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Home Travel StoriesA Winter Weekend In Wales

Dodging Weather To Wales

Ride Date 9 February 2024

By Ren Withnell

Winter. I hate winter. I can manage the cold and the wet and the wind and the rain. I hate the snow but we don't get a lot of that. What I really hate is the dark. I wake in the dark, eat breakfast in the dark and as the dark turns to dank and murky I start work. I look out into dim skies all day and when the work is done it's dark once more. The weekends are cold and wet which means no-one else wants a nice ride to the lovely cafe in The Peak District or The Trough of Bowland. Weekends become a turgid soup of terrible TV and wet boots and slippery roads you've ridden a bazillion times before. And dark.

A very wet port of Oban on a miserable winter's day
Int winter brilliant...

Her ladyship and I try to get away for a weekend in winter. The thought of something, ANYTHING, to look forward to, to give hope, to possibly even enjoy, helps pass this miserable season. Sharon's birthday is between Christmas and New year so we use that as an excuse for a winter trip. No-one celebrates her birthday, it's too close to Christmas. "I've got you a card, it's a joint Christmas/Birthday card with a reindeer on it". Yeah, great. 

Of course being winter and Sharon's late birthday trip we are not camping in a soggy/frozen field. Being the queen of the internet search we have a self contained self catering apartment in Welsh Wales, in - ahem - "Cynwyd". Google tells me this is said "Kun-oid". Or perhaps "Kin-oid". Maybe "Kin-wid", "Kun-wid", "Kun-wood" or possibly "Grrrffftpt". Anyway there's a small Spar shop, a pub, a few houses and not much else. Oh, except the large factory where Ifor Williams trailers are made. 

Crap. Poop. Pants. Why oh why oh why oh why?! We're going this Friday and there's snow forecast for Wednesday and Thursday. There's amber warnings and news reports of impending doom. On Thursday evening Sharon's friend who lives near Llangollen sends this image.

A screen capture showing an image of thick snow in a garden and Sharon's comment below
Gosh darn it!

I will go in the car. If I have to. If I really truly have to. If the snow makes riding too dangerous we'll go in the car. Why though! It's been so very mild and so very wet and windy this winter. I'd prefer mild and sunny but I'll take mild and wet over snow anytime. The weekend's forecast is mild and dry but if there's snow on the ground we'll not be on 2 wheels. Blummin British wevva innit.

On Friday morning I eagerly inspect the webcams around North Wales. Bala shows clear, not a spot of snow. Llangollen had snow on the roofs yesterday but all is clear this morning. I can't find a webcam for Corwen (the nearest town to Cynwyd) but as Corwen is between Bala and Llangollen I think we'll be fine. I finish work at 1215 and head to Sharon's. On the bike. It's cool, almost cold and there's the odd mizzle showers, actually very good weather for this time of year.

From Sharon's home we set out. Runcorn Bridge, M56, Mold, Ruthin... I know this route, I know it well. At this roundabout we always turn left and up the hill then down to Loggerheads. Oh no! Some blithering idiot has swapped roundabouts on me, this road is unfamiliar. It's very inconsiderate of the council to move roundabouts without telling the motorists. 

As I pause, bemused, Sharon stops beside me - "it's straight ahead at that roundabout, left at the next..." I never ever thought I'd see the day Sharon Parker, the woman with no sense of direction, the mistress of misplaced, the damsel of disorientation, would be telling me, the master of maps, which way to go and where I went wrong. It's embarrassing. She has her sat-nav on, I don't. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

By sheer luck I recognise my location 5 minutes later. We're close to The Old Stores Motorbike Café so I pull in for a brew and to regroup my battered ego. While Sharon's warming her hands on the hand drier in the ladies I check the maps to see the error of my ways. Oh the shame, the ignominy. 

Map with arrow, red is the wrong route I took, green is the route I should have taken
Red is wrong, green is right. There's an extra roundabout. Apparently.

Luckily the road we are on actually runs right down to the A5 and is, purely by chance, a quieter and prettier route. The weather is dry, the air is cool, the road twisting and undulating and this is turning into a most pleasant ride. There's no hint of snow on the roads or in the fields, the only indication of Thursday's meteorological disturbance are snow capped mountains. Snow capped mountains, twisty roads, great scenery, what's not to like?

I put my own sat-nav on for the last 5 miles. I recognise the turning to our car park having studied Google street view for this very purpose. Somewhere between the small Spar shop and a call to the pub we get the keys to our apartment. 

£62 per night. I mean the pictures looked OK but often the reality is not quite the same, I'm not expecting much. And yet all is here, it's sharp and clean and fresh and well presented. It's cold but it must be incredibly well insulated as within 30 minutes of putting the central heating on even Sharon's complaining it's now too hot. If you're tall you'll bang your head on the low doors, that's not an issue for Sharon and I only need to dip my noggin a tad. There's all the usual crockery, cutlery, pots and pans. At £62 per night Sharon's found a bargain.

A smart crisp bedroom with bed, looking rather posh
I know it's not a tent, admittedly it's rather nice.

We pop to the Spar and get a few snacks to go with the chilli-con-carne we've already brought. After tea and a little bloated we take a constitutional stroll around the village. It's night time so between the dim illumination of my phone's camera light and the scant street lights we don't see a great deal. What we do see seems interesting and nice enough and it's not siling it down which I consider a bonus.

That was a close shave. I was gutted to think we'd have to come in a car, I've been looking forward to this trip and while a car is better than no trip at all it's just not the same, no matter which way you skin it. Yet here we are, on the bikes and having enjoyed a good if not actually planned route here. So far, so good, so what. Let's see what tomorrow brings.


Share your tales - click here.

Dodging Weather To Wales Ren sets the scene, faces impending disaster, has some luck and then gets lost. All in a day's muppetry for the dynamic halfwit.
Sunshine And Sadness Striking lucky with the weather the dynamic muppets are having a look around North Wales' properties. It's not all glorious though with a bit of bad news.
Not A Lot To Say In The Best Possible Way Walking and some motorcycling with not a lot to report, which is a good thing. Ren is pondering the disadvantages of going to nice places.

Reader's Comments

Upt'North ¹ said :-
That's the trouble with Sat Nav, electrons and neutrons, no good wi'out em. Pffffffftttttt.
Wales in December? Sounds grey/gray to me.
But that does sound cheap, although I can't imagine they were clammering to book it. Although on that note we're off to Staffordshire at the end of March, not Easter, the places don't half book up early.
Then Braemar in May, likewise, book it whilst you can. I thought everybody was skint?
I look forward to Grey.
Upt.
28/02/2024 10:04:04 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
Sounds like a decent trip. But why do hotels / apartments etc always put those stupid bedspreads on as well as various "tasteful" cushions? You have to take them all off and find somewhere to put them before you can turn in. Total waste of money, time and space.

Curmudgeon of Redditch
28/02/2024 10:22:49 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Oh it's not just hotels and apartments Ian Soady! If I'm at Sharon's I have to do battle with a perplexing plethora of cushions and pillows and ornaments and accoutrements before achieving an accessible sleeping space. Aaaaaaand now you can see why living together requires a great deal of discussion and compromise before we make the leap.

I have bad news about the amount of forthcoming grey/gray Upt'. Plus it wasn't December, it was February.
28/02/2024 11:18:56 UTC
Bogger said :-
Good grief. You really have gone soft. Talk of cars, CARS, then you are staying at some boutique type of establishment.

'Bikes and Travels' Pah, The site needs to be renamed. More like 'Possibly Bikes and Truffles'.


Yeh, that's it 'Bikes and Truffles'

Bogger




28/02/2024 14:20:26 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
...says the man with a shiny new motorhome...
28/02/2024 16:27:47 UTC
Bogger said :-
Dear Bikes and Truffles,

I shall be camping in a tent, on farmers field in Wales in three weeks time I'll have you know. I'll not be taking a sleeping bag with me either!

Travel will not be by car, or Motorhome. It will be by motorcycle. Ard I is, ard I say.

Bogger


28/02/2024 20:52:38 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
So... a tent in a farmer's field - and NO sleeping bag? So either...
1. You're taking a duvet or some other form of bedding
2. You're glamping and the bedding is already provided
3. You're a blithering idiot.

Yours sincerely, Bikes And Truffles. I don't like truffles. Bikes And Treats?
29/02/2024 07:55:32 UTC
nab301 said :-
Ren , maybe it's some sort of in-tent naturist weekend.....
Nigel
01/03/2024 12:10:36 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
nab301 - your comment has traumatised my delicate disposition. I can't imagine naturists do much naturisting in tents in the winter. I'm off to wash my eyes.

01/03/2024 22:24:21 UTC

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