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Sherwood Chapter Welsh Camping Weekend 2008

This trip was over the Bank holiday from Friday 23rd May to Monday 25th May. Unfortunately, due to whatever the reasons, the number of bikes due to attend dropped from sixteen to seven. Nevertheless, at 1100 hrs the â??Magnificent 5â?? – Dai (our Welsh leader), Pete (Director), Twigg (plus pillion Johnny), Andy and myself – left the Friendly Farmer, Newark, and headed down the A46 to the Saxondale island in order to pick up Terry (later to be Christened Lah Lah, due to his very fetching all in one waterproofs) and Eric (Bananaman). So it was that the â??Magnificent 7 road off to darkest South Wales. All was fine until we reached Birmingham (M42) when it started to rain, heavily! Undeterred, we pressed on and, just as we were drying out, (I mean those that had not taken the precaution to wear waterproofs), we stopped at the Strensham Services (M5) for refreshments and petrol (Andyâ??s Nightster tank!!) Moving off, we travelled down the M50 to Ross-on-Wye and onto the A40 for Monmouth and the Welsh border. It was now raining again! As we pulled into a second service area for another of Andyâ??s petrol stops the rain got harder, so we all had another cuppa to give the rain time to move away. But it didnâ??t, so we put the waterproofs back on and set of along the A40 and A465 to Neath, our destination. After getting petrol at Tesco, we made our way up a steep climb to the farm and camping area we were going to use for the next three nights. It had stopped raining, so we were able to set up the tents in the dry, a pleasant surprise that we had not been expecting. About now Del, (Daiâ??s better half), appears in their Merc!! So that is how Daiâ??s tent and equipment were getting down here! Always take advantage of any situation my old Pappy used to tell me, so having a car meant that a Tesco run could be made for supplies (alcoholic beverages). When all was packed away, we had a lift down to the pub. It was here that Pete gave me my Chapter Photographer and Historian patches, so now it is official! The night finished with a visit to the chippy and a SLOW walk back up the steep hill that went on forever and ever.

Next morning and the weather had improved dramatically. We had breakfast in Tesco, and were then joined by Paul, Chalky and Andrew, from the Great Western Chapter for a ride through the Gower peninsular to Worms Head and Rhossili Bay. Disaster!! We got as far as Swansea and Andyâ??s Nightster refused to function. The electronics kept saying the stand was down, when it wasnâ??t, so as soon as Andy engaged a gear the engine cut out. After some attempts to fix it, Twigg had the idea to remove a section of the cable to the foot stand. This did the trick and we were off again. At Worms Head we parked up and headed for a drink or ice cream. It was then back on the bikes and a nice ride to The Mumbles for coffee and cake, then on to Joeâ??s for what they told us was the best ice cream in Wales. I would not disagree! We arrived back at the campsite, and after a wonderful day riding, it was time for a BBQ. Disposable grills, sausages and burgers had already been purchased at Tesco, so, with beer in hand, to maintain stability with tongs, it was time to cook. Later, there were a variety of entertainments, before we all turned in for a well earned sleep.

Sunday and the weather was not so good. The clouds threatened rain and a strong wind was blowing. Some ventured to Tesco for breakfast, and then had a very good ride through the Brecon mountains. Those that remained on site made use of the remaining sausages and rolls for breakfast before spending the rest of the day putting the world straight. On the evening we were joined by the site owners for a meal at the Castle Hotel in Neath. Watching the Neath night life was an experience. It has been a long time since I was out and about in a town centre at that time of night, but Andy assures me it was all quite normal!

The weather forecast for Monday was not good so we were all up early (7 am). Believe it or not, it was wild and windy but not raining yet. Consequently, we were able to take the tents down and pack them away dry. We left and headed back towards England into a very strong headwind. Then it started to rain, again! Fortunately, it stopped as soon as we got into England. The rest of the journey was uneventful, arriving home just in time for tea.

It was an excellent weekend with superb company. Thank you to all that were involved.

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