Lets find a Cafe (or tearoom)

Lets find a Cafe (or tearoom)

Locations of reviewed cafes

I

Friday, 8 September 2017

The Celtic Trail Day 4 (Tenby to Swansea)

The Celtic Trail Day 4
Annies Cafe, St Clears,
Open Not sure,
Flanagans Coastline cafe, Llanelli, 
Open Mon-Sun 10-5

It was going to be a weather lottery today as it looked like it could get rather wet but we were not sure just how lucky or unlucky we would be as we hopped on our bikes and said goodbye to the Ironman action at Tenby. 


We set off in a light drizzle and soon were enjoying are best seaviews of the week although Mrs Crusader informed me that she had to get off and push 4 times in the first 5 miles despite me promising a flatter day.

As the rain stopped we came to the big long climb I had been dreading as I knew some of the sections would be too step for Mrs Crusader but she battled through them before we eventually made it to the top and on to an early cafe stop.


There was no outdoor seating area at Annie's cafe but inside was nicely appointed. 


Once again the cake selection was small with only chocolate, carrot or Welsh fruit bread to chose from. We decided to have half each of the two cake choices. Mrs Crusader thought her Mocha was the best this week but my hot chocolate didn't compete with some of the other excellent ones I have enjoyed so far. Overall still a good showing but not the winner.


After the coffee stop we had two more large hills to get over and these took sometime to complete. To add to the jeopardy the weather app was now predicting thunderstorms in the next two hours.


After we summitted the last of the hills it was obvious that Mrs Crusader was pooped and her energy supplies were drained. Fortunately the remaining 30 miles left today were flat but as I was out of dilithium crystals to repower her engines I suggested we abandon day 5 tomorrow and catch the train back to Newport instead.


This suggestion got immediate approval and seemed to give her renewed vigour knowing that this would be her final effort of the trip. The good news continued as we reached some stunning views along by the estuary but the biggest surprise was the sun had come out and all talk of heavy rain on the weather app had gone.


We then hit the millennium coast path which was several miles of good quality track with great views to accompany us until we got to our second cafe stop Flanagans Coast line cafe. I had been here before on my cycle across Great Britain but had arrived 5 minutes before closing on that occasion so it didn't get a fair crack of the whip.


Mrs Crusader was still clearly very tired as she tried to climb the stairs before slumpimg into her chair with head in hands. While she was busy suffering I ordered drinks and an excellent looking piece of yogurt and berry flapjack. 


The cake selection was good and the fabulous views of the coast line resulted in high marks for those categories. 

My hot chocolate was another fine example and the flapjack was some of the best ever. We both agreed that this was the best cafe we had found on the Celtic trail and as we won't be going to anymore I declared it the winner of my search. 


We now had just 20 miles to go to get back the hotel and fortunately it was nearly all on good off-road track. It  took a while but eventually we hit the Swansea seafront and then cycled along it back to the Premier Inn we had left a 3 days ago.


We had covered over 250 miles (most of it up) of the Celtic trail in 4 days which I had very much enjoyed but I had learned 3 things
1. Sometimes it best to quit while your ahead
2. There are a lot more hills in Wales than I had thought
3. Mrs Crusader does not like cycling up hills, which is why we live in Norfolk

Map route

Profile 

Cafe ratings for cafes reviewed on (or near) the Celtic trail
Cafe
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Café Selection
Cake Taste Quality
Atmosphere and Ambiance
Total
Bradleys Coffee Shop
7.6
7.2577.677.29
Cafe Espresso
Na
NaNaNaNaNa
Time Coffee Bar
7
766.956.256.64
Caffi Becca
3
5.2547.256.255.15
Sands Cafe
87.655.257.58.27.32
Cwtch Cafe
8.5748.57.57.10
Annies Cafe
6857.757.56.85
Flanagans Cafe
777887.4





Stats 

Miles
Average Speed
Hours on bike
Meters climbed
Newport to Swansea
57.7
10.35:35:50679
Swansea to Fishguard
69.5
10.46:43:152075
Fishguard to Tenby
61.7
10.06:11:021411
Tenby to Swansea
70.1
10.56:39:091313
Swansea to Newport
Na
NaNaNa

Overall

  

Thursday, 7 September 2017

The Celtic Trail Day 3 (Fishguard to Tenby)

The Celtic Trail Day 3
Sands Cafe, Newgate
Open Mon-Sun 9-4:30,
Cwtch Cafe, Pembroke dock,
Open Mon-Sat 9-5,
After yesterdays bumpy ride and the words of Mrs Crusader "what part of that route could you possibly have thought I would have enjoyed" still ringing in my ears then I hoped that the worst of the hills were behind us as we now focus on National cycle route 4 for the rest of the trip which follows the coast line back to Newport. The only problem now was that it is due to rain for the next 3 days.

Mrs Crusader was clearly very tired, at least I assumed that's why she wasn't talking to me and things didn't improve as we hit the longest and steepest climb of the day within half a mile of leaving Fishguard. By the time she was at the top she already looked wasted and we still had over 60 miles to go. To make matters worse we were into a strong headwind. However the views were good and it wasn't raining too hard.
As we approached St Davids things got a bit flatter. After feeding Mrs Crusader an energy bar as we relaxed by St Davids cathedral I hoped the ride would get easier as we would now be going with the wind.


The scenery also improved and you could often see the coast through the mist. There were still a few steep bits to contend with but not as many. 


After nearly 30 miles we made a steep decent down to Newgate for our first stop of the day at Sands cafe.


Although it was too wet to sit in the outside seating area there were still good views of the beach from our table, leading to a high AAA score.


Sadly the cake selection was limited so we both went for coffee and Walnut with our usual drinks of hot chocolate and Mocha. The cake and Mocha were good and the hot chocolate excellent so overall a high score. We thought it was the best cafe on the route to date but as my scoring system had it in second place some retrospective adjustment was needed to our current leader which I quickly did before anyone noticed. 


Although half asleep by now Mrs Crusader insisted on studying the remaining route and profile and she didn't like what see saw as there were several more steep climbs needed to get away from the coast before things flattened off.


As we left it started to rain again and the promised steep bits soon materialised, however the views were fantastic and one of us thought worth the effort.
As we approached the final steep sections we were presented with another road closed dilemma. Yesterday we had risked it only to find an impassable hole but today it paid off as the hole diggers let us pass saving a potentially big detour. It had also stopped raining so maybe things were looking up.


As it turned out they were as we reached a long stretch of off road good quality cycle track which was mainly sloping down. 


Then to make things even better we had to go over a toll bridge which happens to be one of Mrs Crusaders favourite things so she was now in a much better mood when we arrived at the Cwtch cafe.


It was an artisan cafe so only had two cakes on offer which was a clementine cake or a lemon and sweet potatoe one. We had both with our coffee and hot chocolate.


The coffee was ok whereas my hot choclate was top drawer and the best I had had all week. The cakes were excellent too but not quite good enough to knock Sands cafe off first place.


From here the route predominantly followed the ironman cycle route to Tenby ready for the event on Sunday. I very much enjoyed riding on it as it brought back memories of the 4 ironman I have done, and don't like to talk about.


It had been a another very long day of cycling covering 60 miles in nearly 10 hrs. However after tea I suggested a quick walk round town past all the ironman preparations. I didn't have one of my ironman tee shirts with me so I wore my cycle helmet on the walk as it still has its ironman sticker on just to subtly let people know that I'm an ironman too, even though I don't like to talk about it


Tomorrow we plan to cycle back to Swansea but the forecast looks dreadful with thunderstorms so a plan b maybe required.

Map route

Profile 

Weather forecast day 4


Cafe ratings for cafes reviewed on (or near) the Celtic trail
Cafe
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Café Selection
Cake Taste Quality
Atmosphere and Ambiance
Total
Bradleys Coffee Shop
7.6
7.257.07.67.07.29
Cafe Espresso
Na
NaNaNaNaNa
Time Coffee Bar
7
766.956.256.64
Caffi Becca (on 2 visits)
3
5.2547.256.255.15
Sands Cafe
87.655.257.58.27.32
Cwtch Cafe
8.5748.57.57.10







Stats 

Miles
Average Speed
Hours on bike
Meters climbed
Newport to Swansea
57.7
10.35:35:50679
Swansea to Fishguard
69.5
10.46:43:152075
Fishguard to Tenby
61.7
10.06:11:021411
Tenby to Swansea

Swansea to Newport


Overall

  

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

The Celtic Trail Day 2 (Swansea to Fishguard)

The Celtic Trail Day 2
Time Coffee Bar, Carmarhan
Open Mon-Sat 8-6,
Caffi Becca, Middle of nowhere (Efailwen) 
Open Mon-Sat 9-4:30
Yesterday had been a voyage into the unknown as we had headed on to the offroad world of the welsh mountains. Today we would mainly be going on the same route I had done a couple of years ago when I successfully set off on my search for the best cafe anywhere across  Great Britain (see St Davids to Lowestoft day 2). It was the day our route most diverted from the Celtic trail as we needed to go a bit more directly to get to Fishguard in one day. I also knew this meant it would be our hilliest day. I decided to warn Mrs Crusader of this but not to mention that my cycling guests on that trip had both got off and walked up several of the hills. As it turned out this pattern got repeated.

It was also due to be the only dry day of weather forecast for this week, which was at least some good news I could share with Mrs Crusader as she fell asleep into her eggs and beans at breakfast claiming to be tired. "Nothing a good hilly ride won't sort out" I helpfully suggested, but it didn't.

The first few miles out of Swansea were a bit of a slog as we had to negotiate busy roads, roundabouts and traffic lights but it wasn't yet hilly. We finally made it to the only off road and flat piece of cycle path we would encounter all day as I foolishly said that the big hills were about to start. Unfortunately Mrs Crusader announced she was still tired so I fed her an energy bar before we set off up the hill.


It was a very steep hill peaking at 21% so not surprisingly she had to get off and push. I pointed out that in today's stage of the tour of Spain that they were racing up a 26% climb. Apparently this was irrelevant as she had no intention of ever riding in a grand tour or up any more steep hills. I decided not to mention that was only the first of 21 hills today.

7 hills later we made it to Carmarthen and our first stop, the Time Coffee Bar. Mrs Crusader slumped into one of the chairs in the outdoor seating area and declared she was knackered. 

I went inside to check out what was a reasonable cake selection. I had hot chocolate and carrot cake and she had a mocha and millionaire shortbread.


While we waited for them to arrive Mrs Crusader demanded to see the profile for the rest of the ride. I was pleased as she never normally takes interest in theses things but worried that she might notice we had another 14 hills, including some big ones, to do. Once she had worked this out morale dropped to an all time low.


On the positive side the drinks and cakes were nice but not as good as Bradley's which remained top of my 'best cafe on Celtic trail' search.

After a quick glimpse of Carmarthen's famous castle we headed out into the Welsh country side. It was very nice with hills, sheep and lush green fields, but mainly hills.


By now Mrs Crusader had stopped talking or even shouting out her pulse rate which she had enjoyed doing so much yesterday. I have to admit the 20 miles before the next cafe stop were some of the bumpiest I can recall.


It was therefore a great relief when we arrived at Caffi Becca (apparently Caffi is welsh for cafe) for our next stop. I had stopped here on my last ride out this way and knew it was the only cafe for miles around. I decided not to have the hot chocolate this time as it hadn't scored well on the previous visit.


The staff were very friendly as we ordered tea, coffee, chocolate cake and Welsh fruit cake (the only two choices available). During the small talk it transpired that the owner was doing the Welsh ironman, his first, in Tenby on Sunday. So while we enjoyed our refreshments I was able to tell him all about the 4 ironmans I have done, even though I don't normally like to talk about them, while he told me all about his training. He also suggested a short cut we could take to Fishguard which I obviously ignored, although in the end it turned out to be very useful information.

Caffi Becca had been just what we needed although the lack of cake choices and instant nature of our drinks meant it won't be winning the top prize.

We set off again with Mrs Crusader in much better spirit knowing the back of the ride had been broken. However this was to change when I decided to ignore a road closed sign knowing that this sort of thing never normally affected bikes. Sadly 2 miles and 3 steep hills later I discovered that this one did as we came across a chasm where the road should have been.


There was no choice but to go back the 2 miles and 3 steep hills to find a way round. This seemed to sap the final energy from her legs and made every hill a real challenge. To help matters I decided to instigate the short cut after all which at least meant the ride kept to the 69 miles I promised.


Although I have plenty of photos of Mrs Crusader cycling up hill she was never in a position to return the favour so I took one of my shadow at the top of a big hill instead as the next best thing.


The final bit of the ride had the best views and the most downhill as we finally arrived in Fishguard after over 10 fun filled hrs. 


As a reward for her hard work today I bought Mrs Crusader fish and chips which, to avoid VAT, we ate on a bench overlooking the sea. You can see why I'm a keeper!


Tomorrow is a slightly shorter ride with a lot less hills. The profile has been scrutinised revealing that it might not be quite as flat as I promised with the hills she is planning to walk up already identified. It's just a shame it's due to rain.

Map route

Profile 

Weather forecast day 3


Cafe ratings for cafes reviewed on (or near) the Celtic trail
Cafe
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Café Selection
Cake Taste Quality
Atmosphere and Ambiance
Total
Bradleys Coffee Shop
7.8
7.57.67.757.57.63
Cafe Espresso
Na
NaNaNaNaNa
Time Coffee Bar
7
766.956.256.64
Caffi Becca (over 2 visits)
3
5.2547.256.255.15









Stats 

Miles
Average Speed
Hours on bike
Meters climbed
Newport to Swansea
57.7
10.35:35:50679
Swansea to Fishguard
69.5
10.46:43:152075
Fishguard to Tenby

Tenby to Swansea

Swansea to Newport


Overall