Big things. Off we went in the Freedom Wizard bus to mid-Wales for a few days with the determination to do as many routes as possible for inclusion in a guide book. And we did! Some routes that were accessible once-upon-a-time were no longer available and vice-versa. I must admit where there have been improvements, some are very impressive! The route around Trawsfynydd is truly great for disabled folk who might use a motorised wheelchair such as a Tramper. Why is it so good? Trawsfynnydd Power Station have invested what looks like an awful lot of money into this path—obviously wanting to pump something back into the community—and they have succeeded. (Llwybr Llyn Traws Lakes Path). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trawsfynydd_nuclear_power_station
We had glorious weather in which to complete this route and we did it with one of us zipping along on the BOMA and the other on an electric bike. This way we covered a lot of ground in a short period. For the main part, the path is on a hard surface, and there was nothing difficult about this route. Close to the end we faced an awkward squeeze, but got through after a bit of a dig at stubborn earth with my boot.
Before I forget, can anyone tell me what these sheep are called? I love their beige necks and knees!
This was my first sighting of the power station and I had real mixed feelings about the whole thing—which I won’t divulge, but I was fascinated with how the station itself would periodically ‘disappear’ into the background. Yes, real mixed feelings…but, onwards and most of the time – upwards!
Tomen Y Mur was an interesting route, following in the footsteps of the Romans—and what a legacy they left here! The BOMA could not complete this one, but for those interested in our distant past—it really IS worth a look. It was beautiful but we were thwarted by deep ruts, gates and stiles. On foot it is a different matter.
Coed Y Brenin was another route we did and if you are into mountain biking or just walking the trails it is a great day out. The BOMA coped well with the rough terrain and technical descents. A Tramper or similar could cope too.
We had a real ‘glitch’ one day that set us right back. We were in the process of assessing a bridle path for safety as there had been a tree-fall. Just as we were deciding to turn back, the land gave way and the BOMA slipped. Even worse…it took Allie with it…down, down tumbling into the rock-strewn river. It was an absolute disaster. I screamed as Allie somersaulted, caught up in the machine and I slithered my way down as fast as I could. By some miracle she was relatively okay. We worked efficiently together in emergency mode, neither of us panicking—even though we were shocked. The BOMA was clearly damaged and our gear was under water…my note book drifted down-stream. Four heavy batteries were lugged up the bank along with a sodden rucksack and anything else we could free.
We literally got on our bike and sorted help; enlisting Snowdonia South Mountain Rescue Team and a local guy and wife whose house was along the route. They happened to breed Red Setters which are my favourite dog. They always make me cry when I see one…happy memories of my very own Jamie, so when one came towards me and snuggled into me, I was already in a fragile state and could have cried my own river of tears…but I looked upon it as a bonus, a ‘hug’ off a. beautiful dog I didn’t know. She put both paws on my knees—I was crouching down—and pushed her head deep into me. What a cuddle! I couldn’t have asked for more!
When it was all over, Gin was the order of the day. It was a rare hot evening and we sat outdoors and watched the sun go down. The photo reminds me of my book cover, Rucksack Tales. What a day it had been.
The following morning we took stock, rested and plastered bruises with Arnica. We talked about covering routes with the electric bike and the day after that we were up and running, exploring the areas near Crafnant, Swallow Falls and Llyn Elsi – although the last was only possible almost as far as the lake. I think the Robin felt sorry for me, by then my face was as red as his chest. Electric bikes DO require effort up-hill – make no mistake.
As we lost a day, we need to return to Snowdonia and add a few more routes to the list we are compiling. We are currently awaiting parts for the BOMA but luckily have other machines at our disposal. Watch this space. The Freedom Wizard duo can do magic!