Sunday, 23 August 2015

Rhyader: Two wet days in Wales on brilliant byways

This weekend was the planned Wales visit, Mark, Geoff, Lee, Andy & I all met up at the Mid Wales Bunkhouse just outside of Rhyader on Friday night. After a catch up on the gossip and a few beers, we hatched a plan for Saturday that included a north to south of the Strata Florida, yep the infamous swim fest!

Day 1:
Saturday dawned with Mark waking everyone up at 6am, he was soooo excited by the idea of getting out to play, he hadn't slept and was raring to go... the rest of us were a little slower with the waking up process, as was the rest of the bunkhouse inhabitants for the weekend!

Bacon butties, a cuppa and get the bikes out was the next order of the day, a little bit of fettle and get geared up, then it was off to Rhyader to pick up fuel for a couple of the bikes via a couple of lanes near to the bunkhouse before heading up into the hills, via a cafe for some coffee and a snack, it was utterly peeing down after all and we needed a pick up!

Just pulled out of the mud!

Looking cooler!
Maen-Serth is the name of the ridge line that the trail followed, it was lovely, some good technical bits and nice and long, then off to Caban Coch Reservoir and the lanes that run by the side of there, both excellent and totally different, with our first decent river crossing of the day, all through safe & sound!

Maen Serth in the mist

The Strata was next and as we arrived the sun came out, which was a bonus, so a quick snack and it was off into the land of water... the trail runs through some forest and was an old way that monks used to use, I'd like to do a bit more research about it's history at some point, but that's another story... Anyway, so as we came round into the first technical bits, there was about 6 4x4's on the trail, so we pulled onto the embankment to let them pass, lots of banter and cheery waves, then straight into the first big puddle for us.. Mark got stuck here taking the side trail, so out came the camera, Once sorted it was then onto some technical up hill which took us into the forest itself and our first really deep puddle.

The Northern end of the Strata

Water, water everywhere!

Lee was there first and also the only one not to drown his bike... the little AJP won the day on this score totally! Two DR350's & 2 KTM's were all drowned and had to have the carbs drained, the airboxes drained and the spark plugs changed... oops, glad the sun was shining!

Bugger, that's deep!

Oops all flooded....

And more water...
We carried on and all the bikes got a right good wash, with river crossing after river crossing passing under our tyres... we approached the deepest one, normally anyway, only to find about 12 4x4's all lined up on the other side, an audience, oh bugger!

Lee & I waded out and found the shallowest part, then Geoff came through first, Lee, Mark & Andy next with me as the last one... phew, everyone through in one piece!

The 4x4's were all over the trail and some of the folk there had a good gossip with us, some of them were a little bit off unfortunately, one guy got a little upset as Andy went past, trying not to hit all the open doors and chairs all over the trail, he had to cross a few ruts to get into some clear space and on one of them he gassed the bike and the back tyre spun up several clods of earth, spraying the guy, he was swearing a fair bit and tried to hit Andy with his stool, but was too late, Mark was next up passing them and stalled the bike, leaving us all in the middle of these guys... all ended fine and another story to tell!

We completed the Strata with only one more proper dunking, I dropped my bike into a deep bit where the front wheel got washed out in the current, so another drain the carb, empty the airbox moment followed along with loads of banter about the AJP and it's gloating owner!

From the end of the Strata, we headed into Llawrtyd Wells, as we were all on reserve by now, a great little cafe and fuel fill up set us up for the return leg back to the Bunkhouse, all very happy bunnies in deed...

Beer, dinner in a pub, lots of good chat followed before our room was filled with the joyous sound of men after a pub visit, snoring, farting, grunting etc!!

Day 2: 
Sunday was wet, that's the best description of the day without swearing! The water levels had risen by between 1 & 2 foot overnight... epic!!

You could see rocks in this the day before!
We had plans to ride Monks Trod, this is a moorland lane than runs from North West of Rhyader to Pontrhydfendigaid, however when we got there, it had a TRO on it. dated August 2015, so it had just gone on... bugger, so we retraced our steps around the road and lake track from the previous day then headed out west as was planned, this didn't work out well either as the second moorland lane was washed out with a landslide and had been closed, the sign said for 18 months to get the work done, but it was dated May 2014 and all that had been done from what we could see was to put up fences and padlocks across the river! Bugger, retrace our steps again!

We needed fuel and food, so ran to Lampeter for both, another great cafe, cheap and big dinners, left us set up for a wet ride to Llandovery to pick up the return leg of the day and some trails through woodland, with plenty of deep water sections of course... some fords and a very pretty easy trail back into Rhyader to finish the day.

Cafe in Lampeter... Never got it's name though

Warm and friendly place...

It has to be pointed out at this point that all of the boys wussed out on doing a ford, as there was a bridge! Good job the old DR was up for it!

Geoff all cross rutted...

more rivers...

even the trails were rivers...

It got through this no probs!

Err not the AJP this time!

Nor Mark's DR!

Back at the bunkhouse, we packed up, had a cuppa and a laugh, then all headed home with plans for the next trip already sorted as we're all heading to Northumberland in October for the Northumbria TRF Camping Weekend

Happy days in the rain...

More Info for Mid Wales Riding;

Blog Posts: 
Strata Florida Day
The Wayfarer

Accommodation Notes:
Mid Wales Bunkhouse - Rhyader - Cheap and cheerful, good kitchen, comfy beds, drive to Rhayder for beer or food, plus two more pubs a couple of miles away. No bike storage, no drying room, but plenty of warm showers and it's warm inside.
Llanerchindda Farm - Llandovery - A little pricey, but much posher, nice rooms, good food on site, bottled beers/wine etc, more like a hotel. Drying room, secure bike store and bike wash area. Upto date maps/info of all the byways and UCR's...
The Level Crossing: Llandovery - Not tried this but sounds nice

Riding Info:

Fuel & Bits:
Rhyader: 2 petrol garages & a good cafe, next to the clock tower.
Spares: ET James & Sons, Rhyader - KTM & Suzuki dealer, nice family, fuel too
Llandovery - plenty of fuel and restaurants etc.
Llandriddodd Wells; Fue.
Tregarron: Fuel but not open on weekends.
Lampeter: Fuel and a great little locals cafe.