Wheels, sheep and Wales

It was getting late and I was already feeling the day in my legs. But I was really up for cycling some dirthpaths. That afternoon I ordered some food in a tiny village somewhere in the hills of Wales. An old man was sitting next to me, his hair combed neatly, beady eyed enjoying the sun and his coffee. His name was Gary. He was looking for a conversation and in me he found a victim. His wife died a few months earlier and he was still processing. The conversation quickly revolved around loosing someone close to you. But we also talked about the other side; he recently met a Thai lady who also happened to be a masseuse! He was so happy with her and couldn’t stop talking about her. After a friendly conversation he thought it was more than normal to pay for my lunch. Another person who is friendly to me. That night I camped in a natural park. After biking for quite some kilometers I had enough and walked up a hill. It might have seemed like a hill but judging the wetness of my shoes I was clearly walking through a swamp. I need to get out of here! Nearby I found a beautiful spot for my tent, right next to a waterfall. And suddenly I heard the sound.Meeeh! MEEEH!!! It came from somewhere around the waterfall.

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I couldn’t see it at first, but it was a lamb that got himself into trouble and got stuck. Because it was getting dark I decided to do nothing. The next morning the little lamb was still walking about at the same spot. I had to do something. I thought of Gary and of a way to earn my lunch back, by helping the lamb. I climbed down and made an improvised lasso of some parachute string that I got from someone earlier. But the closer I got to the lamb, the more it was trying to escape. Eventually I stood eye to eye with the lamb and it was so scared, that it jumped away. Right into the river! It landed with its head on a stone and when it got up it was limping. After following it for more than 20 minutes I decided it was leading nowhere. I couldn’t help the little lamb…

Meanwhile Wesley brought me to Wales, the land of hills, sheep and unpronounceable place names. The black asphalt of the roads zigzags like a snake through the sheep-filled hills. It’s heavy climbing these by bike, but racing 50 kilometers per hour downhill through this beautiful setting, leaves a big smile on my face. It’s a weird experience. 200% concentration is needed to keep an eye out for all the obstacles and this kind of concentration makes you forget everything. It is when you are at the bottom of the hill you realize there is also a world out there. The last bit of adrenaline leaves the body, but the smile stays on.

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It takes a lot of energy, so I need to eat a lot. I had difficulties doing this, and it often happened I only had a snack during the day, It resulted in the fact that I was completely exhausted in the evening and didn’t feel up to doing anything. Let’s not even start about my state of mind. Something needed to change. I needed to eat more during the day to get my motor going. An average day looks like this:

– 9:00 A big bowl of oatmeal porride with casews and sugarsyrup.

– 11:00 snickers, banana and a muesli bar

– 13:00/14:00 full English breakfast; 2 sausages, 2 eggs, 2 slices of bacon, mushrooms, 1 tomato, black pudding, 2 slices of toast with butter and a big heap of white beans and tomato sauce

– 17:00 snickers, 2 muesli bars, a piece of almondpaste cake and a banana

– 19:00 muesli bar, chocolate

– 21:00 pasta with onions, fish and vegetables

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The hedges are different from the ones in Cornwall, but they are still aplenty. The land is divided in patches, each owned by a farmer and of course sheep are walking everywhere. But as soon as it gets dark, special things can happen, things you rather wouldn’t want to see. Locals told me, during the night the dead come to live and jump across the hedges. The dead have fire-lighted eyes and you could actually see them jump, like little lights flying. If you see these lights, death will get you or someone close to you…… The man who told me this, told it casually. Like he rather didn’t want to talk about it. Who knows, maybe he experienced it firsthand.

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All fun and games playing around the Welsh hills, running after sheep, but I have to get a move on. Adventure Henk is going to Edinburgh soon to accompany me on his longboard. So I need to be on time in Scotland. But not before I have checked out ‘The Lake District’. A very wet place (sometimes up to 3000 mm of rain per year, in comparison to 750 mm in The Netherlands) with loads of mountaintops above the 900 meters and beautiful nature. A rough place that I’m really looking forward to. And of course I’m looking forward to meeting knew people and hearing their stories.

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