Castle Capers North Wales scooter tour | FEATURE
If you’re into scooters you’ll no doubt enjoy having a purpose for a decent ride. Just nipping to Matlock (or the seaside) for a bag of chips every Sunday like the local bikers doesn’t really cut the mustard. Sometimes though the lure of a far off destination is too time-consuming so a challenge closer to home that only takes a few days is worth looking into.
The United Kingdom is blessed with some fantastic scenery and great riding roads so we don’t have to go abroad to have an adventure. Jerry got in touch about a ride he did last year with a few friends, here’s how they got on.
The Dirty Dastards
Our group (The Dirty Dastards) was born about five years ago. During that time we’ve attended as many rallies as commitments would allow, including a couple of trips to France. Four of us are now retired, but still have a zest for fun, scooters, and getting out and about.
So, what should we do, now that we have more time on our hands? One of our group suggested a tour of the North Wales Castles, which were part of King Edward’s ‘Ring of Steel’. In 1276–77 and 1282–83, King Edward I led two military campaigns in Wales to defeat the Welsh princes and bring Wales under English rule. To do this, between 1276 and 1295 many castles were built or repaired.
Our aim was to visit all of these castles over a four day period. Firstly, Flint, then onto Rhuddlan, Beaumaris, Conwy, Caernarfon, Harlech, and finally, Aberystwyth. In total, around 400 miles.
Leaving Shrewsbury (our home town) on the Friday, we rode to meet the fourth member of our group at Ellesmere, before starting our quest in earnest. Typical British weather – rain accompanied us for most of the day, nothing new there!
A steady pace to our first castle, Flint. Mainly ruins, we stayed there but a short time, conscious of another to ‘bag’ before our first overnight stop.
Next Rhuddlan. Again ruins, but two bagged on the first day. This is where I had an issue with my scoot. After cutting out in traffic, I proceeded to push it to the side of the road, losing my balance, and breaking the scooters fall with my leg. Hurt pride, but nothing else. Then on to Llandudno for our overnight stop, a place we are familiar with after attending several LCGB rallies there.
Fine weather to begin our sojourn. Conwy was a beautiful castle commanding a strategic position, more intact than the first two.
A dash down the A55 to The Brittania Bridge, and a quick hop over to Anglesey to visit Beaumaris Castle. A moated example, less imposing than Conwy, but equally strategic.
Caernarfon next, seat of Prince Charles’ investiture in 1969 as Prince of Wales. This castle is huge and houses the Welsh Guards Museum – well worth a visit if you’re in the area.
A gentle coastal ride on to our next, Harlech. En route, we visited Abersoch twice (don’t ask!), and called at Criccieth for a pot of tea and some scooter fettling. Nothing major, just a split fuel pipe.
Harlech Castle next- a castle that used to be on the coast, but is now further inland due to land reclamation. This example is on a high rock promontory, and it is easy to see why the site was chosen. Moated, and originally serviced by sea.
On leaving Harlech for Barmouth (our next overnight stop), my scooter gave up again. Suspecting something sinister, I decided to bump start it down a steep hill, and try and make it to the B&B. It started easily, only to conk out about 400 yards up the road. It was then I had a ‘light bulb moment’. I switched it on to reserve, and carried on red-faced!
Due to the toll bridge being closed at Penmaenpool, our journey via Tywyn and Aberdovey had to be made via Dolgellau. A very pleasant but uneventful coastal ride to Aberdovey. Then on to Aberystwyth for the final ‘bag’. Retraced our route to Borth, where we spent our final night. Borth was an annual sojourn every Easter ‘back in the day’ when we used to camp. Not any more, no tents for us.
The last leg, and back home, via Plinlymon, Newtown, and Welshpool.
I think it’s fair to say we had some laughs- mainly at each other’s expense! A big thank you to Doug, Rich (sat nav-remember Abersoch?), and Mike for making the trip memorable. We don’t know how much longer we’ll be able to ride these shopping bikes, so we relish each experience until we hang up our keys for the last time.
Will we do it again? You bet ya, God willing.
Words and photos: Jerry Kurek
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