Wonderful Mid Wales Revealed in Autumn Outing
How is it we did not know about Wales? Sure, the names of the towns were mostly beyond pronunciation by our linguistically impoverished band, and we expected the sheep and some rain, but the beauty and sheer emptiness of the countryside, and the exciting variety of the roads, enjoyed largely without other traffic, were a revelation. The friendly hospitality of the Hotel Metropole at Llandidrod Wells, our base for the nights of 3 and 4 October, crowned an exhilarating driving experience and a hugely enjoyable weekend for the 10 cars that made the Register’s Autumn sortie to Mid Wales in October. Sadly Paul and Kate had to pull out en-route due to a dodgy distributor but the rest of us encountered no problems.
We met at the welcoming Wellington Country Pub in the village of Wellington near Hereford and, after a hearty lunch, set off together for Llandidrod Wells on a circuitous route taking in the tops of the Black Mountains. The Hotel Metropole is a grand old Victorian hotel still in private ownership, and a favorite with car clubs. It was bustling with guests, including the splendidly turned-out Maserati Owners Club, a large and fun group of motorcyclists on tour, groups of walkers, and a wedding party.
Rain in the night cleared by morning and, hoods down, we headed out to discover the wonderful scenery and delightful rural roads of Mid-Wales, including the challenging Devil’s Staircase and the beautiful Elan Valley and reservoir, with diversions to see red kites feeding at a sanctuary near Rhaydar, and the perilous descent on foot at Three Bridges to see spectacular waterfalls.
The Metropole looked after us well in every way. Our dinners, with specially printed menus, were served in a private dining room adorned with the old Victorian splendor. We lingered too long over the generous breakfasts at tables reserved specially for the Giulietta Register.
Sunday saw us sauntering across country to a delicious lunch with top class cooking at the renowned Harp Inn at Old Radnor, near Presteigne, before heading off into gathering rain on our separate routes for home.
Grateful thanks to Tony and Jane Ives, whose excellent organisation opened our eyes to wonderful Mid Wales. Thanks also to Paul Wignall, Richard Wigley and the MGA Register for helpful route suggestions.