Saturday 8th June
What an amazing sleep after yesterday’s Snowdon climb!
What awful weather though in north Wales, torrential rain and unseasonably low temperatures. A hearty breakfast was consumed, although I’d checked out of the hotel by 10:00 I decided to sit out the deep depression slowly drifting across the country. It was forecast to ease off early to mid-afternoon. I settled into a stream of morning coffee at the hotel where the staff were great, then enjoyed an early lunch.
By then the rain had virtually stopped, I packed the bike and headed for Bala. I decided to do some of the twisty roads rather than take the sat-nav (fastest route) stupidly thinking I’d catch good views.
Within a few miles, on the Pass of Llanberis, it was bucketing down again, that lasted all the way to Bala! Rivers and streams were in torrent and overflowing their banks, roadside ditches and drains were unable to cope and the road surface flooded. Much of the time was spent riding in the clouds and hill mist with temperature in single figures at 8C, here we are just a few weeks from mid-summer too!
Fortunately on arrival at Pen-y-Bont caravan and camping park the rain had eased, that allowed the tent to be pitched in the dry which is always a bonus. All the gear was however wet and had to be stuffed into the tent as the next wave of heavy rain quickly swooped in. What a lovely caravan park, big pitches, clean and well maintained and very helpful staff. I even had a bird of prey watching over me!
Only thing for it was to find a warm watering hole!
Sunday 9th June
It rained again during the night, rain hitting a polyester fly sheet always sounds like hailstones!
By 07:00 I’d had enough of on / off sleep, it had been cold during the night too. I walked to Bala just as the shops and cafes were opening and treated myself to coffee and a bacon bap.
It was dry and clouds were breaking. In my rush to get the tent pitched in the dry the day before I’d forgotten to lay the secondary groundsheet. Whilst the inner tent has a built-in groundsheet the secondary one is far more protective against damp, cold and puncture by stones. So that was the first task on return to camp. The second task was some chain maintenance as the bike had covered some 400 miles since the chain was last lubed.
I was prepped and ready to go by early afternoon and found some cracking hill routes east of Bala. The initial part of the route was picked up from reading another great blog on motorcycle adventures. I then tracked through some back roads to Lake Vyrnwy and picked up some steep mountain passes with deep valleys below. Of note was the descent to Llanymawddwy where the River Dovey carves through the steep sided valley.
That brought me out on the A470 at Dinas Mawddwy and return to Bala was via Dolgellau and the A494. The Trangia stove was lit for sunday night Mediterranean Quinoa!
Monday 10th June
Damn, that was another cold night in the tent! A quick check of the forecast showed the brighter and warmer weather to the north. I’d heard of the Menai Strait, bridge and the Isle of Anglesay so that was the destination for the afternoon where it may even hit 17C!
I took the A4212 road past Llyn Celyn resevoir, it had been my route to Bala in the rain and mist on Saturday, it was a pleasure to actually pick up some great views this time. I continued to Porthmadog then north on the A487 to pick up the A55 onto Anglesay. A visit to South Stack lighthouse had been recommended however by the time I was approaching Holyhead the weather warnings for the next 72-hrs were coming in fast. I did a quick spin around the north of the island before returning to Caernarfon via the Menai Bridge.
That gave me a chance to stop for fuel and sustenance and check what was happening with the forecast. It was clear from the Yellow warnings that a persistent area of low pressure would bring excessive rainfall, flooding and transport disruption from Monday night for three days! Whilst I’m reasonably hardy its still no fun stuck in a tent in those conditions if such can be avoided.
The decision was made to cut the adventure short, decamp and head north to Scotland. The biker community is great, I’d received an offer on Saturday for a roof over my head if needed, that sounded like a good option for Monday night so a quick text message secured a bed and an offer of food too. A quick nip back into the petrol station secured a bottle of red to bring along as a token of my appreciation.
I was packed and riding out of the camp site by 17.30 just as the weather front hit, an hour later I was within bricks and mortar with dripping wet clothes! It was great to chat and share stories with a fellow biker that evening, I had a great sleep and by 08:00 the following morning I was northbound for Scotland. The conditions were tough though and it wasn’t until Preston that I found relief from the torrential rain. By 15:00 that afternoon I was consuming beer in my garden in what felt like a very tropical 17C!
There should have been a Part 4 to this Welsh adventure, that’s now in abeyance for another time. No pictures for Monday so just have to leave you with what I think is a great pic of the bike taken near Lake Vyrnwy.