Rhayader and the Elen Valley
We first found Rhayader and the Elan Valley in 2008 when we had our first motorhome holiday. We hired a motorhome that we thought would be exactly the design we wanted. We found that the design was not to our liking after all, so it was a good thing we had hired and not bought. We collected the motorhome on Friday 1st August at 10:30 ish in South Wales, it was an Adria 573 ds. We met the owner at his workshop where he kept the motorhome and we transferred all our clothes, food and bed linen into the Adria and were then given instruction on how to work things like the fridge, shower, cooker (turn gas on first) and hot water etc.
Before too long we were on our way, it seemed rather large at first but I soon got used to it. The fuel gauge was reading 1/4 full, so our first priority was to stop for diesel. There were 2 X 6kg bottles in the Gas locker, but I couldn't remember how much gas they had in them, I would check later. When I did check there was only one and it was nearly empty. We stopped for coffee after a while and I decided to check on the equipment that I was told came with the motorhome. (I know, I should have checked it when we picked it up)
Nothing to cook with
Our first shock was to find we didn't have a saucepan or a frying pan, no bottle opener, no brush or dustpan to keep the place clean, no levellers to level the motorhome with. The owner very kindly showed me how to wind out the awning and how to drop the legs to support it, but he didn't tell me there were no chairs if I did. We stopped on many occasions that first day.
Hired Adria Motorhome
We spent the next few hours shopping for items that you would expect to find in a hired motorhome. One of the first questions I asked the hirer was what equipment did I need to bring with me, and was told "you just need to bring your bed linen".
Our first two nights were on a CL in the Elan Valley near a dam. A lovely location with plenty of walks and there was a cycle track that went all the way round the reservoir. If you want to see "Red Kite" & "Raven", this is the place to come.
We woke early on our second day, I think the sheep bleating in the next field had something to do with it. We were up and out before 7am, the sun was out so we headed for the Dam, crossing over the river on a wooden footbridge and making our way west towards the reservoir. The route took us through Elan village and on up to the head of the dam via a narrow footpath with a steep climb at the end. We found an easier route on the way back.
Leaving Mid Wales we headed up to Snowdonia and stayed at Bethesda, visiting Beaumaris, Llanberis and Caenarfon Castle. We sat eating our supper on the beach at Beaumaris admiring the view back across the Menai Straight towards Snowdonia .
On our visit to Caenarfon Castle, we had a job to find somewhere to park the motorhome, but after a circle of the town twice, managed to find a car park that was motorhome friendly. We had a guided tour of the Castle and it was well worth the extra. It was suggested by my brother Richard that we go and see the "ELECTRIC MOUNTAIN" in Llanberis, so we did. Electricity to the National Grid is generated when it is needed, so if half the population put the kettle on at the same time, like they do during a big event on tv, they have to cope with a huge demand.
To do this, a mountain in Llanberis has 6 huge turbines buried inside the mountain and a man made lake on the top. When vast amounts of electricity are required in a hurry they drop the water through the turbines and then the water is pumped back up to the top lake during the night . "A modern industrial wonder of Wales, if not the World. This massive hydroelectric power station is built inside the mountain amidst 10 miles of tunnels carrying roads and water. The main turbine and generator chamber is said to be the largest underground chamber ever excavated by man. A bus tour of the power station starts from the 'Dragon in the Mountain' exhibition in Llanberis.
We went to Llangorse in the Brecon Beacons with Emily, David Rosie and Molly. They bought a Motorhome so they wanted to try her out. It must have been the hottest few days we have had in Wales. The campsite was next to one of the largest lakes in Wales and we hired a rowing boat for an hour, great fun.
The town is a busy place and they get there share of visitors who mostly come to the Elen Valley. It is a great area for walking and cycling around the reservoirs. I should imagine there are more Red Kites in Rhayader than anywhere else in Britain. I counted 34 one day and I was sitting in the motorhome at the time. You will find another link to the Red Kites of Rhayader in the Link section in the menu panel, bottom right (Gigrin Farm), where they feed the Red Kites every day.
This is a great location and I can see us coming back often. In the map right, you can see Rhayader on the right with the A470 going through north to south. From the centre of the town, take the road west, about 2 miles, to the Elan Valley. There is a Elan Village on the other side of the river and on your side is the "Elan Valley Visitors Centre" with good food on offer.
The Elan Valley Estate is an area of spectacular beauty and abundant wildlife right in the heart of Mid Wales. The map shows 6 named reservoirs and they were built to supply water to Birmingham