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Talyllin Railway weekend 11th to 13th October 2014.

Conceived as a temporary alternative long run to the Coventry to Brighton, I was fortunate enough while on holiday to find the Tynycornel hotel overlooking Talyllyn lake which had lock up garages and was happy to take a one night booking.
Sufficient interest was shown so a booking was made for the weekend of October 11th and 12th. Fast forward to Saturday morning to the start opposite the usual Breakfast Run lay by, and with a very doubtful forecast, fifteen bikes and one 3 wheeler (Harry and Fran’s ‘34 BSA) signed on with comments such as  “I’m really looking forward to this”. My son Andy, under pressure from my wife, had brought along the rescue trailer just in case my wrists (still not fully recovered from my tumble at Easter) failed to last the distance. The route took us through Henley in Arden, bypassing Redditch, on to Bromsgrove, Kidderminster, Cleobury Mortimer, Clee Hill in the clouds and as we dropped down towards Ludlow, the rain really started. Through Craven Arms and on to Clun where my Ariel front brake cried ‘enough’ trying to lock solid, fortunately at only about 5 mph. So parking up, we had a lovely lunch at the Sun and then put the bike on the trailer. Great shame – this was the start of the increasingly interesting route into Wales. From there we took the roller coaster to Knighton and then on over the moorland and hairpins and cattle grids of Cilfaesty Hill down into Newtown. From there heading in the direction of Machynlleth, we passed through strangely named places like Clatter and Carno as far as Cemmaes Road, then followed to signs for Dolgellau as the surrounding hills became more and more mountainous and the showers more and more intense. Finally, turning towards Talyllyn, we went through a pass where, with a break in the clouds, we could see the Talyllyn lake and the hotel ahead of us.  141 miles done, not quite as far as Brighton but a much more interesting route.
A pleasant, enjoyable evening with a number of wives having travelled by car to make a total of 26 sitting down to dinner. On Sunday, a brilliant sunny start at 9.15 am for the 14 mile run to Tywyn and the Talyllyn railway station at Wharf. With my Ariel still on the trailer, I managed to complete the route on an Ariel (what else?), this time as pillion on Roland’s Square Four.  Photos were taken, and most of those who were staying for two nights took a ride on the train to the top and back behind the railway’s second oldest loco, Dolgogh, built in 1866 and looking pristine as any true veteran should.  
One of the riders was overheard saying “it’s been years since I enjoyed myself so much” so I guess a good time was had by all. Same again next year? 
Alan went home on the Sunday so I will add a bit about the journey home on the Monday. I think there were eight bikes and myself and Fran, in the three wheeler, that stayed over on Sunday night, we got up for breakfast to find it cold but dry unfortunately by the time we had finished breakfast it started to drizzle with rain so we set off fearing the worse. Due to the weather we decided to cut out the couple of detours that Alan had added on the way down that took us over the high spectacular passes, as it turned out we made the correct decision because the further we got into the journey the worse the weather got. By the time we stopped for lunch at Clee Village on the top of the Clee Hill it very cold and blowing a gale with the rain coming down sideways and that is how it remained for the rest of the journey home but it did not detract from a superb weekend.

A massive thanks go to Alan Bailey for organising the weekend and the spectacular route. Alan also did the report, apart from the bit at the end that Harry did, and the photos. Thanks also to the owners and staff at the Tynycornel Hotel for their hospitality and Andrew, Alan’s son, for acting as breakdown and arranging the parking at the Talyllin Railway Station.

      The photos are, 1, At the start. 2, A view down the valley to the lake. 3, 4, 5, Bikes at the hotel. 6, 7 At the station before the train set off. 8, 9, In the train on the way up. 10, A group photo at the café on the way down.

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