It’s taken me ages to get around to posting this one, mostly due to reason far to boring to go into. I’m going to keep this one short and hopefully let the pictures do the talking, although to be fair it’s not like they are that great.
Once again there were a number of BearBones Winter Bivi’s happening throughout the land and for the second year running I joined up with the Welsh chapter. Last year had been a bit difficult due to the weather and our eventually bivi spot being a little cramped. it meant that we were a little spread out and the wind and rain didn’t lend it’s self to much socializing. Although the weather didn’t turn out much better this year it was a far more social affair with 18 of us taking the plunge into deepest darkest Wales.
We rolled out of a forestry car park on a chilly but bright December Saturday morning. That description sounds pretty uneventful, and for most of us it was. However Taylor wasn’t having any of it. He made the bold decision that swan diving over the bars was a far more appropriate exit for a man of his stature in the enduro-RAD-bastard standings. Of course a number of us were there to witness this feat of skill and offered many words of encouragement as he lay tangled with his bike in the grass.
The riding was a mixture of bridle way and fire road with a couple of fun fast technical-ish descents thrown in for good measure. We generally just meandered our way around for a while until we reached Lake Vyrnwy and popped into the cafe. As we pulled up we noticed a sea of road bikes parked up outside and for a brief moment a “jets vs the sharks” car park stand off was on the cards… We piled into the cafe filling the remaining tables. In all honesty I can’t recommend visiting this cafe although I’m sure on some future cold, wet day it will no doubt provide some respite but £2 for a bitter instant coffee frankly took the piss. We hung around for while talking bollocks and soaking in the warmth before heading back out.
We skirted around the edge the lake eventually leaving the tarmac and heading into the forest. The weather began to turn at this point and I started having flash backs of the 2013 winter bivi. The light started to fail as we climbed in the rain up into the hills that over look the lake. We passed through a few gates and reached our bivi spot, an old deserted farm house. The wind was howling and in all honesty I wasn’t really looking forwards to getting off the bike and getting the tarp up. It was wet and cold and actually I didn’t really want an evening of sitting under the tarp, this was meant to be a social event after all. Before getting all the gear out we took a quick look in the huge barn that we were thinking pitching next to. To our surprise it was actually pretty clean inside with no more sheep shit than the grass outside. We all thankfully piled in there and found a spot to roll out our beds for the night. The rest of evening was spent cooking food, tucking into my port crackers and cheese and taking the occasional slug from the whisky hip flask doing the rounds. On the whole a great evening was had by all.
Eventually we climbed into our pits and crashed out for the night. I’m reliable informed that it sheeted it down all night but fortunately I had remembered my ear plugs. This meant I wasn’t disturbed by either that or no doubt the snoring competition that normally ensues when a group of bikepackers get together. The next morning was bright and it was pleasant eating porridge, drinking coffee and chatting with the lads. We jumped on our bikes and pretty much retraced our steps back to the cafe. I’m not really sure why we stopped again as we had only be riding 20mins but hey it’s what happened. After some more coffee drinking and discussion of the luck of finding that barn to sleep in we pushed off again to head back to the car park. The ride back was quite similar to the previous day. There was the addition of a couple of grassy pushes and the odd tussock, 3 was the count I believe, but it was a fun ride none the less.
After reaching the car park all that was left to do was pack our gear and get down the pub for Sunday lunch. It was a nice way to finish off 2014 and great to meet a few more of the BearBones extended family.