Rhayader - Elan Valley - The Engine and Tender.
Easter week - 2007
Here we are, another Good Friday, another weekend away. This time "DOT and the Dog Kennel" took the scenic route to Rhayader :-> Bridgnorth, then along the 'longest road in the world' to Craven Arms, up past the Engine and Tender at Broome, then through Knighton before finally picking up the A44 for the last few miles. The 'usual suspects' were already there, so after booking in I went and joined 'em. Of course, we just had to make sure the local pubs were up to scratch. What I did notice was the amount of furniture outside the pubs - the "no smoking in public places" law came into effect in Wales from the first of this month, so quite a few customers were sat outside having a smoke. I can see this not being all too popular when the weather gets cold, wet and windy. I wonder how the rest of the country will fare when the law becomes nationwide in July ?
No weekend at Rhayader would be complete without a tour of the dams - so I rigged the video camera up on DOT and took a ride around - stopping at some of the more picturesque places to take a few photographs.
One place we had been past dozens of times, but never ventured inside, was the silver mine on the main Aberystwyth road. So myself, Firkin, Roy and Pete the Feet called in. Roy and Pete made do with a cuppa and a slice of cake - me and Firkin, being made of sterner stuff, paid our money and went into the very bowels of the Earth.
Having finished our underground bowel exploration, we took in the rest of the mine and the associated bits and bobs that go with it. I'm glad I took the time to take a look around this place - there's quite a few places I go past, and have been going past for years, and have never taken the time out to look at them. I must make the effort this year to try and explore some of the things that are 'on my doorstep' The one thing you do not get down the mine is a grand sunset - so here's one that occurred later the same day. . . . . even if me and Gordon did have drive up the top of the dams to photograph it.
I had to be back at work by Tuesday, so I left most of the happy campers, just sitting there in the sunshine, taking life easy. I don't know - it's all right for some. Still, I dare say the Woodpecker will wake 'em up early each morning.
My, how time flies - it's Friday again, and once again DOT and the Dog Kennel make the trip down the 'longest road in the world' - this time to the Engine and Tender. Well, to the camp site next door, the E&T just doesn't seem the same since Walter and Marie left last year. As we normally do - a visit to the Kangaroo was in order, and I must admit the beer was very nice. Hobson's, I believe it was and a couple of pints went down very well. Saturday morning and the sun was shining with a vengeance - even the sheep were heading for the shade.
Now if you ask me, those sheep have got the right idea. I did take a short ride into Craven Arms for some supplies, then headed for the hills, but after about fifteen minutes, I decided the best thing was to just relax back at the site - and that is exactly what I did. I'm glad I did my share of relaxing during the day, because the evening was anything but relaxing - and that's all I'm going to say here on that matter.
Once again, the Kangaroo was blessed with our presence. Whilst grabbing a pint at the bar, a voice asked if my tankard was made by a fellow called Gordon. I turned to see who was asking - and it was Glen Woodward, the ex gaffer from the Fox and Hounds at Stottesdon ( later moved to the Tally Ho, I think, somewhere off the longest road in the world - the second link on the "What did the club do" page is about Glen's last weekend at Stottesdon ). I had a rattle with Glen and Val, his other half, for a while. He now runs a roadside cafe, just past the Travellers Rest, on the A49 heading towards Church Stretton, from Craven Arms. I'll try and arrange breakfast there next time I working in that area. Just like last night, we didn't bother with the E&T, but went straight back to the site.
Sunday morning - and this time the sun meant business - the hottest April day for years, and you could feel it too. Over seventy degrees at times. If this is global warming, then I'm all for it - there again, I'd rather have it too cold, as opposed to too warm. You can only take off so many clothes ( scary thought there people ). DOT ran as well as ever - the ride back home was most enjoyable. Once back, I did a bit of fettling on my old BSA, then took that for a run around, before heading back and ripping the clutch apart. Ah, the joys of owning an old motorcycle. Just to complete the weekend, I treated myself to kebab meat on naan bread, before finishing off at the Rising Sun. Roll on the next weekend ( something involving Big Red Ugly Bikes, if the truth be known )