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The West South Wales section Irish/Welsh weekend, June 2017.
(Click any photo to see a larger picture - then just follow the slide show. Photos from BP and RJ)

Having ridden a couple of the West Wales Section's Irish/Welsh weekends before, we decided to go to the 2017 edition in Aberystwyth. The main problem was having to miss our own Seaside run, which was a bit of a shame. This year those who went to Aber were:
Rob Jones - 1976 Honda 400/4
Howard and Carol - 1983 Lomax
Terry Hopes - 1982 Honda CM200T
Bill and Jean - 1959 Triumph T110 outfit

Due to the demise of our Rob's Romahome on the way to Scotland after the Cheddar weekend, he transferred his accommodation to the Hotel, leaving only Terry from our section on the camp site. The weather on the Friday before the event looked a bit 'iffy' in the morning so we met up at the Storey Arms on the Beacons at 2pm and had an uneventful run through Llandovery, Lampeter and Aberaeron before heading up the coastal route to Aberystwyth.

Those of us who were staying at the hotel booked in and squeezed our transport into the hotels covered garage area, essential, as Carol had said, due to the copious droppings from the Aberystwyth seagull population. The Belle Vue Royal Hotel is on the front at Aberystwyth and is a bit old fashioned but very comfortable. We decided to patronise one of the local Chinese restaurants that evening, as recommended by one of Rob's daughters, who had been at University in the town - for sure, the food was good. Back in the hotel we had some lovely views out over the sea as we ended the evening with a drink in the hotel bar whilst watching the sun go down - as you do.


Saturday
The day started dry but a bit overcast as we all assembled at the north end of the promenade which was a dead end. The ride was to be run on the drop-off system, which works well when people actually play their part properly, this time all worked fine. Les led with the two tail-end Charlies wearing pink hi-vis vests.

We set off north up the coast road towards Machynlleth and then on to Towyn for a stop at the wharf station of the Talyllyn railway.

After a stay of a couple of hours we all set off back to Aberystwyth, again using the drop-off system. Jean and I were stuck for quite some time on one junction as the Matchless pulling a sidecar had become difficult to start. Eventually it arrived and we were able to rejoin the route, albeit a long way behind the majority. The route took us up past Talyllyn lake and to the road junction on the A487, where our Rob was the route marker. He took the following couple of photos:

It wasn't long before we caught up with the main bunch who had all stopped in Machynlleth. I had to park down the road quite a bit and as we were tidying up the outfit a mother with her son arrived all excited. "Is that the bike from the Antiques Road Show programme?" was the unexpected question from the young man. Jean replied that it was and it seemed to really make his day as his mother explained that he was motorcycle mad. I walked up the road and noticed that several of the bikes were starting to leave for Aberystwyth, some 18 miles down the road. Not knowing where everyone was, Jean and I decided that we'd also head back to the hotel, so off we set along the A487.

We'd covered some 10 miles or so and came upon a queue of cars only to find the road blocked by a head-on accident with the Fire brigade cutting someone out of one of the cars. So it was head back to Machynlleth to find an alternative route back to the hotel. Anyone, who knows mid Wales will know that roads can be pretty sparse in places and I knew that the only route was back up over the Cambrian mountains to Llanidloes and then follow the A470 to Llangurig and the A44 to Aberystwyth. That added some 50 odd miles, so we set off with Val Newton following us in her Lomax. The road from Machynlleth over to Llanidloes I knew quite well, as it was part of the 2001  Dragon Tour. Eventually we made it back to the hotel and feeling quite knackered after the extra mileage. The evening official dinner was at 8pm and was ok - just. Following the dinner a singer came on and started her programme of songs, however, it was a shame that so many people got up and left the dining room, leaving quite a small audience.

Sunday
The weather didn't look too good this morning as we all assembled on the promenade motorcycle parking area. Today we had route cards so could do our own thing.

We set off  and followed the route to the Red Lion pub in Pontrhydfendigaid for a coffee stop, seen there were the following:

After coming out of the pub the sky had darkened and we decided to get going in the hope of out-running the black clouds. In no time at all it started to rain, not just drizzle, not just rain - but a real downpour. I didn't take my camera out of it's case again for the rest of the day. Ten miles further on we reached Tregaron and took the mountain road to Abergwesyn. The rain didn't let up at all and only Howard and Carol had the right idea as they turned around and headed back to the hotel, whilst the rest of us plodded onwards. Coming down the devil's staircase we came upon an encampment of several hundred tents and vehicles. Rob reckoned that it was an unofficial music festival, whilst I plumped for the Green Party Election conference. Rob was probably right as you could smell certain things as we wound our way through all the cars etc which didn't make it easy for us to pass. Anyway, on to Abergwesyn, Beulah, Newbridge-on-wye and up into the Elan valley for a lunch stop at the Visitor centre - still raining and not a very pleasant ride - for sure. Luckily the rain stopped and as we continued up the Elan valley the sun came out and that did feel good, I must say. Soon we were in Devil's Bridge and we decided to forego the rest of the route and headed back direct to the hotel, dropping Terry off as we passed his camp site. We were all quite soaked and pleased to park the bikes up. Arrangements were made to meet in the bar at 6 and it was then off to our rooms to get the wet kit off and soak in a hot bath.
That evening we set off to another of Rob's daughters recommended restaurants - the Light of Asia, before returning to the hotel and bed. Val Newton had decided to head for home as Mondays weather forecast was for heavy rain and she didn't wish to drive home in that.

Monday
what can I say - it was raining heavily and the forecast was that it would do that all day. Bite the bullet and off we set at 9.30am. We decided to go home on a different route to the one used on Friday. we took the A44 to Llangurig and then the A470 south. It wasn't pleasant riding in torrential rain with the A470 over the Beacons being some of the worst riding conditions that I have ever experienced. However, we all arrived home safely - phew, what a ride that was, for sure, but we all had a good weekend with some enjoyable company.

Footnote
Rob, Howard and Carol, Terry, myself and Jean - all now qualify as official members of the South Wales Section, Submarine squadron.

BP