Worlds End at Llandegla – 7th December
The forecast had been for rain on Thursday night, but clearing till dinnertime/early afternoon. Me and Tony H had decided to go up with the GT crowd, but we’d peel off at the Offa’s Dyke path, ride what are known as the Worlds End and Masts loops.
The day didn’t start well as heading up the M6 we went straight past the M54 turnoff. I thought Tony knew another way so didn’t say anything…. two junctions later Tony announced that he’d missed the M54 turning 🙂 Rather than turn back he got his Sat Nav out and we headed accross country to get through Wrexham and on to the trail centre at Coed Llandegla. We sort of got there on time… well a few minutes late.
Kitted up we headed off up the trail, the clouds getting darker, and the snow/hail/ice mix on the fire road getting deeper as we climbed. Soon we were at the Offa’s Dyke Path, time to decide if we were going to go for it. “What the hell, what’s the worst that can happen?” Andy Chann decided to join us, and we rode out of the trail centre and onto the boards that take the path over a bog and down to the lane that drops into Worlds End Valley.
Now these boards are a bit of a hand full normally. Two boards, about 12 foot long, and about 6″ wide, laid next to each other, sometimes with a nice wheel sized gap between. They snake their way over the bog. Our problem was they were covered in snow, with a varying amount of ice underneath. Andy was the first to topple off the edge, I was second. As the bike went over I knew were I was going to land, nice soft heather. And sure enough it was a soft landing…. but a couple of seconds later my side felt cold…. very cold. I was sinking into the bog….. Uggghhh! Nothing to do but carry on!
Soon we were climbing up to the top of the Worlds End descent, a winding path that gradually decends by traversing the scree slope beneath several long rocky outcrops….. it was then that the weather hit. Driving wind laced with hail, that felt like someone was shotblasting your face! Oww! No point hanging around, as the lower down we got the less we were getting hit. Even with the weather the run down the trail was superb! Definately one to revisit when the weather is better!
A road climb back up to Offa’s Dyke Path followed and as we climbed the sun came out. But as soon as we turned to retrace our wheel tracks over the boards the sky darkened and the hail hit us… head on! The hail had made a decision for us, there would be no doing the Mast’s Loop. that involved heading up to the highest point around, and would be horrible!
The deforested section we were in gave us no cover from the blast and so we were thankful when we dipped below the tree line. We were out of the wind now, but the trail was soaking wet, and soon our already wet boots were filled with fresh cold water. As usual the man made trails were great fun, but slowly I started loosing feeling in my hands. I struggled on for a bit, but hitting a fireroad I told Andy and Tony I was going to bail, and get back to the trail centre and some warm clothes the quickest way I could. I hardly finished the sentence before Tony said he was too.
It was then a mad dash back by the most direct route. The rest of the GT crowd were in the cafe when I walked in. After removing my soaked gloves I had to walk around the bike shop for 5 minutes while the hot aches subsided! Then into warm clothes, and a big slab of their home made carrot cake….. Mmmmm
Call me a weirdo if you like, but it was a great day out on the bike! (Had you asked me when I couldn’t feel my hands, the view may have been a bit different!)
Dalwhinnie, Home of Scotlands highest working distillery – 414.3 miles to Coventry
Ride – #204 Bike – Trek Superfly Al Elite
Miles – 21.8 Total 2012 miles – 4585.7