Offa's Dyke around
A 2 night around the Offas's Dyke and into the wilds of the Elan Valley
July 9th - 12th 2016.
Sometimes things work against you. Personal problems at home meant a significant change of plan and the intended Derbyshire run had to be abandoned at relatively short notice. The spanish trip had taken its toll on the riders and numbers were down. Not undoreseen considering the short period nbetween Spain and this planned enduro. That said,this was an opportunity for some of the guys who did not make the Spanish inquisition to get out and get a bit wild stuff back in the blood.
Offas's Dyke is the historical border between England and Wales. It just so happens to cover / traverse some absolutley cracking landscapes but also offer up the opportunity to wild camp if as you go North of the Wye Valley.
The Weather was looking awful for the weekend and this is not normal for a L.O.S.T enduro as we have seen very little rain / adverse weather across any of our little jaunts to date. I was was hopeful that we could navigate away from the worse of it nut How wronmg I was. Still these Challenges are meant to be just that and poor riding conditions are great from sorting the men from teh boys. I think most of teh non-showers for this trip had secretly looked at the weather forecast and wussed out in advance.
Friday morning meet at Costas started with a moaning Pompey who had been sat outside of Costa's for half an hour in the rain whilst Colin and I had sneaked into the car park unseen and had a great breakfast to start the day. Great start!!!
The M5 to Avonmouth was disgarded as the rain and conditions was not really suitable for Motrway riding so teh obligitory plod up the A370 to bristol meant getting to Tintern Abbey in the Wye Valley took a little longer. Still the Sun was out and really actually too warm by now.
Cracking Breakfast at the little cafe in teh abbey here...
The days route would see us follow the Offas's Dyke as far North as Monmouth only as plans were needed to be changed to accommodate Camping arrangements. Our normal site at Bishops castle was fully booked and so a quick re-organisation was required to get across to Llandovery. Of course everybody knows that a deviation such as this opens up the reall opportuinity to take in some cracking new roads and this time was no different. we have never realyy ever traversed due West in Wales and certainly not from this high up. We found some absolutely fabulaous B roads with dips, bends, blind corbers and varying road surface conditions. My new Casa SS225 build was lapping it up, even in 'Runiing in' guise. The guys behind also thought this was something special. It did help that it was sunny all day.
We arrived at our campsite at about 4pm to find what can only be said as the perfect spot. A seciluded valley, An on-site CAfe / Bar / bistro and open are seating areas - perfect. Tents pitched, it was beer time. Well Cider and what a cider!!! 7.2% of Thatchers beating juice. amazing stuff. A mobile Thai restaurant turned up and served noodles and curries whilst we continued to drink the bar dry until very late. A wicked eveing was had and certainly a campsite that we will defintely come back to even if we got told off for shouting and being very rowdy at midnight in a very drunken stooper. Its their fault for selling the demon juice in the first instance.
It rained a fair bit overnight but the worse part was the hangover!!! Colin puked in the bushes from teh sheer exhaustion of packing his tent up. It was going to be long day ahead with the reward of a proper wild camp at the end of it.
The route today was around the Elan valley and across he mid Wales wilderness. Again taking in routes we had not covered before and defintely nothing Pompey had ever seen before. I could feel his joy at the spectacle he was exeperiencing. Mountains he wanted, Mountains he got. The only problem was it was now raining. not massively but annoylingly enough to warrant full wet weather oversuit. As we carved our way up the Elan Valley and past the various dam strcutures you could see the torrent overflows for each from way off in teh distance. Impressive stuff.
An unfortunate cable breakage for Colin meant we delayed 45 minutes whilst he did a quick roadside repair. Its amazing how many suppliers sell short Clutch cables (beware peeps!) luckily we had a spare so cable fixed we ventured south to find a suitable store to gather our nights supplies being that we were going to be 'WILD' for the evening. A quick coffee stop and chance to rest before the climb up and out across the moors meant a need for re-fueling first. We then found out that the closest pertrol station was some 10 miles South. So a 20 mile round trip to fill our tanks was required. Of course, Pompey onlu used a cup full as usual (can't wait for him to get a mans engine rather than that vapour drinking girls thing!!).
Now, the only things we could really find to eat was Pot Noodles. The last time I had one of them was probably 35 year ago and I am sure they were naff then. Still, we had milk?????
The rain was starting to really kick in now so finding a campsite with shelter was the order of the day. preferably in a forest even. My thinking though was slightly different from Colin and Dave's in that if it is raining a lot in the valley ity is best to get up and above the rain. i.e. above cloud level. So we did and what a spot. again Dave being not too impressed gave his normal torrent of dissfatisation and feet stomping but this had to be the spot. perfectly mowed grass on top of a little knoll with a view to die for. This view however was mostly shrouded in thick mist, driving wind and rain whilst we were there. Visions or thoughts of spending a nice evening sat around a wild campfire exchanfing abuse and swigging ale were quickly dismissed as no sooner had the tents been arreected and Scooters secured against the barrage, we never came out of teh temts for approximately 12 hours. You couldnt even talk to each other through the noise levels caused by the lashing of rain against the side of our tents. best to give up, dose up and sleep it out. it was lovely and not a bit cold.
A quick slash and cold / wet start for Colin.........
The ride back through the Heart of Wales was glorious as usual and we made quick time back to Chepstow. Always sad the last section of an enduro as sometimes you just dont want the adventure to end and to let civilisation back in.
What a cracking weekend and goes to show that if you have the gear, the inclination and are not a pussy, this awaits us all. Great time guys and roll on the Cotswolds.