On my ride from Caersws to the Star, I indulged my interest in "urbex" and nosed around an old school with some nice slate cladding. I rather liked the idea of bivvying on the double-deck sofa.20190111_150613
For some strange reason we decided to actually visit some of the gridrefs this year; so MaM, BDS, Crewlie, ScottWoods, Al, MarkW and myself duly headed straight up the nearest nasty hill towards Mach, although after a km MarkW realised he needed another slice of lemon drizzle and dropped back to the start to partake further (that was the rumour anyway!). The gloop factor was high, but the precipice traverse at the top made it worthwhile. 20190112_113010
Over the top and down to Darowen, and the track through the ford brought us to a very steep track above Melinbyrhedin, easily bypassed on the road. There was a nice downhill the other side but not for the last time there was mutiny in the ranks (well, all of us mutinied), and after a stern "DBS" talking-to we voted 48%/52% to go for it. Lucky we did because at the top we met some sort of retired rock-star guy who told us all about his bonsai collection, and MaM found his ancestral home or possibly his next bivi:20190112_140031
Scott looking surprisingly happy on yet another push:20190112_151354
A quick water stop on the hill above Aberhosan, after which the track "continued" on the map but a rather unfortunate disparity with reality meant a slog through ferns and brambles which ripped everyone's nylons to shreds and spoiled any hope of visiting Mach's trendy nightclubs later.20190112_153110
Sadly it was dark by the time we got to the long Glyndwr's Way hill top track above Talbontdrain, then a final downhill skitter ended up at the White Lion in Mach which plied us with fine ales and vittals. Unfortunately we realised we were way too knackered to reach the Bearded Lake (an appropriate spot for bikepackers we thought!), so our backup "plan" took us to the old scout camp nearby. Breakfast was a nice spread of kippers, kedgeree, devilled kidneys, finest early grey teas... ah no, it was porridge and ovaltine as usual wasn't it..20190113_083359
After a second breakfast at the "BBB Cafe" in Mach, a low-level route took us along the back road to Cemmaes Rd, up the bridleway to Commins Coch, and thence through the forest back to LBM. Normally we'd bimble along the bridleway through the wood (Bob n Kath's outward route I think), but I'd not tried the gentler parallel climb up through the forest which turned out to be a lovely remote little valley only a mile or so from LBM:20190113_134948
Our frequent stops to talk rubbish and take in the scenery meant a fairly late return, to find all the lemon cake gone! An agast Crewlie had to be held back, and I had to console myself with a cherry-topped substitute quickly thrust into my hand by Dee before all hell broke loose.
A great weekend, with some lovely people, all that remains is the adjustment back to unreality, sigh.....
"There comes a time in your life Ponsonby, when you think: 'My God, I'm two-thirds of the way to the grave and what have I done?" - RIP
"It is in the petty details, not in the great results, that the interest of existence lies" - JKJ