Annual Christmas Trip in the Ceiriog Valley 30/12/18

Tradition has it that we meet at McDonalds in Chirk for brekky, and then head of for a “gentle“ day 4x4ing in Ceiriog Valley (*ahem*)  … there were some “casualties” throughout the day – nothing serious or life-threatening, just a few unexpected hiccups!

Lineup at McDs in Chirk (Colin photo)

Lined up, as is the norm, left to right – Brett’s with his Green Jimny (Jalapeno), Phil Summerfield with his recently finished project, a very tidy Red Jimny Tray Back (Scorpion), Riccy and Joel in his huge Silver/Grey Jimny, Colin Cook and his GB Gary Wrench in his Red Jimny (Rooster) and a newbie to the group in his Navy Blue Jimny is Darren Williams.

It was noted later in the evening by Colin that Brett (green Jimny on the left) has obviously had a new CB Antennae from Santa Claus :0)

getting ready to dish out Mugs

Whilst in McDonalds, our normal Blogger (Dave Jones who is in his sick bed with a severe chest cold, had kindly ordered the group some unexpected Crimbo presents for the Crimbo Laning Group … here is Santa Maverick waiting for everyone…

JJ Crimbo Mugs

and here is everyone enjoying their “mugs” – maybe Dave & Brett have started new Crimbo tradition? On the Left front to back we have Joel, Brett top left corner, and Duncan (his head in Joel’s mug – ha ha ) and on the Right front to back we have Colin, Riccy, Gary and Phil … a right bunch of ???!! (4×4’ers).

Leaving Chirk McDonalds and a couple of miles on tarmac to find the first Lane of the day BTL

Here is Brett’s customary Intro video, preparing everyone for the first lane of the day, we know it as BTL (Brown Trouser Lane – normally only for Motor Bikes and Crossers, but wide enough for any brave [aka stupid] Jimny owners.

Here is the video (with one of them gimble thingy) from inside Riccy & Joel’s Silver/Grey Jimny … Riccy was last in the group for most of the day, ensuring all gates are closed. We chat (aka banter) via CB Radio to ensure any closed gates are closed by the last vehicle in the group .. of course we leave any Open gates Open!!

So onwards to the next lane of the day Ty’n Celyn, here are photos taken by Riccy and Joel.

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Joel eyeing up Dinner

Here is Brett’s video of Ty’n Celyn (note the Crossers on the right towards the end of the lane, waiting for us to pass, so they could go “off-piste” up the steep hill on our left… we saw this same group on many other lanes throughout the day, also lined up when on Pheasant Steps, waiting to go off-piste … It still “amazes me” why people do this!!

So Ty’n Celyn completed just a couple of miles of tarmac to find the next lane which was Pen-lan or Alti Badi … here are some photos taken by Riccy.

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Dave Jones, our Master ‘poorly’ Blogger likes to collect the lovely blue signs “Unsuitable for Motor vehicles” (Anaddas i gerbydau modur – obv just jibberish) … so Riccy took one to keep him happy – GWS Dave

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Riccy & Joel are still last in the group, so here we see Phil in his Jimny Tray Back, Darren and Colin up front … struggling with his Transfer Box jumping into neutral – lame excuse, if you ask me going up Pen-lan.

Of course, Brett is leading and had no trouble getting up the first Rock Step in his Jalapeno :0)

Brett’s video going up Pen-lan

Riccy going up Pen-lan

Pen-lan completed, no problems, except for an alleged sticky transfer box woe, so onwards on tarmac heading south towards Glyn Ceiriog and aiming west to find Cefn Canol, or as the 4×4 community like to call it – Vee Gulley (not sure why LOL).

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Tarmac roads towards Glyn Ceiriog

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Riccy & Joel following Phil (Jimny Tray Back) at the starting section of Cefn Canol

Brett’s video leading the way up Cefn Canol (Vee Gulley)

As you can see, Cefn Canol (Vee Gulley) is not a lane for the faint hearted …

You need to pick a line and stay with it. And to be honest, it has gotten a lot easier in recent years, as I recall the Vee Gulley being more severe – or am i just getting old?

Every time Gary Wrench comes with us, which is not very often as he has sold his excellent Jimny and gone over to the Dark Side (no, he hasn’t bought a Lard Rover) but instead he has bought himself a Crosser (probably just a mid-life crisis)…. anyway, stop rambling on Brett … So, one year, we were driving up the Vee Gulley and Gary (in his Jimny) was in front of Ben “Aussie” Cook (Ben has emigrated down under – hello Ben) and Ben was in his huge and capable Toyota LJ and he had never driven up the Gulley, so Gary said over the CB …. just follow my line and you’ll be ok…. and then before you could blink, Gary had put his Jimny on its side!!! (Ha Ha)  – Gary was ok, just a busted Rear O/S Quarter window …. I mean, who breaks rear quarter windows (lol)… luckily Ben decided to take his own route up Vee Gulley :0)

So, Vee Gulley completed and no breakages this year, it’s onto the tarmac to find a nice T&S (Tight and Scratchy) lane towards a village called Pandy on the B4500.

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The above photo is about half way down the UCR crossing a nice scenic stream.

Brett’s videos in two parts of Pandy down

Brett’s videos in two parts of Pandy down

Riccy’s video of Pandy

So Pandy completed, we turned Left onto the B4500 heading back towards Glyn Ceiriog and then we turned right onto the B4579 and through Pentre Cilgwyn onto the next lane under Bedwlwyn and passing Bryniau Farm.

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Here the group is waiting for Brett to open yet another Gate and ahead in the distance (you will see in Brett’s video, a couple of groups of Crossers (we hoped) enjoying a natter and some grub).

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Tradition says we stop here for a snack and a hot drink, take some silly photographs of the group when standing in a marshy field, and eat some of Brett’s home-made sausage rolls and Dave’s home-made Diabetic Mince Swirls (actually made by his wife Sarah) … but hang on, Dave isn’t with us today, so Riccy spotted the potential problem a few days ago and made the group some sticky and SWEET (certainly NOT diabetic) Mince Swirls …. Dave who??? (LOL)  IMG_0032

Colin pretending to be David Bailey

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Darren, Brett and Colin admiring Riccy’s rear cabinIMG_0034

All lined up – Jalapeno, Rooster, Darren, Tray Back, Riccy&Joel.

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Riccy captured me herding “the cats” to get back doing what we came here for … 4×4’ing not nattering!! We had stopped for 15mins, that was far too long!!IMG_0036

Darren obeying orders IMG_0037

I’m not sure what Phil is looking at, or aiming something at the floor?

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Riccy’s tidy Jimny (a nice registration plate too) … we don’t hide or splodge out our number plates, as EVERYTHING we drive on is totally LEGAL … if you see photo’s on FB or other group outings and they have removed their number plates from the vehicles or they splodged them out (photo edited) – then it’s my guess is that they are somewhere that they should not be!

Anyway, a few sausage rolls and mince swirls and hot drinks devoured, we’re on our way.

Brett’s video from the start of Bryniau Farm until the snack break

after Sausages

Approaching Llechrydau Farm.

After our snack, and driving through Llechrydau Farm and following “Chips Away” Van and continuing to the muddy cross roads.

At the muddy cross roads, we turned right along another UCR that passes a hill called Craig-yr-hwch, and there’s plenty of gates to open and close, and three videos to watch of our journey. Approaching the end, the route was created to drive down a Byway through Tynlwyn and a farm/farmer who is known to be “awkward” – Brett had checked with TW2 and GLASS and it was legal to drive, but Gary said he thought it was too steep for our Jimny’s and it was “Crossers only” – so we continued straight and went around Tynlwyn on tarmac to get back onto the planned route.

Brett’s video of Craig-yr-hwch (video-1)

Brett’s video of Craig-yr-hwch (video-2)

Brett’s video of Craig-yr-hwch (video-3)

Riccy’s view driving Craig-yr-hwch

So, a few “C” roads to get back towards Rhiwlas and then south towards the next lane at Clyrun. It is a Byway, but it is a DEAD END, but the views from up top are amazing.

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Did Joel stop on Ty’n Celyn and cook and eat this???

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This is why we do this DEAD END Byway

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As the Byway is not used much, the farmer asked us to not chew up the field where we have to turn around – of course not, we understand how to protect the Green Lanes. This unused Byway was a tad slippery, so everyone was in Low Box and 4WD to protect the land.

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What a view IMG_0045

Is this God’s country, or is that somewhere else??

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Here you can hopefully see how gentle five Jimny’s have been, getting up this probably 15-20 degree slope, not often used so was quite slippery

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We gently reversed up a side slope so to turn back down the Byway without any damage to the underlying ground.IMG_0049

Last few reversing and turning back down to Clyrun.

Brett’s video of driving up Clyrun

Brett’s video of Clyrun coming back down

At the end of the Byway, we turned right and through Llansilin and onwards towards Cefn-y-braich and the next two lanes … Cefn-y-braich and Priddbwll and Wenalt – probably Jimny’s and Crossers only :0

So, first is Cefn-y-braich … another T&S (Tight and Scratchy) lane and technical too inching down between huge trees and the ground slopes right to left!

Brett’s video driving down Cefn-y-braich

Riccy’s view driving down Cefn-y-braich

After Cefn-y-braich just a few hundred yards of tarmac bypassing a village called Priddbwll and onto the next lane…

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Riccy pointing the way forwards.

We know this lane a Lie Down Lane, as a few Crimbo runs ago our very own Colin Cook decided that Rooster was so tired, and it needed a rest (aka Lying Down for a nap). This lane is severely T&S and that year I was in-front (leading as ever) and hard on the CB that Rooster had toppled over, and I looked in my rear-view mirror and initially thought (after a short chuckle) … How the Heck are we going to recover him from there!! Anyway, we all agreed the best course of action was to “drag” (aka winch) him backwards, whilst the others were telling him which way to turn steering wheel to get Rooster back on four tyres.

So, what could go wrong today??

Here are the photo’s taken by Riccy and Colin…. as ever a picture can tell a thousand words!!

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Phil getting up, as you can see the lane is T&S and slopes Right to Left on the upwards climb. IMG_0052

Spookily, almost at the EXACT same point as Rooster a few years ago, newbie Darren had decided he had been 4×4’ing too much and thought his Navy Blue Jimny need a nap (Lie Down)

Brett turned around (gently in a field in the hope to winch or be winched off to recover Darren. But when Brett had approached Darren, it became clear that again the best recovery method was to winch him backwards. With plenty of “Team Communications” over the CBs (aka banter) we carefully (you’ll see in Brett’s video) got him back onto four wheels, and Darren wiped his brow, and we continued onwards. Brett reversed, and turned around.  IMG_0053

Phil winching Darren back onto four wheels.

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Remote winches are the best

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This is where Darren unfortunately took a wrong turn.

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Nice flex there Riccy

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A photo of Darren back on four wheels.IMG_0058

Colin in Rooster coming up.IMG_0059

Colin in Rooster coming up – its always “harder” being last in the group on such a T&S and Slippery Lane. Top Marks Colin, for staying on four wheels (lol)

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Concentration need I suspect Colin? I’m sure Colin was well aware that he’s already had Rooster on its side up here and didn’t want to do that again??!!

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After Brett had turned around to continue onwards, we spotted a “rogue” sheep in the lane and in front of us, and we didn’t want to get it worried having five Jimny’s driving up the Lane. So, Brett used his “unknown and un-qualified” Shepherding skills and managed to get the sheep to canter back down towards the Jimny’s, and Brett had asked Phil to open a gate, so we could cajole “said sheep” back into a field of other mates!

Brett using weird whistling noises and grunts, manage to get the sheep trotting towards his Jalapeno, but right at the last second, the sheep almost jumped over Phil and ignored everyone’s actions to guide him into field … and wandered back down the lane … As Brett said at the time “Phil I only asked you to do one job …”

We continued to the top of the Lane, turned around at the top and in good old “Duke of York” style, came back down the lane.

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Brett the shepherd – no sign of baby Jesus though!IMG_0063

Sheep hurtling towards the rest of the group

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When we got to the top of the Lane, Colin announced that somewhere on the drive UP, he had lost his snorkel top – and as they are expensive – could we all keep a look-out for it (I think he said the Brett, please don’t drive over it – as if!!) … Anyway, it was found and here is Colin expertly refitting it!!

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At the bottom of the Lane, we see a local farmers child expertly herding the sheep.

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On the way down the Lane a few of us experienced and tree stump on the right (strangely, the only Jimny “not” to have any damage from the stump was Lie Down Darren). The above photo is a nasty dent in Riccy’s ex-smart Jimny.

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Brett suffered the worst … a big dent in the door, another dint in the pillar and a dint in the rear quarter that also clipped his rear quarter window, kindly turning his window into crazy glass patterns!

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Here we see Brett and Gary Gaffer Taping up the busted window, outside and inside. Hopefully enough to get him home (which in the end was successful) – Brett is now waiting on a replacement window from his and everyone’s favourite “Jimny Breaker” – Mr. James Priestley)

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Also, at the end of the lane, Phil is looking around his Tray Back to discover that the bolt holding the O/S Shocker onto the chassis has come loose. Brett finds a spare one in his tool-bag, but it transpires that the bolt had sheared off … so Phil cleverly tie-wrapped the shocker in place to the axle.

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Here is the damage to Rooster from hidden tree stump!

creator of the dent

Riccy took this still from his video, as the “culprit” of everyone’s damage … a nice tree stump sticking out about 3-inches!!

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Darren unscathedIMG_0073IMG_0074IMG_0075

Phil tie-wrapping (different from Christmas present wrapping) his shocker to the axle, so it won’t rattle and fall off!!

Brett’s video where Darren took a nap

Brett’s video after Darren and Sheep recovered

Riccy’s video going up Riddbwll

Brett’s video of the group going back down Priddbwll

So, we are all safe and sound, Darren’s pride took a bash when he was on two wheels and Brett’s rear window is Gaffer Taped up, and Phil’s shocker is attached, if only with a couple of sturdy Tie Wraps, but we are now onwards and upwards to the next lane – Hafod.

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Half way up Hafod, after the nice FORD (River Lleiriog) and besides a neat cottage, CB banter said that Brett was taking a small tree home with him … attached to his huge CB Antennae.

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Get away tree …

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Brett looks satisfied with his work (lol)

Brett’s video of Hafod

After completing Hafod we drove North East on “C” roads aiming for Glas-hirfyn and Pantglas Ucha – two UCRs that we like to do …. but ….

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Darren come over on the CB, saying he thinks his Front O/Side Tyre is Flat … and it was.

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As Riccy has ARBs front and Rear, we first thought it may have leaked from valve seal, so using Riccy’s Tyre hose thingy, we pumped it up to 27PSI and listened …. yes, air was escaping, so Phil got his High Lift out of his Jimny Tray Back and started jacking up from Darren’s front metal bumper, Brett checked with Darren that he was in gear and the hand-brake was fully on, and fetched his Ryobi Lithium Impact Driver to undo the wheel nuts, and to also remove Darren’s spare from his rear door….    IMG_0081

When punctured tyre on the floor, Joel spots a tear in the outer tyre wall … I wonder how that could have occurred (Hafod is a stoney, rocky, rutted lane) … and the tyres was only NEW YESTERDAY!!

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Yes, that fooked!!

Spare tyre fitted, and pressure lowered to 17PSI using Riccy’s hose thingy (there must be a real name for it?) and the punctured tyre back onto rear door… and onwards towards Glas-hirfyrn.

Approaching Glas-hirfyrn, Brett remembered that we normally do the lane in the other direction, and on the last occasions the Farmer, who likes to park his huge Tractor Trailer in the middle of the lane, preventing access (we always pass comments on to GLASS and the local council about it, but nothing ever gets resolved) … so we decided to ignore Glas-hifryn and do Pantgals Ucha instead.

Brett’s video of Pantglas Ucha

After completing Pantglas Ucha we headed back south west aiming for Llanarmon Mynydd-mawr and the excellent UCR that drives beside Pen-y-graig.

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Riccy photos of Pen-y-graig

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Anyone fancy a “Grand Designs” building project?

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Riccy photos of Pen-y-graig

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Riccy photos of Pen-y-graig

Brett’s video of Pen-y-graig

After Pen-y-graig we head north and east to find Cefn Hir-fynydd (yes, a very famous lane, but no one will know it as that…)  here is a clue …

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Yes, its “Splashy Lane” and here are Brett’s and Riccy’s videos

Brett’s video … Splashy-1

Riccy … Splashy-1

Brett … Splashy-2

Riccy … Splashy-2

Brett … Splashy-3

I’m sure you will agree Cefn Hir-fynydd (Splashy Lane) us well named.

At the end of Splashy at another cross-roads of UCRs, we turned Right down past Blaen Rhiwlas Uchaf towards Hen Graig, known locally as Pheasant Steps.

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The drive down Blaen Rhiwlas Uchaf

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Joel closing the gate ahead of the large step down on Blaen Rhiwlas Uchaf

Brett’s video of the journey down Blaen Rhiwlas Uchaf towards Hen Graig

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At the bottom of Hen Graig (Pheasant Steps) time for some more home-made sausage rolls and mince swirls.

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Even though Brett made them he enjoyed them too (greedy bugger)

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Crossers stopped for a natter but couldn’t be bothered to remove helmets and have some scoff. …. more for Brett then!!

Brett’s video of the journey back up Hen Graig to Blaen Rhiwlas Uchaf

Brett’s video after Hen Graig towards Blaen Rhiwlas Uchaf and the road

Here Phil in Scorpion said on the CB that this was a good opportunity for him to head East towards Oswestry and onwards home to Worcester, so we all got out and wished him Happy New Year and we’ll look forward to be seeing Phil & Scorpion in 2019… Good to see Phil as he is one of the founder members of Jimny Jaunts, but hasn’t been out for a while due to building Scorpion.

As time was getting on (it was now around 3:15pm) and we had planned to do Corwen Car Wash, and few in the group didn’t fancy a deep river crossing in the dark, so we skipped Plas Trgeriog, Tregeiriog, Pen-y-Bont, Hafod Adams, Whitestones and Fodwen to get onto The Wayfarer and get to Corwen Car Wash (before the sunset) …. little did we know what we had yet to encounter!!!

We started The Wayfarer around 3:30pm passing the great sign at the start saying Llandrillo 6-miles or Cynwyd 7-miles … so onwards it was then….

After the first two closed gates, that we opened and of course closed, we came across a group of 5 vehicles (2x Mitsubushi L200s) what looked like a totally standard Jimny (on road tyres) and a Blue Defender and a single crosser parked up on the lane that didn’t allow us to pass .. so we waited for around 5 minutes for them to get going… we then of course waited another 5 minutes so as not to create a group of TEN.

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Waiting for group to get way in front before we set off …

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Here’s a still of them getting up the lane after the ford… its clear to see that the standard Jimny was struggling)

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More waiting, but on this occasion, we spotted a single 4×4 (unknown at the time) coming to other way, so we waited again. The lone 4×4 had parked up just off the lane allowing the Mits, Jimny, Defender and the Crosser to go past him. We then called the lone 4×4 down the lane, which would give us again another gap between the group in front of us … little did we know ….

Anyway, the lone 4×4 turned out to be a Land Rover Discovery with the parents in the front and what looked like 3 kids in the rear, luckily everyone had their seat belts fitted, unlike the group in front of us!!

After waving goodbye to the Discovery, we trundled on slowly as to NOT catch up with the group in front, who were now approaching the Railway Sleepers …and it was obvious that the 2xMits, the Jimny and even the Defender were novice drivers as it took them close to 10mins to get up and over the Railway Sleepers, so we could not help catching them up.

No more photo’s on the Wayfarer, just a few videos taken by Brett as he was leading, and had the advantage to see what was taking time … in one video we can clearly see the Crossers had blatantly gone off-piste and had become bogged down, requiring most of the 4×4 vehicle drivers to drag him out … and to add insult he them went off-piste again and low and behold got stuck again (more of the same mates needed to drag him out) … in one of the videos, Brett has zoomed in to get the registration of the Crosser!!

Here are the videos of Wayfarer, until we managed to pass them as they nicely parked off-piste to go see the Recording Box and the Wayfarer Plaque.

Brett’s 1st video on Wayfarer

Brett’s 2nd video on Wayfarer

Brett’s 3rd video on Wayfarer

Brett’s 4th video on Wayfarer

Brett’s 5th video on Wayfarer

Brett’s 6th video on Wayfarer

Brett’s 7th video on Wayfarer

After we had passed them at the plaque we continued onwards without stopping, as it was now approaching 4:15pm (yes, 45mins to do around 3miles) and light was dropping, and we want to do Corwen Car Wash in some “light” …even if it wasn’t DARK, others would be happy!

So, after the plaque, there’s a gate and after a few hundred yards there’s a fork (not a dinner fork – lol) in the road, Left is to Llandrillo and Right is to Cynwyd – we took the Right Fork (as Brett likes to say on the CB “Forking Right) … after a few miles we got onto the B4401 towards Cynwyd turning left onto “C” Roads to find the famous Corwen Car Wash crossing the wide (and sometimes fast flowing Afon Dyfrdwy).

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Riccy’s photo of the Jimny’s parked up (a little light) and us discussing if it was safe enough to drive across…. We all agreed that it was no deeper than when we crossed it earlier in the month, and it appeared not to be flowing too fast … so we volunteered Colin (in Rooster) to go across to go set up his GoPro on the other side … of course Colin had to then reverse back and then re-drive across to capture himself on his GoPro (lol). IMG_0103IMG_0104

Brett’s video of us sussing-out the River for crossing

Brett video’ing himself (now in the dark) crossing Corwen Car Wash

Riccy and Joel crossing Corwen Car Wash

So that was another successful Annual Crimbo Trip …only a few “oops” moments… We all shook hands and wished each other Happy New Years’.

Here is Brett’s now customary Closing Remarks.

Brett’s customary Closing Remarks …

Next trip is 20th Jan’19 where the Jimny Jaunts re-visit Oldham, Huddersfield and Holmfirth … the Event is FULL…. as are most of our planned 2019 Trips.

Colin Cook, Darren Williams and Riccy were recording with GoPro’s, here are their wonderfully “edited” video’s of the whole day:

Colin “Rooster” Cook – GoPro of the day

Darren Williams GoPro video of the day.

 

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