Rhayader & the dams.
Here we are, another bank holiday weekend and the weather forecast spelled doom and gloom - still, this is Britain, and if you wait for the weather, you'll never get anything done.
The sun was actually shining as I loaded the bike up. Yes, that's right, the bike. It seems like I'm using the bike more than the trike these days, but that ain't a bad thing. I managed to get just past Bewdley before the rain started, so I pulled up beneath a tree and started pulling my waterproofs on. I was halfway through climbing into my waterproofs when I noticed some chappie running down his garden path towards me and ranting about something. He appeared to be yelling something about;
" you can't do that here " - rant
" this is my garden " - rave
" how would you like it ? " - rant
and other sorts of strange things. It was only when he started on about;
"..... pull up and defecate anywhere you like" - that the penny dropped. The stupid, ignorant fellow thought because my waterproofs were halfway up ( or down, as the case may be ) I had stopped in order to crap in his garden. I politely pointed out the error of his conclusion, and added that despite his obvious prejudice, not all motorcyclists are the uncivilized louts he thought we are. Still chuckling, I carried on my merry way, and to make things even better, the rain stopped.
The directions to the campsite seemed simple enough - turn right at the clock, and it's 400 yards on your left - as indeed it was. Wyeside Caravan and Camping Park - a most delightful place with excellent facilities, and only a ten minute walk from the town.
of 'Shiners decided to arrive by early evening - so now we were
The evening was spent in a few of the local pubs, which, I may add not only did decent beer, but cooked very good meals too. Just to remind us that we were in Wales, the rain came down with a vengeance overnight.
Sunday morning and it was a case of sunshine and showers, with the showers being on the heavy side. Now seeing as the last few weeks were rather wet, it meant that the dams were full, as opposed to last October when the were a good forty feet or more below level, so what better excuse do you need for a scenic tour ? I was just about to set off when the rain struck again - serious rain, rain so serious that the others decided to travel in Dave's camper van. Now even if it's raining, I would rather use the bike, besides, they're only showers, I told myself, so, donning my waterproofs once more I set off. Less than two miles out of town and the roads were dry and the sun was out - and that's how it was for most of the day's riding. Looks like I made the right decision.
If there's one
thing about a single cylinder bike that I love, it's the exhaust
note. To me, there's nothing as satisfying as the thud of a
big single as it works its way up a hill, and there's some
cracking hills in the Elan Valley.
The dams were indeed full, and I spent a pleasant few hours riding around just taking in the scenery, or stopping and walking to the foot of a dam. There was a house just a few hundred yards from one dam, and I wouldn't fancy living there - the slightest noise in the night would have me wondering if the dam is * really * safe. The thought of a few million gallons of water rushing towards me is sobering, to say the least.
Having left the dams, I took the mountain road to Devil's Bridge, before heading for the coast at Aberystwyth.
The mountain road.
The mountain road is one of the things
that motorcycles were made for. It winds its way from the
dams over to Devil's Bridge, and has some wonderful
scenery. It also has sheep, so be prepared to stop rather
quickly - saying that, it ain't the kind of road you would want
to travel fast along. I just plodded my way down this most
beautiful of roads, stopping every few miles to take another
photograph and just relax. Part way along the road is what
looks like the remains of a small village - you can see the ruins
of the cottages set against the backdrop of the hills.
There is something quite creepy about this place, something I
can't quite put my finger on, but I wouldn't like to breakdown on
that particular stretch of road. Maybe it's just me ?
Aberystwyth was the next stop, and I strolled around the town for a while, admiring the gargoyles on the side of the university building. Some of them reminded me of club members, but let's not go down that path, eh ?
The ride back was made interesting, shall we say ? I was rolling along happily when I heard something hit my helmet.
" Hmm - wonder what that was ? "
Half a second later I found out. A sharp, burning pain on the back of my neck. Yep - once again I had fallen victim to a bee sting. I pulled up and had a feel around ( you can't see the back of your neck without using at least two mirrors ) and just my luck, the sting was still in there. . . and there it remained until I got back to the site where ' Firkin ' Dave managed to remove it. I managed to make a full recovery - with the aid of a few beers down the town later on.
Monday morning, and the weather actually looked promising. Blue sky, sunshine, hardly any wind. Typical - the day I have to go home, and things start improving. At least Roy and Kella will have a decent day seeing as they were stopping a few days longer. They would be well fed too seeing as a fair few other campers, who were also leaving, came up and donated any food that was "left over". A friendly bunch, these campers, and friendly seemed to be the theme of both the town and the camp site. All in all, a most enjoyable bank holiday weekend, despite the attempts of the weather and the wildlife.