Jim n Gav in West Wales 11/7/10

Jimbo4x4

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What a corker of a day! Met up with Gav and my bro Mike at a National Trust carpark in the back of beyond, somewhere south of Caernarfon and east of Porthmadog at about 10am with a good day's laning ahead. Gav had been up since the small hours to run an errand down Brum way before coming out to meet us but seemed wired enough. Unfortunately his 80 had failed its MOT on one or two discrepancies but after promising the wife he would never fart in bed again he was allowed to borrow her Colorado :mrgreen:

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The day was a bit of a recce, in the sense that some of the lanes I hadn't driven before and some of the lanes I knew nothing about. The first lane, however, was one I had driven before. Let's just call it Croesor as said village sits at one end of it. It had been half-heartedly blocked off with a hay-bale but both Trailwise and a mate in Gwynedd council who has driven it with me assure me it's a legal right of way. Lucky for Gav he had the 90 as his 80 would have had some trouble climbing between the bale and the dry stone wall.

Here's some pics from the first lane:

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The climb after the hay bale

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Porthmadog in the distance

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Shortly after this we descended into Croesor and continued due south on some interesting roads..:

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Damn sheep.

We were looking for "Ivy Bridge" but when we got to the starting point we found that the access was far too narrow. I walked down to Ivy Bridge and it looked stunning. I'll have to go back with the mountain bike methinks.

We decided to stop for some eats before starting the next lane as the little ones were starting to get a bit restless, so picked a nice scenic spot:

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My brother, Mike, came along with his wife Sheena and my nephew Nathan. Laura and her sister Dani and nephew Oliver were in with me. The little'uns had a great time, despite being strapped in the car so long.
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Back on the road:
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The next lane on the books was Pont-Scethin. My source told me that he'd done this on his motorbike and that there was a formidable bog to take on. He reckoned it would be a long day of winching to do it in a 4x4 but we thought "hell, it's been dry and there's three of us with plenty of tow straps", so we went for a look.

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The first 1.5 miles was fairly plain sailing.

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After that it got a little interesting..:

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This picture says it all really. I'm walking back because we've missed our turn off the gravel track. That's it on the right. A stretch of muddy ruts leading into the great unknown. These ruts lasted about half a mile. At one point I got a little cock-sure (a landcruiser can do that to you) and entered a deeper rutted section that my 32" tyres just couldn't hack. I was well and truely beached on my axles but after finding an alternative route around the ruts, then a heavy bit of pursuasion from Gav's 90 and a decent snatch strap we were on our way again.

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No pics of me stuck this time (that bribe seems to have paid off), just one of the aftermath.

After this, though, the track seemed to stabalise a bit.

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I squeezed through. Mike, however, decided to take the oportunity for a gratuitous flex shot or eight.

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Then came the highlight of the lane...

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If there was ever a time Gav was glad his 80 wasn't on the road, this is it.
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Mike, in the widest truck, makes it with less than an inch to spare on each side. That smile gets turned upside down once we've all touched down on the other side, though.

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That's me on the far right, trying to find a way around this impossible bog that I've pulled up next to. The RoW goes straight up the hill but it's hard enough to walk it, let alone drive it. There are deep rut marks left by motorbikes and quads and despite the several very dry and warm weeks we'd had, we decided it's best not to chance it. We turned back.

All was not lost though, for although we now had to drive a good 25 miles (as opposed to 10 if we could have carried on) to the next lane, we still had time for two more good tracks. The first of these was the Dark Road. This is a tame lane I wouldn't hesitate to take a showroom shiney Rav4 along, but the views were spectacular. We rounded one rocky outcrop to come upon this:

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That's Barmouth down there, with the historic railway bridge crossing the estuary.

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More rolling vista's

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The last lane was a bit of a surprise. I had heard Happy Valley was good, just never knew quite how good :cool:
This is my new favourite greenlane. Best of all, it's right next to my girlfriend Laura's parents place. I know who's car we'll be taking every time we visit from now on :twisted: The pictures don't do it justice but I'll let them do the talking...

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We did one more short lane after this as a shortcut to take us into the back of Aberdovey which would have been a nice trundle, except we were in a rush to make Laura's mum's chippy before she closed shop for the day, so it was more of a WRC course for us. Our FOC dinner was eaten on the beach at Aberdovey before Gav and Mike made like dyslexic skiers and "piste off".

It's well past my bedtime now so I'll check back tomorrow. Hope you all enjoyed the pics.

Jim.
 

Chris

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Great thread Jimbo. That really does look like a fantastic day. That bridge looked a bit of a squeaker. Odd though, a lovely bridge in the middle of nowhere. Could you have bypassed it through the river?


Chris
 

TonyP

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Looked like a great day. Some very nice pics there!
 
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AndyCook

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great trip report.... wish we had "greenlanes" like that in scotland - oh well the farm and estate tracks will have to do....
 

Gav Peter

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Nice write-up Jim - thought I'd leave it to you this time but if you'd left it much longer, I might have had to step up to the plate... :lol:

Absolutely wicked day out & about - well done on another well organised jolly :clap: I was worried about the Colorado when I struggled getting around that first bale but after I got used to things, I was absolutely delighted with how well the wife's truck performed :dance: Really really impressed :clap: But now I need to address the issues with the side steps :oops:

Really looking forward to trying the route in MUX though ;) No problems ;)

Cheers
 

TobyJug

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superb..... really nice...

looks like a fantastic day out..

I have been most of them lanes there and it is great country...
Makes me think that I should go Wales again some day soon..
 

Jon Wildsmith

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Looks like you had a very nice day out :) They like their lanes narrow over that way don't they! If the bridge is where I think it is the RoW goes to the side of it but I might be thinking of the wrong one. If it's still open, the lane that runs parrellel to the coast just behind Barmouth is a nice drive south to north on a dry day but it would be a bit exposed on a wet one. ISTR a few places where the track runs close to the edge of a big drop so you need to not mind heights. Check the last steep section at the north end that runs down into Llanber before you start down to make sure it's passable as the walls collapse into the track and it's quite steep to reverse back out of if so and I know people have had difficulties with that in the past.
 

24Seven

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Happy Valley is one of, if not my favourite greenlane as well.

Where you there Toby when one of the guys (Gordon) asked what the lanes was called, just so he could make sure he never did it again :mrgreen:
 

Jimbo4x4

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Chris said:
Great thread Jimbo. That really does look like a fantastic day. That bridge looked a bit of a squeaker. Odd though, a lovely bridge in the middle of nowhere. Could you have bypassed it through the river?


Chris
Yeah I thought it a little strange, the track is quite non-descript in places too :think:
I did have a little look at the possibility of bypassing the bridge but one side is very rocky and the other side steep and marshy:

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Jon Wildsmith said:
Looks like you had a very nice day out :) They like their lanes narrow over that way don't they! If the bridge is where I think it is the RoW goes to the side of it but I might be thinking of the wrong one. If it's still open, the lane that runs parrellel to the coast just behind Barmouth is a nice drive south to north on a dry day but it would be a bit exposed on a wet one. ISTR a few places where the track runs close to the edge of a big drop so you need to not mind heights. Check the last steep section at the north end that runs down into Llanber before you start down to make sure it's passable as the walls collapse into the track and it's quite steep to reverse back out of if so and I know people have had difficulties with that in the past.
Thanks Jon, I'll have a look. This lane, pont-scethin, starts at SH603 249, out the back of Llanbedr.

Thanks for all the comments chaps, glad you like.

Jim.
 

Jon Wildsmith

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Did you look at the southern end? :lol: From the bridge to the southern end would be an awesome drive along the ridge of the mountain but there's a rather narrow gateway at the bottom or at least there was when I was last there:

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Chris

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Is it too late to make my sliders retractable? :think:
That really DOES look tight.

C
 

Jon Wildsmith

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Some of the gateways round there can be a squeeze for a de-flared 80 but I think even a 70 series would struggle to fit through there :lol:
 

Jimbo4x4

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Maybe it was a blessing in disguise that we didn't try to forge on through that bog... my source never told me about that!!
 

Jon Wildsmith

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If you have a source Jim then check in case they opened up that gateway since I looked at it.
 

Matt Wright

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Awesome photos guys, thanks a lot for putting them up :)
PS, nice rack you have there Gav ;p
 

karl webster

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hi lads, what a great day by the look of it. Im a new starter at the lanning but myself and mate with his 80 are goin to get into it after going on the weekend at limcomb. Were trying to find some lanes around buxton area on sun so that should be fun. It would be great if you would let me know next time you do that run and if you didnt mind let us come along. Or anyone else who is doing it in the near future. Thanks karl
 

Jimbo4x4

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Karl, Jon's going out West Wales this weekend, check his thread in the lounge. Alternatively, there's a club laning trip taking in Happy Valley on the bank holiday weekend - you'll find the thread in the usual place. Unfortunately I can't make either trip :doh:

Jim.
 
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