Sunday, 23 September 2012

Petrolhead heaven in North Wales

TWO rather tidy Rover SD1s, several confused-looking sheep, a charming countryside cottage ironically called The Ugly House and a disused viaduct stuck halfway up a mountain.

These are just some of the sights I’ve clocked on a bit of a petrolhead tour of North Wales, which saw a Mazda MX-5 (driven by Yours Truly), a Ford Racing Puma and a diesel Saab 9-3 (it’s the economy, stupid) pitted against some of the windiest roads I could find in the AA road atlas I’d bought three days earlier.

More importantly, what I saw a lot of on these trips is mile after mile of deserted tarmac, criss-crossing remote bits of moorland in the middle of nowhere in particular. If you’re really, really keen on driving then the words Croeso i Gymru should bring a smile to your face!

Admittedly, the staff at the bar in Betws-y-Coed we always stay at on these trips are probably getting familiar with our faces by now, but I’m always happy to chuck a few quid at the Welsh economy given what we always get in return. In this case, it was heading up the back road towards Ffestiniog, turning a corner and being greeted with a glorious panorama of the countryside stretching out for miles below us, a faint blue sky above us and the Irish Sea somewhere in between.  Staggeringly beautiful scenes like these are what motoring through Wales is all about.

Then of course, there’s the driving itself, which as long as you stay beneath the speed limits and keep an eye out for the real troublemakers of rural driving – sheep and hairpin bends – is truly good fun. At one point on the Evo Triangle (if you haven’t heard of it, Google it) we got overtaken by a souped-up Subaru Impreza, a MINI Cooper GP and a Porsche Boxster S and I don’t think any of us were particularly bothered, because even at sensible speeds we were loving every minute.

These roads were enjoyable even in a diesel Saab (especially if you’ve got the smug factor of overtaking just about everything and getting 50.3 to the gallon while you’re at it) so you can imagine how much of a ball it would have been in a Ford Racing Puma and an MX-5 with its roof down.

I know I’ve said it before but it’s worth saying again - if you like your driving there really are some stunning roads that aren’t a million miles away. Get out there and give them a go – you won’t regret it!

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  1. I can tell that you had enjoyed your ride together with those two stunning cars. You saw lots of panoramic sights that are worth treasuring, that’s for sure. I’m pretty sure your Mazda MX-5 gave you a great ride along those beautiful roads. I think it would also be fun and exciting if you try to race with one another though! That would get your blood pumping, for sure!

  2. A Mazda MX-5 is really the perfect car to take when you’re up for a road trip like this! Imagine driving a great car, with the cool breeze on your face, and looking at a breathtaking view. That kind of adventure is really fun and exciting!