Sunday, 9 June 2013
New Ideas - Old Favourites
The HUBB overland travellers meet was held over a hot and sunny weekend at Donnington but under the flight path for East Midlands airport however I experienced little of either the sun or the planes as I was intent on seeing as much of the timetable as possible. Over the four days I saw over 30 hours of impressively professional and highly entertaining presentations, met old friends and enjoyed displays of a variety of expedition vehicles. Of course much of the emphasis was on motorcycling but even this spanned the full range from cheap Chinese mopeds through classic Nortons and Enfields to modern superbikes and of course sidecar combinations. The lad who had ridden back from Malaysia on an ex new Zealand Postal service moped gave an amusing account of his amazing journey and plans to tour the Americas on it in the future! Pedal power was also included and four wheeled vehicles were present in a remarkable variety of shapes, sizes and budgets. A new Land Rover with demountable living pod would set you back almost £80,000 whilst classic Series 2s with wooden raised roofs were priceless and had seen many adventures. On site, one neighbour had been round the world in his trusty Series 3 whilst another had spent many years criss crossing Africa. On the Sunday we all bade two couples farewell at the start of following their dreams - Mongolia and South America being the intended destinations before I stayed on to assist in the speedy take down of various marquees and exhibitions. A good meal for all volunteers rounded off an excellent weekend which left me with much to consider as to the future.
Whilst I had a rear wheel bearing replaced in Bristol I cycled out to Bath enjoying the hot sunshine and then crossed across to Wales once more for a few days within the margins of OS Sheet 147 which contains immeasurable gems and has provided me with peace and solace for over 30 years. Cors Carron RSPB reserve was my starting point with a couple of hours walking through the wetlands spotting otter footprints en route, after which I spent the night up in the Cambrian Mountains meeting another couple also enjoying the spectacular light at sunset and dawn in a stunning location. A planned ride out along the Claerwen was curtailed by my chain snapping for the third time in a week so I dropped in to Aberystwyth for new bits and bobs and met a friend for lunch by chance who was collecting his lad at the end of his first year at uni.
Nant Yr Arian provided a good testing ground for the new components with the sinuous curves of the Summit Trail providing exhilarating riding - another van was parked up for the night so I decided to stay on as well enabling me to ride the 35km Sydfrin trail the next day. This was another corker taking me over previously unexplored terrain west of Nant y Moch reservoir and passing a series of small but enchanting lakes - one of which later provided a perfect place to spend the night.
Today saw me cycling the hills and valleys east of Devil's Bridge incorporating both Nant Rhys and Nant Syddion bothies which were both in good order. A 74 year old guy exploring the area on an electrically assisted bike seemed pleased to meet another soul as the area has a complicated network of tracks and trails many passing the 40 or so turbines of the Cefn Groes windfarm.
After several days of blue skies and sunshine a change is on the cards in time for our materials lift in to the new Elan Valley bothy project but I hope to be off to the continent within a fortnight - the prospect of the Swedish (male) train drivers wearing dresses being too much to resist! - just Google it.