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Topic: North Wales on Stella.... Also in Ride Reports:  (Read 3976 times)

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Maltese_Wizard
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« on: March 05, 2007, 12:26:03 pm »

So having recently purchased ‘Stella’, my SV1000S, I decided to give her a test run through North Wales…. After loading up the night before and getting a relatively early night, I set off at just gone 6:00am. The BBC weather forecast for the day said that the whole country would be in sunshine for the majority of the day with a possibility of scattered showers in parts of Wales; I decided this was good enough. I decided to start the journey with a 30 minute blast up the motorway; I’m not a fan of motorway riding but decided that at 6:00am on a Saturday morning there would be little traffic to defend myself against. I headed off northbound up the M40, west onto the M42 then briefly northbound up the M5 for just one junction. Within 10 minutes of leaving home a reasonably heavy downpour of rain descended upon me to ensure that I was wet and cold for the first two hours of my journey however I was not going to let this mild discomfort ruin a perfectly good day…

Early Morning Start for ‘Stella’:
http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s74/Maltese_Wizard/6.jpg


Once off the motorway network in Worcestershire, I headed off towards Ludlow via Kidderminster, home to the south terminating station of the very popular Severn Valley Railway. My father is a steam railway fanatic so many times both past and present I have ridden on the SVR and know the route well; however, I have only ever seen the area from the rail traveller’s perspective and never from the road… The roads and scenery from this point onwards were amazing.

Fast Winding Roads on Route to Ludlow:
http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s74/Maltese_Wizard/OnRoutetoLudlow-1.jpg


No trip to Wales would be complete without a token photo of a sheep.

Token Sheep & Bike Together:
http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s74/Maltese_Wizard/TokenSheepBikePic.jpg


Opposite View from the Sheep:
http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s74/Maltese_Wizard/On-RoutetoBishopsCastle.jpg

So far I had only planned to get to the interesting village of Bishop’s Castle where I had been recommended there was a good little café next to the ‘Harry Tuffins’ supermarket that does a great breakfast. After getting a little bit lost in the hills of Bishop’s Castle, I asked a local for directions. He happened to be a biker and also recommended the same café, gave me directions and told me of some great routes that he and his buddies regularly ride. His last piece of advice was to watch out for the speed cameras, I had heard that Wales was renowned for speed cameras but had also been told this was a myth, time to find out for myself…  

After being on the road for just over two hours by this point Breakfast was going to taste good whatever it was… which was just as well…
http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s74/Maltese_Wizard/BreakfastinBishopsCastle.jpg

Following a much deserved breakfast I went about planning the next leg. As I was making good time I decided to keep heading west to Machynllyth then cut up towards Betws-Y-Coed.

I headed west on the A489 when my petrol light came on for the first time, I was just under 100 miles into the journey and had started with a full tank… I was unsure where the next petrol station was but reluctant to turn back, I persevered and about 5 miles further on, I stumbled across a very small petrol station. To say the least, I was a little sceptical about putting this stuff into Stella, the name of petrol supplied here I cannot remember but I have never heard of it before, however with no local knowledge I took the plunge. They didn’t take cards but luckily I had anticipated this and had enough cash on me for petrol and accommodation should I need it. After refuelling, I continued west, the scenery getting ever more enjoyable. I entered Machynlleth which is on the estuary of Cardigan Bay; I only stopped for superglue, to re-attach my ‘ATRE’ which had somehow detached itself from the dash, and to replenish the cash spent on petrol, which evidently was up to standard.  

Heading out of Bishop’s Castle:
http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s74/Maltese_Wizard/SomehowAvoidingRainJustoffA489.jpg

http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s74/Maltese_Wizard/SunPeakingThroughTheLowCloud.jpg


It was hard to take all the scenery in and concentrate on riding simultaneously… A few times I found myself staring at the countryside then remembering that I had to negotiate a corner that was heading towards me at quite a pace. I also found that I could have stopped every ¼ mile and taken more photos but had to control the urge as I wanted to continue to make good progress. I headed north on the A487 to Dolgellau travelling through the picturesque Welsh Valleys.

The roads & scenery through Minffordd:
http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s74/Maltese_Wizard/TheValleybyMinffordd.jpg

http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s74/Maltese_Wizard/RoadsfromMinffordd.jpg

http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s74/Maltese_Wizard/Minffordd.jpg

Hmmmmmmmm:  Wink
http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s74/Maltese_Wizard/GreatWelshRoads.jpg


I carried on North, now on the A470, through Dolgellau and came across Trawsfynnydd where yet again there is a beautiful village and amazing lake scenes, although there was a particularly out of place concrete building on the side of this lake, round to the right of this photo behind the mound. After a little research, it turns out it’s a decommissioned nuclear power station…. Now there’s a great way to spoil an otherwise amazing and historical area..

Trawsfynnydd:
http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s74/Maltese_Wizard/Trawsfynnydd.jpg

Shortly after Trawsfynnydd I went through Gellilydan and that was when I realised that I hadn’t been paying attention to where exactly I was and took an unintended detour. I pulled over on the side of the road and almost immediately was greeted by a fellow Suzuki rider on a Bandit-12 wanting to know if I was in need of help… I explained the situation and he told me to follow him, after about a mile he pointed up a side road, gave a friendly wave and shot off. I was a bit curious but not knowing any better, I headed up this very small, hilly, twisty road in the hope that it would take me to Betws-Y-Coed. This picturesque detour was scattered with tributaries that obviously lead down from the hills and mountains to the rivers below which possibly once helped feed the Trawsfynnydd nuclear power station reservoir, some were larger but this particular one caught my attention. The only problem I had was that whichever angle I took the picture from, I couldn’t get a photo that captured the real beauty of the scene.

http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s74/Maltese_Wizard/LittleRiver.jpg

http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s74/Maltese_Wizard/IntriguingMiniRiver.jpg


My detours lead me back to a place called Blaenau Festiniog where I rejoined the A470 going Northbound towards Betws-Y-Coed. The A470 takes you round the east side of Snowdonia and is a great road, winding through the Welsh slate mines.

Since breakfast back in Bishop’s Castle, about every mile I had seen signs for speed cameras… the strange thing was, I had now covered at least another 80 miles and I hadn’t actually seen a camera. Was this Welsh speed camera hype, really just a myth after all?

Just outside the Welsh Slate Mines, on-route to Betws-Y-Coed:
http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s74/Maltese_Wizard/JustPastTheSlateMinesNrBetws-Y-Coed.jpg

http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s74/Maltese_Wizard/On-RoutetoBetws-Y-Coed.jpg

I finally reached Betws-Y-Coed after what had felt like hours and hours since breakfast. I topped up with fuel again at a more appreciated Shell garage and planned the next stage of my route, I decided to head back East on the A5 towards Llangollen where I would stop for lunch. I had managed to miss most of the small showers of rain by pure chance but it was evident that they had been occurring due to the moisture on the roads.

The A5 eastwards was yet another interesting, twisting and fast road although there seemed to be more traffic to contend with. I guess this is the main road into and out of the north of Wales and with it being noon now there was bound to be more people out… I sometimes think that if I’m on the roads and want to go fast then no-one else should be allowed on the same roads…

A5 towards Llangollen:
http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s74/Maltese_Wizard/GreatSceneryonA5toLlangollen.jpg


With my fathers love of steam powered trains, I couldn’t help but stop on the side of the road when I saw this in Llangollen.
 
http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s74/Maltese_Wizard/SteamTrainLeavingLlangollenStation.jpg

http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s74/Maltese_Wizard/SteamTrainLeavingLloangollenStation.jpg
 

I decided not to have lunch in Llangollen as it was prime lunchtime and the place seemed to be buzzing with tourists, I assumed that I would be waiting a long time, so instead I decided to start making my way home and maybe stop off for lunch on the way. I headed down the A5 through Oswestry to Shrewsbury, where I saw the first speed camera of the day, before taking the A485 to Bridgnorth, which incidentally is the other end of the Severn Valley Railway, for those of you who are interested… On the way to Bridgnorth a very kind van driver flashed me (with his lights) and gesticulated for me to slow down, which I did, and low and behold at the end of the next straight there was a mobile speed camera van thingy… A big fat thanks to Mr van driver whoever you are... together we can stop the rot…

I stopped at what I thought was a roadside pub but was actually an Indian restaurant which was disappointing, followed by another pub which had stopped serving food, this was particularly disappointing as by now I was rather hungry. I decided to take this as an omen and instead do the last leg of the journey home and eat somewhere locally.

The one thing that struck me about Wales is that the roads are designed so perfectly for bikers; with long sweeping bends and superb open straights… the only problem is keeping your eyes on the road with such stunning scenery.

Stella back home and in need of some TLC and a clean after about 9hours & 360miles:
http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s74/Maltese_Wizard/StellaBackHomeInNeedofAClean.jpg



The Route:
http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s74/Maltese_Wizard/TheRoute.jpg


I’ll definitely be going back again, maybe try a bit further into Snowdon as the pics of the snow capped mountains in Orson’s post look v’nice. Think I’m going to Edinburgh for the next trip mind….

Appologies if any place names are misspelt and I hope the pics come out alright as this is my first report.

Enjoy

Rob
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« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2007, 01:19:55 pm »

 Bigok Good write up and photos Rob. I particularly like the photos of The roads & scenery through Minffordd
I've got a few days off work next week and had no particular plans, but now.............I think i'm off to Wales
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« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2007, 02:48:23 pm »

Thanks for the travelogue and photos, although I must say that the breakfast sausage was a bit frightening!

Next time you go, Llangollen is worth a stop (The Corn Mill has tables overlooking the river) and the Ponderosa cafe a few miles to the north is a fun place to stop for breakfast.

Nice one!  Smile
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« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2007, 04:53:25 pm »

Beautiful stuff.  Smile
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« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2007, 02:34:19 am »

Been there only once, and too long ago but I really fell in love with Wales. It is beautiful.
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Maltese_Wizard
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« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2007, 03:51:28 am »


Thanks for the travelogue and photos, although I must say that the breakfast sausage was a bit frightening!


The sausage was a bit on the large size but did the job and didn't cause any 'problems' which was a relief....


Next time you go, Llangollen is worth a stop (The Corn Mill has tables overlooking the river) and the Ponderosa cafe a few miles to the north is a fun place to stop for breakfast.


Is the Pondorosa cafe on the embankment next to the A5? there was a cafe I passed at some point around there that was jammed full of bikers, I felt that I should have stopped but really wanted a nice meal and assumed the queue for even a drink there would cause quite a wait.

I'll bear the Corn Mill in mind for another trip, sounds nice.

Thanks.

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« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2007, 04:47:06 am »

Maltese, where abouts in Warwickshire are you? I'm over in Coventry, should give me a shout next time you're heading Wales-ward.

Not been over there on my bike yet but spent a lot of my childhood in North Wales (I'm originally from Manchester) around the steam trains of Llangollen. Beautiful beautiful country. I constantly ask myself why I keep planning extravagent trips abroad when we have so much beauty here in the UK with Wales, Scotland, the Lakes etc.... Oh wait, thats right - the weather  Crazy  Bigsmile
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« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2007, 06:49:14 am »


Maltese, where abouts in Warwickshire are you? I'm over in Coventry, should give me a shout next time you're heading Wales-ward.

Not been over there on my bike yet but spent a lot of my childhood in North Wales (I'm originally from Manchester) around the steam trains of Llangollen. Beautiful beautiful country. I constantly ask myself why I keep planning extravagent trips abroad when we have so much beauty here in the UK with Wales, Scotland, the Lakes etc.... Oh wait, thats right - the weather  Crazy  Bigsmile


Hi Ant, I'm in Leamington, so only 20 min's away. I'll give you a shout when I plan my next trip, likewise, let me know if you are doing one too.
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« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2007, 07:21:26 pm »

Is the Pondorosa cafe on the embankment next to the A5?

No, the Ponderosa is on the A542 at Horseshoe Pass. It is a biker's cafe. You can see a bit of it if you look at the slide show I posted here:
http://homepage.mac.com/jerrys_ibook/PhotoAlbum12.html
That was from a meeting in July 2005, if the dates on my photos are accurate.
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« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2007, 04:26:34 am »



No, the Ponderosa is on the A542 at Horseshoe Pass. It is a biker's cafe. You can see a bit of it if you look at the slide show I posted here:
http://homepage.mac.com/jerrys_ibook/PhotoAlbum12.html
That was from a meeting in July 2005, if the dates on my photos are accurate.


Thanks, great photo's there too.
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