A few days off

We finally got away on a family holiday. A short one, but relaxing all the same. All we could get at short notice was a log cabin thing near Coed Y Brenin (yay!) that had a cancelled week. As we were only there from Wednesday we got it cheap as chips. Lovely place, dead quiet location, near to Dolgellau and riding distance from the forest trails.

We went for a day trip to the slate mine on Friday. It sounds a bit dull, but the deep mine tour is exciting (descending the slope on a rickety train for a start) and really quite moving too. There’s an audio tour as you go around 10 of the main chambers in the mine that recounts the daily grind of the workers. Some of the chambers are small, some however are like cathedrals. The guys who dug this immense labyrinth of underground caverns only had basic tools and a couple of candles each and some of the chambers took decades to dig. It makes you remind yourself how lucky you are – We don’t need to start work in the mines at 8 years old, 12 hours a day, 3 days off a year, lungs gradually filling with dust until you’re 40 years old (or less) at which point you’re knackered and have to go into the poorhouse. All for about 12p a week. Oh, and you spend most of your life down a hole.  


Michael and I went for a ride on the CYB “Tawr” trail – the old Red Bull to those in the know. Coed Y Brenin still gets some stick from the folk that remember the good old days but I reckon the place is a blast. Garry’s mate Tony Griff’s done a grand job in my opinion. Also, a “large” cup of tea at the VC actually means “bloody enormous”, so be warned. We rode to the forest from the cabin, then rode some of the old MBR trail to the visitor centre and then rode the Tawr. We met Deb at the end of the ride back at the visitors centre and had a full English (full Welsh?). Michael managed a 35K ride/1000 metres climb and a 6 am start that morning – a lot of it on long steep climbs and downhill technical singletrack. He’s getting really good at this, fitter and more skilful, so I’m going to treat his bike to a few choice upgrades, or get him a second hand Inbred…

mike.jpg   bike.jpg


Last night I stole a few hours and rode the “Beast” black route. A big loop, especially when added to the out-and-back road ride to and from the cabin. What a top ride. I don’t think I’ve scared myself into a grinning, gibbering mess as much as I did last night, the Pink Heifer section of trail proving to be the most mental high-speed concentration-fest part. Just fantastic, if a little bit reckless. I was on my own in fading light (but I had lights) and no phone signal but what the hell. I’d have been discovered eventually and you’ve got to do these things sometimes just to feel alive.