North Wales 17/09/17

Sunday the 17th of September, and a small contingency from “our little group” had arranged to meet up and drive some (favourite) ‘lanes that our- Alan had plotted for us…
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We arranged to meet at the Whistle-Stop cafe on Rhuddlan’s HTM Industrial Estate for breakfast at 8:15am, as they open at 8:00am.
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From left to right then… errr, Me & Alan in the blue S200KYS and Brett and Dave-T “the Handyman” in the green Jalapeno…

Brett’s customary introductory video… Yup, just the two of us today?! 😦
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As Brett said at the end of his video, the first ‘lane of the day is “Moelfre”
Alan goes to open the gate…

Then, as you can see in Brett’s video above, Dave-T comes to help, and I pop my head out to remind Alan he’ll have to get in, or walk up the field! LOL
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In the middle of the tunnel of bushes we spy a small sign tied to a cut back bush…
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“This roadway has been cleared by volunteers from North Wales Trail Riders Fellowship” – Good on you boys! The TRF is the motorcycle-bound version of our GLASS – the Green Laning ASSociation…
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Nice photo from Dave-t showing us pushing through the bushes at the end of the tunnel… I remark to Alan that it’s a lot different leading for once (Brett usually gets the honour) as all we can see is a wall of foilage, it’s better being behind when it’s been flattened! 😉

Carrying on… a very short video before we’re through the gate and out for a look at…
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… the usual little trickle of a stream now in full flood…

Brett’s Video of the rest of the ‘lane…
You can hear Dave-T ask where the mounds of earth came from, it’s actually a Badger’s set on the right of the ‘lane, and the little black-and-white buggers have thrown all the earth out to make their tunnels / house 😉
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Supplementing the video… Dave-T catches us bridging the washed out bit… Remember but Brett says about it being “more interesting coming the other way”, as we were coming back via this ‘lane the other way on the way home later… 😉
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This is the big step in the middle of the ‘lane / video.
DSCN6389.jpgNext couple of ‘lanes then… here on the right…
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Nice and overgrown…

Brett’s Video of it, and then onto the start of Pant-Idda
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Dave-T captures us sneaking around a tree stump to get onto the ‘lane proper…
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My favourite bit of the ‘lane! It’s like a steep sided trough with a muddy bottom…

Brett’s Video of the rest of the ‘lane…
Again some stills highlights of the video –
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This is all we could some from the front! Bushes!
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All you can do is aim for the middle! 😉
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Yup, that’s the ‘lane straight ahead!
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The gate at the end of the ‘lane is somewhere level with those trees… keep on pushing forward!
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Alan heads down the middle to open the gate…
Back on the tarmac and it sounds like we have a problem 😦
There was a grating noise as we drove along… So I disappeared underneath for a look…
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Thanks to Brett for these next four photos!
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And found the cause of the noise! A bit of wood stuck underneath the front! So we carried on…
BUT!… The propshaft or transfer box were still making a noise… and it got worse when I pushed the transfer stick left 😦
Bugger, I thought the transfer box had gone… so I disappeared underneath for a look…
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On my rubber mat I keep inside the rear door this time…
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Aha! What’s this?…
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Sigh of relief! It’s “just” some thick metal wire wrapped around the intermediary prop between the gearbox and transfer box –
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A pair of snips from Brett and we’re soon back on the road again…
DSCN6409.jpgWhat we call “cow-lane” after meeting a few stray cows down here once…

Brett’s video of us leaving the tarmac…
Today though, it’s…
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“Sheep Lane”! LOL… and as usual the Flossies run straight ahead, albeit this time they didn’t really have anywhere else to go…!

Still following the sheep on Brett’s Video until…
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A low slung branch is down…
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So out comes the trusty cordless Bosch chainsaw, whisper quiet so it doesn’t attract unwanted attention! 😉

Just like that!

Up towards the end of the ‘lane…

Still following the sheep!
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Until at the end of the ‘lane, where the above gate was open, Alan and Brett managed to usher them into the side and then drive them back down the ‘lane, and shut the gate behind them to keep them safe… they’d hopefully wander down and rejoin the flock…
Next!
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One dot / Stumpy ‘lane…

Down…

And back up again…
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Brett filming us, and Dave-T driving his Jalapeno…
Next…
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“Hendre”

Up!

And then back down again…
I wonder where we’re going next then?…
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“Henryd”!!!
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Through the tight gate at the bottom…

After several attempts…
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…out comes the winch rope… Shame! It’s been ages since we’ve had to winch up Henryd 😦
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Nice photo from Dave-T again 😉
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Tree strop and…
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Up she comes!…
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Up and get the winch rope off the tree strop and spool it back in…
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It’s got a lot rougher than when we were last here (making excuses now!)
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Looking back at the lower bit and the corner…
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Brett next then?

And a few goes he too…
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Spools the winch out…
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And up comes Jalapeno too…!

Up the rest and through the midway gate.

And up to the church at the top!
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Again some still highlights from Dave-T this time-
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Through the tiny midway gate…
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Nice photo of the church in the middle of nowhere Dave 😉
davethenryd14.jpgAnd the view from the top 🙂
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And an even better view! 😉
And then, what goes up, must come down…

I got a quite tidy line – for once – and took one shunt to get round…
Brett however managed to get a bit tippy, his back nearside wheel was in the air, so wisely he called for a winch…
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Out goes my rear winch line…
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And up to a snatch block around a big tree…
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To haul Brett back up round the corner, then together communicating over the CBs we shunted him back and forward a few times until he safely got round and down the corner…
“Henryd” – it’s a love / hate relationship 😉
Kiss the tarmac at the bottom and on we go…
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Down above Eglwysbach
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Awkward one this, as this gate is at the bottom of someone’s garden!

Beyond the gate is the start of Brett’s first video of the descent…
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Nice view from this point…
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On we go…

Brett’s video of the middle bit…

And to the end of the ‘lane…
Next!…
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“Pennant”
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Where the chain we’d cut off some years ago (with permission / instruction from Conwy’s Right of Way officers who warned us the landowner might lock the gate) still hangs loose on the post…

A couple of minutes in I stopped as I was hugging the bank on the right as I couldn’t see anything but the bushes over the windscreen, so I needed to be as close as possible to the bank on the right, but I ended going up it and we ended up at a precarious angle, so we had to reverse down and correct our way forward…
Some stills from the way down –
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You can see my camera pop out of the window on the video to capture the guys behind us, just after we emerged from the bushes…
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Where the wall of rock is to the side of us…
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LOL, aim for the middle again 😉
Next over to above Llanwrst –

“T&S” – Tight and Scratchy!
Next… “Gwinger” –
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Haven’t done this one for three years, Alan remarked it was one we did the first day he came with me…

Brett’s Video of it…
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My only photo of it…
Parking and panoramic viewing point on the way to the next ‘lane –
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Bit of glare there!
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Worth stopping for the view 🙂
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“Hafotty Fawr” a little UCR with ORPA dots on the map…

But as Brett’s video shows, well worth the drive, particularly as it’s on the way…
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Looking back at the guys behind us…
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Next ‘lane…
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Nice signage!

Brett’s video of the first half of the ‘lane…

And then the second half 😉
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Ending with me capturing the sign and Brett’s Jalapeno Jimny with “arm-out-of-the-window” photography 😉
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Next we went to visit the ford near Llangernyw…
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But we decided on past experience / knowledge of the depth of it, it wasn’t worth the risk today!
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Our next intended ‘lane was the ford to the left of the words Mynydd y Gyrt on the map above, but what we tend to refer to as Bryn Aled (nearest place on the map tends to be how we refer to a ‘lane)
BUT… as a member of the Facebook “St. Asaph Flood Awareness” Group, I knew a lady that had posted that she had never seen the river so high in the area, so we went over the bridge at Bryn Rhyd-yr-Arian to look down on the river to gauge it’s depth and flow…
We decided it probably wasn’t a good idea, as the ford was at the bottom of a long slope down the valley wall, and once down there we would be pretty much committed to fording the river, or winching back up the valley for ages…
So, we decided to drive along the BOAT along the banks of the river –
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After one of the gates…
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Another photo from Dave-T of the other three of us staring at the river and pondering…
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On we go…
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Passing the end of the ford ‘lane we stopped for a look and found the end where it meets the tarmac stringed-off with orange farmer’s twine?!
Ah well, not for today anyway, so on we go to the next ‘lane… another favourite –
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“Bont-y-Gwyddel” a nice long tight and scratchy ‘lane 😉
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Little gate at the start, and it just gets narrower after that…!

Brett’s Video of the first half… Five minutes in you can see them hit something?! Ouch! We then stop later at a small clearing to patch Dave-T’s hand up where he smacked into Brett’s iPad when they had the bump! 😦

On to the end and round the Mercedes at the bottom…
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And back into daylight 😉
DSCN6487.jpgWhoops! Somewhere in there I lost a rear light lense… good job I’ve got a couple of spares in the garage! 🙂
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Next… back to do Moelfre the other way… downhill…
DSCN6488.jpgLots of standing water as we re-enter the ‘lane… Which is were –

Brett’s video begins 😉
Passed the badger sets at 1:30 into the video…
Down the big step at 2:30 in…
And then at 3:00 in I bridge the washed out bit…
At 3:20 Brett slips into it 😦
So we reverse back to winch him out 🙂
But all that happens is that I winch my own Jimny back towards Brett’s…!
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Brett’s position…
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So we rig up Brett’s winch to a sturdy tree, and… then back to the video –

A quick tug at the end and they’re out!…

LOL… Collecting a big tree branch as we go!!!
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At the end we pull over to let Brett go first for the video 😉
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We didn’t see the gate on the ground in the morning, so on the way back after spotting it we re-erected it as best we could…
And, that was about it… I needed to be home reasonable as we were going out for a family meal to celebrate our youngest daughter’s 19th (!) birthday… Just a couple more little ‘lanes on the way back to St. Asaph…

A white UCR off Glascoed Road.

And then down the ‘lane at Groessffordd Marli – Brett’s welsh pronunciation is getting better! 😉

Brett’s closing remarks…
And mine… Yup, a great day, in a way it was a shame there was only the four of us in two vehicles, but on the flip side it made for a good day’s adventure, plenty of team work navigating the ‘lanes, cutting back branches, winching… and all on some of our favourite tight and scratchy ‘lanes… I can only think that some of the others didn’t want to come for that reason? But I, and Brett, built our Jimnys for this type of greenlaning, we don’t mind pushing through the bushes, the odd scratch or dent, that’s what the vehicles are there for, a great day out with mates…
THANKS! to Alan for plotting the route, navigating, opening all the gates, winch-bitching when needed, and keeping me company and awake with chit-chat and banter! Thanks to Brett and Dave-T for closing all the gates, filming and narrating the videos, getting stuck and rescued, crashing into trees?!, and generally having a good laugh and sharing a great days greenlaning, I personally think it was one of the best we’ve had for a while, all the elements of a great day! Cheers, see you on the next trip / blog, as Brett said on his video Sunday the 22nd of October when we return to the Lake District for the day to drive some of the best ‘lanes it offers… Until then, we’ve got some repairs and maintenance to do… 😉


 

GLASS Snowdonia Driving Day 02/09/17

Saturday the 2nd of September… Saturday? Hmmm, another Saturday off from the shop then? 😉
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A GLASS (Greenlaning Association) Driving Day in Snowdonia. So I set the shop up in the morning, and then left my wife and youngest daughter Bethan in charge, and left at 7:30am when my mate, regular passenger, navigator, Alan arrived… We then made our way over to the Rhug Estate just west of Corwen where we’d arranged to meet Brett –
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A quick fuel stop along the way and then we were on our way to meet the others in the Coed-Y-Brenin forest…

Brett’s customary opening comments 😉
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Stunning views along the way, and it looks like being a lovely day weather-wise too!
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Looks like we’re here?! 😉

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At our base for the day…
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“Meet and Greet” first, where we all have a chat and get acquainted… A couple of nice little dogs in attendance, including “Tripod”, as he’d lost a back leg, but still managed to get around just fine… But, when he wants a scratch he has to lie on his back and use his one good leg to have an itch… Ah bless him! So I gave him a hand and scratched the side he couldn’t reach… So I gained a friend for the day! 🙂
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Ah, but hang on guys, we only just met, so you’re not getting my bacon butty! 😉
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Everyone having a good natter!… We’re outnumbered by Land Rovers though 😉
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Display board of the proposed one-way system around the ‘lanes from Betws-Y-Coed over to Dolwyddelan (and the castle) and then (back) over to Capel Curig… that’s the way we tend to do it anyway, so ney-bother there… 😉
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Some discussion over the Ford we’re overlooking, which features on the Wet Roads website –
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I thought it looked familiar! Wet Roads is a great resource for all the fords in the UK.
Anyway… having had a good chat and a bacon butty, a couple of cups of tea, it was time for the off… We grouped up with Mark and Ted from our last blog of the Lleyn Peninsula, Mark’s father-in-law Ian in an equally well equipped Discovery, and our leader Tom in his huge red 90″ Land Rover…
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Alan and I at the rear as usual on gate duty… Tom leading, Brett second, Mark and Ted and Ian in front of us…
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Heading North up through the forest (west of where we started from our base for the day – you can just make out the red tracer line of our journey), we thought we maybe driving a Total OffRoad route we’d done in the area previously…?
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Our impressive little convoy… Alan and I had a chat that it was strange we were a group of five (which we use as our maximum number of vehicles) when GLASS say four, and indeed had previously said they wouldn’t feature photos from our blogs as they showed five vehicles ‘laning together? Go figure? 😉

DSCN6284.jpgCouncil Road” signage? Not seen that before?
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Over a stone bridge high over a river’s gulley…
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… and then sharp left and upwards…
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Crossing forestry roads and back on the trail…
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Out to the edge of the forest and heading up to a property in the middle of nowhere –
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Carefully passed the house (tight corner)…
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… and out passed the property owner’s Jimny – not before she gave us a lecture about shutting the gate! – she’ll be needing that Jimny in the winter! 😉
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Stunning views along the way…
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Lots of logging going on.
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Nice sweeping bend catches the others and the nice stream…
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More stunning views…
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I held back to get this great photo…
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Ian’s Disco’
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Hmmm, we’ve been here before, but thought it was impassable?…
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We walked it…
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Looking back at Tom’s Ninety…
A couple of local farm lads turned up looking for a missing dog, and said it was legal but we’d just get stuck and make a mess of the land, my thoughts exactly…
So we turned round and went around to carry on with the route…
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Through Forest trails…
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Inquisitive Welsh Blacks on the way back to our base…
Whilst eating burgers (I had three!) we were again discussing the ford in-front of us… There was a log across the entrance to it, which I assumed to be a deliberate blockage, but we were assured it had washed down and landed there…
So burgers and tea devoured…
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Brett positioned his Jimny, and the guys slung a strop around the tree…
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So that Brett could access the ford just downstream of the weir… I shouted from the bank that he shouldn’t go alone though 😉
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And Alan and I fell-in behind 😉

Brett’s YouTube Video of the crossing both ways…
We then had a map briefing for the afternoon’s route, and we set of as a foursome of Alan and I, Brett, Mark and Ted and Ian in the two Discovery’s…
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Alan and I leading, plotting as we went from the quick pencil arrows on our map…
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First bit then, up north and then west a bit and then south down the other leg…
DSCN6313.jpgLeaving the tarmac C-road…
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Nice little used route?
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Up to the gate, where… as we were a bit ahead, I climbed onto the waffle boards on the roof to get this photo looking back to the estuary behind us…

Brett’s YouTube Video, where you can see me stood on the roof with the camera…
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Through the gate and on we go…

Short video there from Brett…

On we go!
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Up to the gates at the top, where we head south again…
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More great views…
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From Brett’s camera for a change 😉
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Another

As we come back down again…
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The estuary on our left as we come down…
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Next ‘lane then!
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Narrow road!

Brett’s Video shows how narrow it was, especially following a Disco’!
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We were well ahead of the others (Disco’s) by now so stopped and I ran to the headland to get the above photo…
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It was quite tight in a Jimny, nevermind a Disco’!
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With a tight outcrop of wall on the right and a fantastic view to our left, we stopped to wait for the others to catch up, and as you can here at the end of…

Brett’s YouTube Video, for a photo opportunity –
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Brett’s view…
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And looking back at his Jalapeno 😉
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And at the headland and Barmouth bay…
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And my view of the four of us…
On we go…
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The gates are getting narrower? We had to take this one off it’s hinges to get the Disco’s through…

As you can see on Brett’s YouTube Video!
DSCN6332.jpgOn we go?
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To the next gate…

Again in Brett’s YouTube Video…

More narrow ‘lane until we get to the next gate, where it’s clear…
DSCN6334.jpgThat ain’t going through there?!!
We even tried the other Disco (without wheel spacers) –

But that wasn’t going either!

So about face we go!…
Nice comment from Brett that we’re “a group of four and not two groups of two” 😉
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Down we go…
We resolve to go back as a group of Jimnys and get through the whole ‘lane…
(We were here about ten years ago and got stuck for around six hours at the end of the ‘lane, so we’re keen to go back and conquer it!)
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Barmouth railway crossing in the distance…
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Next a BOAT out of Tal-y-bont…
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The one photo I took… Luckily…

Brett took a video! 🙂
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Last ‘lane of the day then! North East and then North West, just above the previous ‘lane…
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Turning North West where the two ‘lanes meet…
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It started as marsh grass…
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In this series of photos from Brett’s camera…
And then his video –

and it just kept getting got worse as we went along…
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And ended up as a bit of a swamp…!

Brett’s closing remarks…
Indeed, a good day’s ‘laning, just a shame we had to about-face on a few ‘lanes that the GLASS Rep’ thought would be do’able?