A funny thing happened on the way to North Wales……

Me and cars. We are in a hate-hate relationship at the moment and we are not on speaking terms.

I had lined up to go for a weekend away in the Arans. This morphed into a trip to the lakes due to other people’s availability. This then morphed back into a trip to North Wales when everyone dropped out for various reasons and I felt the need to go somewhere! The weather was great, the visibility pearlescent and 3 days to myself. I started off with high hopes on Friday morning as I drove up from South Wales through to mid Wales. However as I passed near to Nant-y-moch reservoir, the sounds coming from the front of the car were not encouraging. After a few more miles I realised that the sound was definitely brake related and stopped to have a look. After half an hour of swearing and getting covered in grime I deduced that the discs were scored and the pads worn through. I had a few options but in the end I decided to turn around and drive gingerly home, even though I was within sight of Cader Idris by then.



After nursing the car back to Abergavenny, rather than waste the weekend I decided to walk and camp in the Black Mountains and drop my car off to a Kwik Fit garage to see the damage. Friday evening saw me doing a few hours on the Bal Mawr ridge above Llanthony Priory before pitching the Unna and retiring to the pub for a couple of pints and a good read. The night was extremely cold at -6 C and I awoke to ice on the tent and thankful that I had packed the Exped mat.



I couldnt fit the car in at Abergavenny so had to go for Newport instead. This meant that my day’s walk was along the Monmouth and Brecon canal and up to Twmbarlwm on the ridgeline above Newport/Cwmbran. Not what I had envisaged for the weekend but beggars cant be choosers.



The day was fine and the walk was a pleasant change ending in fine views from the top of Twmbarlwm hill fort. Whether its the resting place of an iron age chieftan, a hillfort or a Norman Motte and Bailey, Twmbarlwm makes a fine destination and vantage point.





That done it was time to walk back and pick up the car. Ouch. £200 lighter and feeling tired, I decided to call it a day and head home. I spent Sunday with the family and managed to get a few jobs done to boot. So , the weekend trip had morphed and changed and morphed again and finally become something completely different to what I had envisaged. Still, I had managed to get out in the first full feeling of Spring. Just wish it hadnt been so expensive…

About Saddlebags and Backpacks - a brewer's outdoor adventures

I am a keen hiker, camper, cyclist and general all round gear addict..... I also manage to be a professional brewer in my non-spare time :->
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8 Responses to A funny thing happened on the way to North Wales……

  1. -maria- says:

    Sometimes plans just change, but at least you got some quality time with your Unna!

    I’m in a hate-hate relationship with cars, too. So far my solution has been not to own one (but to rent when needed). This post was a good reminder why… 😉

    • backpackbrewer says:

      Hi Maria,

      sometimes I wish I didnt need a car but unfortunately I do for at least my work…. 😦

      And yes I did get some time with the Unna. I will do a better review of it shortly with a few more pictures

  2. The Dog says:

    Sorry to hear of your car woes – I can empathise being an Alfa Romeo owner!
    Anyway, despite not getting to North Wales, I’d say Twmbarlwm is a decent substitute! I’m biased mind, as it’s my favourite hill in the world and very local to me – I ran up it just last night from home!
    If you’re into mountain biking, the Twrch Trail just down into Cwmcarn Scenic Drive is brilliant fun.

    • backpackbrewer says:

      Hi Dog,

      yes well like you I am local to the area. My nearest hill is actually Grayhill but Twmbarlwm is only about 15miles away from the house.

      I know the Twrch Trail but having seen other people come down it at speed I reckon I would be too scared to attempt it 🙂

      I do like Cwmcarn in general though and take the kids walking there regularily

  3. phill says:

    At least you got out and had a good walk. And next time you know the car will stop. From your pictures it looks like the weather was great.

    • backpackbrewer says:

      Weather was sterling Phil. Really felt like spring and the blue skies were cerulian and had that slight but not distracting fine haze about them

      I am over the car now


  4. GeoffC says:

    Bad luck with the Arans plan, a fantastic area and a favourite, but well done on getting some hill time out of it.
    It’s good to have a change anyway and that’s a grand clear vista from the hill fort.

    • backpackbrewer says:

      yes Geoff, disappointing but hey-ho I tried to make the most of my time and in the end (repair bill aside) actually enjoyed the difference.

      Twmbarlwm is a great spot. It might be little in terms of height but the views are great and make you feel like walking along to the next hill and the next and the next…….

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