photos. My mother is from Wales and she always says how glorious it is there. Thank you for sharing, and congrats on getting pressed.

    *British Texan Blend*



    November 3, 2010 at 1:33 pm

  14. Nice post and really nice pictures (I like the sheep encounters bit!).

    I’m at university in Cardiff and have been for two years now. I’ve yet to explore a lot of the countryside. It’s a nice part of the world and ideal for exploring on a bike. I did come close in the easter when I rode by KTM, though I barely made it to Wales and the bike was running rough by the end of the journey so I was reluctant to venture very far! I had an ar5e like the Japanese flag by the end of the 9 hour journey (I did see some nice stuff on the way though).

    One saying I like about bikers is that, ‘we’re often strange, but never strangers’. Stay safe!



    November 3, 2010 at 1:35 pm

  15. Nice views! I’m in Swansea for a couple of months and wish I had a motorcycle now ๐Ÿ˜€

    Amanda Cadle

    November 3, 2010 at 1:42 pm

  16. Gorgeous pictures!


    November 3, 2010 at 1:42 pm

  17. A beatifull landscape !
    I wish to be there !


    November 3, 2010 at 1:48 pm

  18. that’s exactly what blogs are for – really enjoyed reading and great pictures!


    November 3, 2010 at 1:54 pm

  19. Wales by bike?!?!?! Nice! Great shots.


    November 3, 2010 at 2:26 pm

  20. I’ve always wanted to see the Welsh countryside. These are gorgeous images…thank you for sharing…


    November 3, 2010 at 2:27 pm

  21. I am a newbei to your site, its nice, Thank you. looking forward to reading your past and future adventures.


    November 3, 2010 at 2:28 pm

  22. Awesome pictures! I love it!


    November 3, 2010 at 2:38 pm

  23. Wow those photos are stunning. I live in Mexico now , but when I see the green fields of home I always feel a bit homesick. Looks like a great ride and a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing!


    November 3, 2010 at 2:45 pm

  24. loved gazing through your photos and imagining myself there ๐Ÿ™‚

    munira's bubble

    November 3, 2010 at 3:07 pm

  25. This is beautiful! I’ve always wanted to visit the UK – to do so on a bike would be amazing!
    What a wonderful world!


    November 3, 2010 at 3:13 pm

  26. I’d like to make it to Wales next tike I’m in the U.K.. One of my early ancestors (William Penn) originated from those parts, so it would be interesting to get a feel for the area ๐Ÿ™‚ I love your beautiful photo’s!

    Heather CJ Atkins

    November 3, 2010 at 3:35 pm

  27. Ok, you’re killing me here! I SO want to visit (no, LIVE in)the British Isles in the worst way!

    Wales is just beautiful! No, not Sonoma County, WALES! Nothing in the US compares to the beauty and ambiance of England!

    You’re pictures were breath taking! Thank you SO much for sharing them! This Yank truly appreciated them!


    November 3, 2010 at 3:42 pm

  28. Great post!

    Brings back fond memories from my recent trip to Skye.
    They say green is a very calming colour, and after seeing so much of it – you just have to agree.


    November 3, 2010 at 3:45 pm

  29. Very good pictures, i have never been in Wales but would like to, thanks for sharing your trip experience.


    November 3, 2010 at 3:47 pm

  30. I ‘stumbled upon’ your site: In was born and brought up in Swansea (though I now live in Italy)and the sight of the Gower Peninsula took my breath away. Then Cardigan . one great ran a bed and breakfast, and another lived on a farm on the way to Devil’s Bridge.



    Rowland Jones

    November 3, 2010 at 4:00 pm

  31. Sorry that should have read one great AUNT

    Rowland Jones

    November 3, 2010 at 4:01 pm

  32. If only this bike wouldn’t have gotten in the view of these beautiful landscapes ๐Ÿ˜›

    Andreas Moser

    November 3, 2010 at 4:06 pm

  33. Absolutely gorgeous!


    November 3, 2010 at 4:29 pm

  34. Great photos. I like the trees as barriers or windbreaks in some of them.


    November 3, 2010 at 4:31 pm

  35. very beautiful


    November 3, 2010 at 4:41 pm

  36. Very good blog i really enjoyed reading. I went on a trip to Wales this year and i really enjoyed it. The pictures are great and i love the bike.

    Keep up the good work.

    Andrew Taws

    November 3, 2010 at 5:02 pm

  37. Beautiful pictures – I live in Abergavenny and go camping in Port Eynon every year, so it’s lovely to know that you have enjoyed your visit. It can be a bit wet in Wales, but when the sun shines, there’s no better place.


    November 3, 2010 at 5:06 pm

  38. Yay Swansea! (thats where I’m from!)
    Photos are lovely, and I like how your bike is a feature in so many of them!
    The thing about the million sheep made me laugh!



    November 3, 2010 at 5:13 pm

  39. Sounds like an awesome trip. I love Wales, its such a beautiful place.


    November 3, 2010 at 5:25 pm

  40. hey man, do you not take a rain in your road trip?
    itยดs is very crazy…

    I have a mirage
    just 150c
    dont go to high way… so bad…

    good crazyes to your next trip



    November 3, 2010 at 5:26 pm

  41. Beautiful scenery.


    November 3, 2010 at 5:39 pm

  42. South Wales seems very nice, interesting and amazing.


    November 3, 2010 at 6:06 pm

  43. I’m so very jealous of your gorgeous Triumph. Great photos too.


    November 3, 2010 at 6:19 pm

  44. Beautiful photos! I can’t wait to go someday!


    November 3, 2010 at 6:27 pm

  45. Beautiful photos. I felt like I was in Wales. Thanks for sharing.


    November 3, 2010 at 8:20 pm

  46. Beautiful! There’s something so pleasing and comfortable about the scale of the human developments shown in your photos. Even the narrow roads, though they must be a bit scary (remembering TE Lawrence’s death on such a road).


    November 3, 2010 at 8:21 pm

  47. Nice! I love your photos! I am sure you also enjoyed the trip. Cool.

    Imaginarium of Pau

    November 3, 2010 at 9:13 pm

  48. SHEEP! Great photos. I long to visit Wales; I have a friend who lives there. Congrats on getting Freshly Pressed!


    November 3, 2010 at 9:22 pm

  49. I like your blog! especially those pictures, they are fantastic1 I saved one of them and set as my wallpaper, hope you would not mind! Thanks!


    November 3, 2010 at 9:25 pm

  50. Nice, I lived in Bangor for a year recently and have also spent time in Barry, Cardiff and Aberystwyth, I love Wales.


    November 3, 2010 at 9:28 pm

  51. This blog is food for my soul.

    I am on exchange in Canada and although I love it here the only thing I miss is English countryside and your photos of childhood holiday destinations like Grassington, Haverfordwest and Broadhaven make me so happy! That land really does become a part of you and even the gray skies become tolerable they are as much a part of England as the land and the pubs.

    Is there anywhere more stunning?!



    November 3, 2010 at 9:40 pm

  52. Excellent pictures! A great view. I could almost imagine myself travelling along. I am awestruck by Nature’s beauty.


    November 3, 2010 at 10:01 pm

  53. Lovely pics. The Thruxton makes a good motive in front of the British landscape ๐Ÿ˜‰ and bonus, you were really lucky with the weather.

    I traveled through England and Wales back in the 90’s and got 2.5 weeks of rain in a 3 week’s vacation. Talk about wet!


    November 3, 2010 at 10:57 pm

  54. Lovely pictures. I love road trips. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed ๐Ÿ™‚


    November 3, 2010 at 11:26 pm

  55. Wow, Wales is indeed beautiful. I am in love with west coast landscape in the states, but this place rivals anything I’ve seen in Washington or Oregon (we do have all those big beautiful mountains here in Puget Sound though). Wales is calling me I think.


    November 3, 2010 at 11:33 pm

  56. WoOw–awesome pics and I’m glad you included your bike in most of them too! Four days of beautiful scenery on a motorcycle…who could ask for more??! By the way, about how many miles was the trip? Congrats on Freshly Pressed! LB


    November 3, 2010 at 11:45 pm

  57. Great photos – thanks for sharing them – and congratulations on being freshly pressed.

    Pat .

    November 4, 2010 at 12:02 am

  58. Beautiful images! Makes me want to take a trip there. And what a great idea to do it on a motor bike. Thanks for sharing. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Emily Gooch

    November 4, 2010 at 12:33 am

  59. Outstanding photographs.


    November 4, 2010 at 1:35 am

  60. i love all the pictures, very beautiful ๐Ÿ™‚


    November 4, 2010 at 1:38 am

  61. Wow what beautiful landscape! What did you shoot the pictures with?


    November 4, 2010 at 2:00 am

    • I used a small Leica G Lux-3 pocket camera ๐Ÿ™‚


      November 5, 2010 at 1:23 am

  62. nice place, i want 2 go there sumday


    November 4, 2010 at 2:06 am

  63. Fantastic photos, mate. Makes me weep for my ’96 Harley Softail which I had to sell about 15 months ago.


    November 4, 2010 at 2:37 am

  64. Wow those are some amazing pics…. Looks so beautiful there…


    November 4, 2010 at 2:48 am

  65. […] I start reading this, and I start to have this dream of travelling around the […]

  66. BEAUTIFUL!!!! I have never been to Wales (and I live in England, shameful, I know) but I never appreciated how beautiful the coastline is until I saw your pics. Breathtaking!!!


    November 4, 2010 at 3:30 am

  67. Very beautiful.
    After that photos i want to leave my home and start travel ๐Ÿ˜‰

    P.S Good bike )))


    November 4, 2010 at 3:38 am

  68. simply wonderful…!!!


    November 4, 2010 at 4:18 am

  69. just a suggestion try using Gmaps Pedometer to track your route.


    November 4, 2010 at 4:20 am

  70. Photos are idyllic!! ๐Ÿ™‚


    November 4, 2010 at 4:34 am

  71. What a wonderfully relaxing and beautiful trip you took! I enjoyed the photos and envied you. Thank you for sharing these so that I might get a sense of this great area of the world.


    November 4, 2010 at 4:45 am

  72. Looks wicked! How was the bike?


    November 4, 2010 at 6:04 am

    • The bike is just about perfect for the narrow, British backroads ๐Ÿ™‚


      November 5, 2010 at 1:18 am

  73. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! ๐Ÿ™‚


    November 4, 2010 at 7:16 am

  74. Beautiful photos! Its almost like being there:)


    November 4, 2010 at 7:25 am

  75. Terrific pictures there. It may interest you to hear that the best surfing in the UK is supposed to be off the north coast of Scotland. In January.


    November 4, 2010 at 8:07 am

  76. Went to university in Aberystwyth and it was a long 6-hour car journey each time I went back and forth from my home in South East England. Nice to see these roads again after a good few years – the last 2 photos are familiar scenes for me ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve had a soft spot for Wales and its people since then.

    Southern Elle

    November 4, 2010 at 8:27 am

  77. What beautiful photos! Thank you so much for sharing. Hopefully you never have to pay for the nice weather!


    November 4, 2010 at 9:09 am

  78. Cool pictures, dude!

    Flying Squidwolf

    November 4, 2010 at 9:12 am

  79. I enjoyed taking this journey with you because I, an American, once lived in Cardiff Wales for a year during 2000. I have travelled these locations with three kids in tow driving a minivan! I think you had the better experience.
    Cheers! Tonya LaTorre


    November 4, 2010 at 9:28 am

  80. Despite the fact that I come from the North West coast of England, and on a clear day we could see the hills of North Wales across the sea, I’d only ever spent a half day there in my entire life. Last weekend I “discovered” North Wales, and totally fell in the love with it. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to go back!

    Super pix! Congrats on being Freshley Pressed!

    islandmomma Life on a Small Island and Beyond

    November 4, 2010 at 9:37 am

  81. Nice Pics, Nice Bike, Nice trip. You are a lucky person. One day, I will fly there with the Harley and do the same trip!


    November 4, 2010 at 9:53 am

  82. Thank you for taking us all along on your journey. I dream of vacations like that, beautifully done.

    Christy aka Mamarazzi

    November 4, 2010 at 9:58 am

  83. Thanks for sharing this bit of Wales; I’ve never been there, but lived in the EU 10 years. It’s beautiful and green, and yes, there is a resemblance to northern CA, isn’t there?


    November 4, 2010 at 10:14 am

  84. Thanks for the photos; my ancestors were Welsh and these were very inspiring! I wish I could be back there! I’ve been only once and it is so incredible – like your pictures.

    Ryan Griffiths

    November 4, 2010 at 10:25 am

  85. I took a similar trip (by car) three years ago, though I also covered the northern part of Wales. Your pictures were wonderful – it was a great step back into my memories. And I love the sheep count! Thanks and congrats on being Freshly Pressed.


    November 4, 2010 at 11:00 am

  86. Excellent trip stats.
    This brings back memories of trips to county Louth in Ireland.
    I traveled once down to Cork. On the way, I stopped on one of those narrow curvy roads. Sheep to one side and a field of flowers on the other. All it took was one sheep thinking I was there to do the feeding. Like a slow wave, within 5 minutes, I had a couple of hundred with many more on the way, all making noise. Sheep were everywhere.

    Good post and nice photos.
    Good for you.


    November 4, 2010 at 11:01 am

  87. Beautiful pictures !! The views of the countryside reminds me that nature is around. Hopefully it will stay that way.Thanks for the post !!

  88. Great shots, and a great country!


    November 8, 2010 at 10:28 am

  89. Incredible trip and more incredible photographs you took.really i could imagine those roads fields sheeps riversides and sunset.and its hell of a unforgettable memories trips like this makes.
    thanks for sharing.


    November 18, 2010 at 12:31 am

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