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2012 HRCR - Taith Cymru 1st Apr


Welcome to Round Two of the HRCR Tour Calendar for 2012! For Dippy and crew, this was a new event and the area to be used for the event would bring back some very happy memories of road rallies in the 1960 and 70’s for Mike the driver. To make for an easier start to the event, we had met up with four other HRCR members in Abergavenny and visited the Big Pit mining museum in Blaenavon and then had an overnight stop in Ebbw Vale.


The first job of the day was to clear the ice from Dippy’s windows - quite a shock to the system after such a good spell of weather. Our route to the start at Brecon took in the fantastic B 4560 road across the mountains; the early morning views and sunrise were just stunning. Care was required on some of the hairpin bends that still had a covering of ice, but Dippy’s new tyres coped well. On arrival in Brecon, the start venue was just perfect: a canal basin framed with daffodils and the theatre buildings - what a backdrop for all these 48 wonderful old cars.


After the usual scrutineering and signing-on formalities, there was time to enjoy a bacon butty and chat with the other competitors. At 09.31 hours we were flagged away by the organisers - yes - we had been given start number one - so no mistakes today please Hilary! We were soon out of the town of Brecon and onto the quiet moorland roads with just the sheep for company. The sky had now cleared and we were enjoying a perfect spring day. We passed through Glyntawe and then to the first passage control at the base of the Epynt Ranges for the run across the ranges to Tirabad. This was superb and the views fantastic. The route now passed through Cefn Gorwydd, Llangammarch Wells and Beulah to another passage control. Next on the route was Llanafan that has the oldest pub in Powys - sadly no time to stop and visit.


After Newbridge on Wye, we travelled along some very interesting roads to the Elan Village Visitor Centre, which was to be the lunch stop for the tour. Up to this point we had covered over 60 miles of the route. Picnic lunch in the sun looking up to the very imposing dam - what more could one ask for on the first day of April? After the one hour rest halt, it was back to the car and the very informative road book. Our Out Time from Elan was 12.31 hours and within a few minutes we were passing along the dam roads and it was so nice to see all the sights that had been missed when we used these roads on night rallies. To see water pouring over the top of the dam with the golden moorland backdrop and clear blue sky was just perfect.


The next town to pass through was the splendid market town of Rhayder and then onto Fron, Crossgates and Penybont to another passage control near Hundred House. All these place names brought memories flooding back of many hours of a misspent youth in Wales on Saturday nights in rally cars. The route now took in some more very interesting moorland roads and for some time we had been travelling with Dave and Joan Williamson in their Clan. Meeting a farmer with a tractor coming towards us, both tour cars backed up to let him pass. The Williamsons were now first car on the road and, after a few miles, we came across them parked in the middle of the road with a fuel supply problem. Mike acted as rear-guard policeman in case more cars came along the road, but just one appeared - John and Jan Slater, also in a Clan, who stopped to give assistance.


The problem was soon sorted and we were all on our way again with the Williamsons heading for Clyro and the petrol station. The route then went via Hay-on-Wye before climbing up to Hay Bluff for the final passage control of the tour. This was possibly the high point of the event, with views reaching back as far as Brecon. From Hay Bluff we continued through Capel-y-Ffin to the Llantony Priory road - yet another excellent choice for the tour route. On the way to Usk, we passed over the Chain Bridge before arriving at the Alice Springs Golf Club for the final control. The second half of the route had added another 79 miles. There was now time to take a short rest with a beer on the terrace before the outstanding 3-course dinner.


All that now remains is to thank Peter Hurst and his team for a fantastic day’s tour. For us, the choice and mixture of roads was the perfect balance.


Our sincere thanks to Peter Fieldhouse for all his help in compiling this report also our thanks to Steve Kilvington and Nick Jones for their photographs.



Hilary and Mike Stratton Plus Dippy.