Monday 3 December 2012

A Dirty Weekend in Wales

Had a fun weekend with a bunch of guys from the KTM Forum over the weekend

A nice hotel in Oswestry and some fantastic lanes in Wales!

After driving up on Friday afternoon a good evening was had with a few beers and a curry in Oswestry (and then a few more beers)! The weather forecast for Saturday was for rain so it was a pleasant surprise when the day dawned bright and sunny. First off we all admired Mark's new acquisition, a Factory Replica KTM 690RR:

The drama then started when Michael left his ignition on without the engine running and flattened his battery! A few minutes with some jump leads and all was sorted!

We split into two groups (with five in our group) and each tackled the same route but in opposite directions.

We had fun on the first lane (not) and eventually retreated as it was clearly impassible on an Adventure.

After another lane, Jonny decided he wasn't feeling well and headed back, now we were four.

More lanes followed with a few issues on route-finding, not helped by misleading signs on legal rights of way claiming "no access for 4x4s and motorcycles".

We eventually got onto a smashing lane with deep puddles but eventually the inevitable happened and Derek dropped his bike in the water, completely drowning it. After pulling him out with a tow rope, kindly donated by some Vauxhall Frontera drivers, we eventually drained all the water out but the battery was now flat. We started to tow him out and met up with the others coming the other way.

After attempts to start it from another bike by putting them on their stands, with the back wheels pushed together failed, the tow continued until we reached a downhill lane leading to the road. Unfortunately that was too slippery for a bump start but when we reached tarmac there was a nice steep hill to ride down and that worked just fine.

Derek decided to head back to the hotel and we were down to three, so with Rob and John, I headed over the "Wayfarer" a lovely remote lane over the Berwyn Mountains. At one point the ground is so boggy a causeway of railway sleepers has been built but sitting in the middle was a Land Rover Discovery that had slipped one wheel off and was now resting on its chassis. The two guys in it were on their own with no recovery gear, not even a jack! There was nothing we could do so we left them to their fate, either a long walk for help or a cold night out.

We finished the Wayfarer and headed back to Oswestry on a cold and dark A5, I was very pleased I had fitted heated grips the week before.

Another grand night out was had in Oswestry, at a smashing restaurant The Walls

Followed by a number of watering holes. I ducked out shortly before midnight but some of the party carried on until four in the morning!!!

Sunday dawned bright and very cold with a layer of ice over all the bikes. Due to the effects of the night's session and the weather conditions a number of the group decided not to head out so we went as a single group of eight.

Starting on the road, conditions were treacherous, especially on some of the country lanes that were covered in sheet ice.

We headed back to the wayfarer, expecting to see the Discovery abandoned at the sleepers but it had already been recovered. I had a brief "moment" through one of the larger puddles but managed to keep the engine running and help was soon at hand.

A brief stop at the monument at the top of the lane and we checked out the visitors book, kept in a metal box beside the track but were unable to sign it as it's full and in need of replacement.

Continuing onward we turned left at the fork as we had done the day before and soon reached the end then looped round and returned via the other (right hand) fork. Another quick stop at the monument and then over the top and off to the next lane, this time everyone got through the puddles OK

The next lane was slippery but fairly straightforward followed by a short bit of road work to the last lane before a coffee stop, this had a truly horrible rocky, slippery descent and a few of us (me included) had difficulties here....

A welcome stop for coffee and to thaw out (I was still very grateful for the heated grips).

 Then we finished with an easy lane and back to the hotel car park to pack up for the long trip home.

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