We decided we needed to get away for a few days last weekend so we said hello to Polly, our trusty camper van, packed her up and headed off to Coed Llandegla Forest, Wales for a blast on the bikes. Just a 170 mile round trip for us, so around 1hr 40ish minutes. We arrived just after 10:30pm and stopped in a quiet lay-by near the Forest for that Friday evening. A perfect spot, pitch black, quiet, in fact a little eery with the Forest noises around us, but we were tired so, apart from Jon taking the dogs for a short evening stroll around the camper, we pretty much set the bed up and that was it until the following morning.
Saturday morning I was awoken with a wet slug in my ear, or that’s what it felt like as Rosie nuzzled me to let us know it was time to wake up! Actually it was around 5am and I wasn’t overly pleased. One problem with camping with dogs, they awake with the morning light and ‘Ping!!’ they’re awake, smiling, laughing and ready to go. Thankfully she got the ‘pulling the covers over my head’ message and I felt her curl up again for another couple of hours, with a big sigh.
We arrived at the Forest around 8:30am and found we weren’t alone. There were some really keen mountain bikers there before us keen to get on those trails. We found a good parking spot, paid our £4.50 for the day and cooked a good, hearty English breakfast. Gave the dogs a nice run for an hour whilst bike riding the easy Green trail, but before I’d even left the car park to head for the entrance to the trails my foot
slipped off the peddle and I scraped my knee & shin – Ouch!! The annoying thing was, I decided not to wear my knee pads as it was only going to be a gentle first ride round an easy route. Great start!! It was a lovely route though, winding around the forest and around the lake, but I have to say there were some tricky up hill parts so well done to the children we saw peddling determinedly.
After the dogs were well exercised we then decided to have a go at the Blue trail whilst the dogs had a snooze, with my knee pads well and truly on. A very good easy to mid route with some good, sometimes difficult up-hill, long climbs and some fun, sometimes testing downhill runs, with heavy rocks and trees as obstacles and places to take in the views. There was Thunder as we climbed up further into the higher forest towards the black clouds then the rain came, heavy straight down rain. We didn’t mind it though as it made the ride more challenging. The mud splattered everywhere and we hadn’t realised how wet we were until we got back to the van – Drenched! but what great fun, loved every minute. The up-side of having a camper van is a hot shower when you need one, and this was one of those times, along with a good mug of tea.
Mountain biking isn’t something we’ve been doing for long, but we love it. It’s a great test of fitness, stamina and reaction.
We’d booked into a campsite for the Saturday evening and decided that we’d get there in good time so we could enjoy some of the sunshine which had just started to shine through. We arrived at North Hills Farm campsite in the early evening. Good communication & directions to get there and a very warm and friendly welcome. It’s a family run site and quite new with very basic amenities, which is fine for us as we don’t need electric hook up – Oh and Reindeer! Yes they have Reindeer 🙂
Set in a beautiful part of Denbighshire, Wales the views were stunning from our camper with far reaching rolling hills and farmland and the weather was being so very kind, so we were able to set up outside and enjoy our evening meal, ‘Alfresco’. Cheers all.
Our neighbours were one other family in a tent at the top of the field, the Reindeer and horses
Sunday morning and we ate breakfast while watching the reindeer being fed and watered. It was quite a leisurely start to the day as we wanted to enjoy the surroundings we were in before setting off for yet another day at the Bike park. This time to do the Red run. We knew it would be a little more challenging than the previous days Blue run and we were right.
It was the same up hill climb, which initially led us up toward the blue trail, the rocky ground, the twisty turns and the odd challenging obstacle, but then as the trail divided to either carry on the blue route or take the red, that’s when the fun began. The Red run started with a board walk, which are strange if you’re not used to them. They twist and turn with drops on either side which are somehow off-putting when you’re going at speed, but they’re more difficult if you slow down as you tend to lose your balance, so speed it was. Wow, what an exhilarating ride, and fast!! The end of the boardwalk threw you off onto a little more of a level trail and then again big rocks to ride over with a drop off and then straight into, again twisty turns on very narrow downhill rocky paths. It was so fast you barely had time to think. I didn’t get much chance to take photos so had to rely on the Go-Pro working. I was loving it!! This went on for over 19km with difficult up hill climbs thrown in, usually followed by equally steep fast down hill runs, more difficult boardwalk runs and forestry obstacles. It was 2 hours and 30 minutes of hard fitness, quick precise reactions, sometimes fear, exhilaration and the feeling of pride after surviving and managing to actually do it! Fun – just Fun!
There was no way our legs would manage any more that day so that was it for the biking, but we were totally satisfied with what we’d done and felt we’d achieved something, as being relatively newbies to the world of mountain biking we were pleased and couldn’t stop talking about how brilliant it had been. From a personal point of view, it was certainly the best biking I’d ever done!