Giving North Wales the ''Bullet''

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Tarka, Mar 21, 2009.

  1. Tarka

    Tarka Doesn't wave back.

    Joined:
    May 10, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,116
    Location:
    Across the pond.
    Well,today was going to be a Ural day with the two Ural Blondes but plans changed.

    Having the day to myself I decided to get some more miles on my recently bought Royal Enfield 500 Woodsman which I`m still running in.

    Breakfast in Bala is always a good start to the day,seeing as it makes for a great ride along twisty and often traffic free backroads if you use my 'secret route' into North Wales and it also lands you on the edge of the wonderfully scenic Snowdonia National Park.

    I was out on the Enfield by 06.30....and it was a tad cooler than I expected.....brrr.

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    I think the cold must have got to my head because a mental abberration led to me riding into Denbigh,totally off my planned route.
    Daft sod.
    I pulled into a layby and took opportunity to thaw my hands out while deciding on an alternative breakfast venue.
    A few moments later a car pulled in and the occupants were looking at me rather suspiciously.
    I kept them in view with my mirror until I heard a door open and saw a lady approaching me very slowly.
    At first I thought she wanted to borrow my map....but she said they had been driving past and seen me motionless astride the bike ....and they had come back in case I`d stopped because I was unwell.
    How marvellous was that ?
    I thanked her and explained that I was simply 'amending' my route and thawing my hands out.....she had a chuckle,returned to the car,and off they both drove.

    Faith in humankind restored,I consulted the OS map and decided to detour through the lovely Clocaenog Forest past Lyn Brenig ('Lyn' means lake in Welsh,you see boyo) and down to Cerrigydrudion...then onwards to Bala.

    I`m glad I went this way because the sun was rising,making for fantastic shafts of light against the dark forest,and I could smell the pines.

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    See...the sun really does shine on the righteous....heh heh.

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    Got to Bala in good time and had a massive 'Bala Breakfast' with a mug of coffee.
    After the feast,I decided to take the Enfield along one of my favourite routes in North Wales.......around the southern side of Lyn Tegid (also simply called Bala Lake) until the turrning for Dinas Mawddwy and up the Pass of the Cross.
    The Pass of the Cross....Bwlch y Groes ... is the highest road pass in North Wales and is simply stunning to ride .

    This route starts as a simple,narrow,single carriageway lane winding behind the lake then starts climbing...and climbing...over two cattlegrids...and climbs some more.
    It narrows down quite a bit and becomes effectively two strips of tarmac the width of car tyres with grass and gravel between.
    Add to that loose sheep...no verges...no runoff area and not many fences,and it makes for a great ride!

    Here we are on part of the ascent....

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    Not one car (or tractor...phew!) was encountered from start to finish today,but oncoming vehicles can add somewhat to the thrill levelsI!

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    The scenery is stunning and it`s surprising just how high up you are at times....

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    We`re past all the trees now...and it`s starting to level out a bit...

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    I said it was starting to level out a bit.....but there`s still more climbing to do......

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    I`d decided on the way up that I`d take a left turning after the Pass of the Cross viewpoint carpark and ride over the moorland to Lyn Efyrnwy (Lake Vyrnwy) where I would ride across the dam to a very nice tea shop.
    However,when I`m out this way,I can`t ever resist a quick blat down the massive downhill drop into Llanymawddwy (these spellings are Welsh and are for real by the way !).
    This is so steep that you feel gravity accelerating you down the slope...beware the loose sheep and the double hairpin bend at the bottom!
    Here`s the Enfield on the way back up....

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    After this it was a pleasant ride over to Lyn Vyrnwy and through the forest to the dam.
    Riding through the forest always make me think of my Alpine trips...the air is so clean and pine scent hangs about.

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    These are magical moments for me...no traffic,no cameras,no rush,no hassle.

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    Another gratuitous forest/tree/bike photo....hey,it`s called a Woodsman,isn`t it ?

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    Get ready to play The Dambusters March....the theme tune to the film.....because we`re at the dam.
    Silly,I know,but I always end up humming the tune while riding across and wanting to watch the movie when I get home!

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    Once you`ve crossed the dam,if you turn left and travel about 100yards,there`s a lovely tea shop set back from the road.
    So,a pleasant half hour was spent sitting in the sun,day dreaming.
    Refreshed and relaxed,it was back to the dam for a few more photos,.

    The dam is fantastic and the resulting lake contains drinking water for Birkenhead and Birmingham....a 70 mile run with no pumping stations along it,so good was the Victorian engineering design.

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    After this I rode a diagonal cross country route to Llangollen including a now compulsory stop at the Ponderosa Cafe atop the Horseshoe Pass for a cream scone and a mug of coffee......i didn`t take any more photos because the day became totally misty and overcast from that point homewards.

    Ladies and gentlemen,we hope you`ve had a pleasant journey and we thank you for travelling with Royal Enfield Airways.
    Your pilot for the day was Tarka.

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    #1
  2. Duchess

    Duchess Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,697
    Location:
    England, UK
    Tarka :wave

    That bike is stunning ... great pics

    I've been over that bridge a couple of times myself and do just the same :D


    You had a good day for it mate.
    #2
  3. Tarka

    Tarka Doesn't wave back.

    Joined:
    May 10, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,116
    Location:
    Across the pond.
    Why,thank you Duchess. :evil

    Fancy seeing you over here! :eek1 :clap
    #3
  4. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Oddometer:
    106,175
    Location:
    right here on my thermarest
    That's lovely.
    #4
  5. Duchess

    Duchess Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2006
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    1,697
    Location:
    England, UK

    I trip over every now and again for a bit of P&Q :D

    Life looks good for you chap, maybe see you and the other half at an event this year for a beer or two :beer
    #5
  6. XS500RUS

    XS500RUS Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Oddometer:
    376
    Wow, I love the photos of the narrow lanes, and the bike fits perfectly into it all. What kind of speed do you ride at on the Woodsman on these roads?
    #6
  7. lewismedlock

    lewismedlock Tiny dancer.

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2006
    Oddometer:
    14,316
    Location:
    Bow and Arrow OK.
    Cool pics, nice bike. :thumb
    #7
  8. Tarka

    Tarka Doesn't wave back.

    Joined:
    May 10, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,116
    Location:
    Across the pond.
    Hiya mate.

    Thanks for that.

    On the likes of the Pass of the Cross,I`ve ridden those lanes on everything from BMW R1100GS,Buell Ulysses,Honda GL1100 and my Enfield Woodsman...and on most of it you really can`t go much over 40 - 50mph.

    The track to the lake from the Pass of the Cross is the width of a car with blind crests, no verges,no runoffs,adverse cambers,loose roaming sheep,gravel in the centre of the track and very sharp bends.....I challenge anyone on any bike to exceed about 50mph over it.

    Around Lake Vyrnwy you could get to 60 - 70 mph but you`d be on the limit at times..far better simply to slow down,take your time,and enjoy the scenery.
    #8
  9. TwilightZone

    TwilightZone Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
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    Location:
    Behind the Redwood Curtain
    Lovely bike... whoever designed it had a great eye for 'line'.
    The gas tank would be at home in an art museum.
    #9
  10. advNZer?

    advNZer? Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2008
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    Location:
    Wellington,New Zealand
    that road would pass for a state highway here!
    #10
  11. jimrockford

    jimrockford Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    30
    I was simply searching for Royal Enfield ride reports and landed
    at this report.

    Those photos aren't simply good. They are strangely different
    than most photos I ever see and in a stunning way. I am not
    savvy enough to put my finger on it, but they are not normal.
    Are you a professional photographer of some sort, else is
    photography a serious passion?
    Surely this isn't a matter of you buying some Kodak camera and
    snapping a few photos of your bike haphazardly? What's the
    story here?
    #11
  12. krian

    krian Rider

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    92
    Location:
    Austria, Waidhofen an der Ybbs
    Great pics!!! Congratulations! :clap

    I have a Royal Enfield Bullet 500 too and I was travelling with it a lot - maybe I come to Wales with it next summer... but I'm still planning.

    If you are interested in my journeys, go to


    http://krian.jimdo.com/reisen-und-motorradtouren/


    sorry, it's in German still, but I will translate it into English one day.

    These motorcycles are really reliable and robust!
    #12
  13. VictorBravoMikeIndia

    VictorBravoMikeIndia Low Altitude Flyer

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    160
    Location:
    Sarf Ingerland
    Excellent RR ! :clap

    You have a talent there for the Photos ....really special :wings
    #13
  14. Korben

    Korben Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    54
    Location:
    Derbyshire, England
    Fantastic picture's mate... Going to be spending a few days out there myself in the very near future.

    Staying around the Ponderosa area with plans to visit lots of Wales. Going to be my first bike holiday / tour.

    Can't wait, and your post has excited me even more!!
    #14
  15. bigsteve950adv

    bigsteve950adv White Trash Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,181
    Location:
    Merthyr Tydfil...South Wales.
    Beautiful bike,pics,report and location,i was in North Wales at that time on the March Moon Rally...its something else isnt it,to those of you who have never been to Wales...do come,you will love it :clap
    #15
  16. Tarka

    Tarka Doesn't wave back.

    Joined:
    May 10, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,116
    Location:
    Across the pond.

    Hello Jim

    Sorry about my delayed reply.....I didn`t know there were fresh posts on my Thread and I`ve only just seen your comments.

    Well,thank you very much but I`m just a guy with a pocket digi cam.
    It`s a Fujifilm FinepixZ.
    I do tend to look for interesting angles and light aspects though,and always try to squat down when photographing a bike so it doesn`t look tiny.
    Maybe it`s the different kind of skies and light we get over here?
    Also,I tend to think of how a ride report will look when I`m out plotting one,so the pictures can lead into each other.

    Glad you..and others...enjoyed!
    Thank you all for the compliments.
    #16