So as part of learning the capabilities of the Bus and understanding what equipment works and what doesn’t, we try to get away with friends as often as possible. The forecast for this weekend (12/13th Nov) was reasonable and seeing as we live on the doorstep of North Wales, we decided to meet up with friends and have a night camping.
We met up with friends Jim & Sally (with dogs Sam & Bailey), Kirsty & Dave and later in the evening Geoff and Jayne, all like minded Syncro owners. The vans are all different and personalised in different ways. We swap ideas, give feedback on kit and of course drink gin and beer and enjoy food!
Fiona had found a pub called the Y Giler Arms, which has a tidy little campsite behind it that is very well appointed. The new landlords are great fun and the beer is lovely (Snowdon and Maddog), so we settled in in front of the real fire for a good chat about our plan for Norway next Easter. The conversation became increasingly ribald and a very enjoyable evening was had.
The following morning after Dave cooked everyone bacon butties (thank you!) we decided to try a nice byway which runs over the hills behind Betws Y Coed, from Dolwyddlin to Capel Curig. It has a nice mix of deep ruts, gravel tracks, water and mud and several very steep descents with tricky obstacles to cross. The biggest is a huge boulder which crosses the track and really pushes you towards the edge of the trail and over the steep drop off. It can be fairly demanding as there’s a lot of standing water, but the hardest part is the descent over loose boulders and wet leaves – very slippery and tests your brakes. All the vans coped well with no damage, although Geoff had a bit of overheating trouble which he’s diagnosed as a duff radiator.
After the laning we went to Pontcysyllte Aquaduct near Llangollen for ice cream and a walk. All in all a very nice day out.
As a footnote, you can see we have a generic aluminium roof rack with 120w solar panel and two Really Useful Boxes. All stood up to being smacked with overhanging branches and showed no signs of damage. I’m very pleased with the performance of this kit. In addition, we have the Britpart recovery boards which we decided were probably next to useless as we needed the ability to bridge ruts etc and didn’t feel they would be man enough. We will do a proper review though before dismissing them entirely and going back to our heavy-as-hell fibreglass waffle boards.