re: alcohol stoves / tour of Wales
I am a seasoned long distance cyclist having used a number of varieties of heating apparati (including my long lost and missed Svea123). What I have encountered number of times in North America is the challenge of finding the right fuel, esp if you are using a screw-on cannister.
In planning a three month tour of the back hills and Highlands of Scotland (where I rightly figured towns of any size would be as hard to find as towns of any size in southern Saskatchewan), I did not want to run into troubles with lack of fuel, so decided to go as minimalist as possible and trust that methyl hydrate would be easy to find in the British Isles. I hunch this may be true for Wales as well.
I took with me only a Turbo Cat 11 home made alcohol stove. It was light, durable, incredibly adjustable in terms of boiling and simmering (up to 25 minutes of simmer on 1 oz fuel) and cost about 50c for a bit of JB weld. The issue for the person wishing to . I actually spent hundreds of hours making and testing about 25 different models on my days off from websites. My kids thought I was nuts as supper was cooking on a different stove every other time they came home.
Guess what? It was hard to find methyl hydrate. What they had instead was something called 'meths' which they often had hidden behind the counter because people were getting really sick from drinking it. go figure. Anyway, it is there, comes in handy 1ltr bottles, it is purple, it stinks and burns less cleanly than MHydrate, leaving a bit of a dark film on your pots. But it works!
On the other hand, unlike a lot of places in rural Canada and US, you can always find disposable cannisters for portable stoves. My issue with them is that they are non-recyclable, weighty and you need to carry two or more with you in case you run out. The meths, while not perfect, is a better bet ecologically and in terms of weight and reliability.
I encourage you to make one, or test out a few, The granddaddy site for alcohol stoves is at... http://zenstoves.net/ (you'll find the Turbo Cat 11 on there)
or buy one from a reliable maker such as https://www.minibulldesign.com/productcart/pc/home.asp
If you make one, be sure to add a simmer ring and a stand (you can find a model for stand online. I made mine from three bike spokes) as well as a wind screen. Good luck. Happy cooking.
In addition to the Trangia, I have a few Supercats, soda can penny designs and other homebrew alcohol stoves as well. I used to work with a woman who had 5 or 6 cats so I had a ready supply of raw stove making materials.
During the next few months, I'll be toting one of these stoves and a small pot on my day rides and overnights to give them a thorough testing. It's good to know that meths are widely available in the UK, for the asking. I've never understood why the blackening of cook pots causes so much heartburn in people...I've backpacked and cycle camped for much of my life and cooked over every type of fire. Pots get sooty, you either clean them or not. Stuff sacks keep the soot off of everything else.
In the next few years, my wife and I intend to take a year off and cycle around the world. We plan to visit a number of remote locations so fuel choice will be even more of an issue. MSR has recently released a reengineered WhisperLite Universal
that will burn not only most liquid fuels but also cannisters as well. Although it's a bit pricey, but having the ability to burn most anything available has a certain draw.
Good luck on future tours,