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Road Improvements


This is my fourth year of caravanning and I remember the stress that I suffered in the early days, it was all to do with towing. I had a nicely powered BMW at the time and was used to effortless cruising with hardly the need to exercise my left arm. Suddenly I was having to change gear more frequently – how irritating!

I remember my first trip to a small caravan site near Ffostrasol in Cardiganshire and it involved driving through Llandyssul, it was narrow and to me at that time the gaps seemed impossible but with great surprise and relief I emerged out the other end without a scathe on anyone. Shortly afterwards the Welsh Assembly completed the Llandyssyl by-pass, possibly someone had brought their attention to the havoc I caused and they implored the contractors to get a move on.

If no-one else values the benefit of that by-pass, I certainly do.

But there were other snarl spots which I stressed about on my various journeys up north. I enjoy the north, you see I was born on Anglesey and lived my first ten years there. My father was the rector of Llanallgo, near Moelfre, and he was offered a living in Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire, seeing as he was the only breadwinner we all thought it was best to go with him. Lucky man! So going up north to me is like going home.

Once the Llandyssul by-pass was built there were only four nasty spots, one was just south of Machynlleth near Ynys Hir where the situation could be tight even without a caravan, meeting a bus or an articulated lorry would have meant reversing and, although I was getting used to it I was uncomfortable performing to an audience. But the Welsh Assembly must have been aware of my anxieties and for the last two years they have been busy with improvements, today – no problem!

The stretch between Cross Foxes and Dolgellau was relatively manageable and I could easily cope with that but, probably just to be on the safe side, they’re working on widening and improving there too! And all for me!

The next bit was between Dolgellau and Trawsfynydd, as you come into Coed y Brenin, that was narrow with a nasty, low stone wall on the left as you were travelling south. Guess what! They’ve been working on that too!

Once past that you have a lovely straight and wide bit of road, a great favourite with weekend motor cyclists and a cash cow for North Wales police, and that sort of lulled you into a false sense of security because then you had to get through busy Portmadoc. I always thought the best plan was to park up and wait for a Mansell Davies milk tanker (Wales’ own Eddie Stobart) and tuck in behind him. Even that’s unnecessary now, guess what – they’ve built a by-pass!

With all those improvements I thought my causes for concern had all been removed but no, it seems that the Welsh Assembly is recognising the fact that I am not getting any younger (well, who is?) and they have identified a stretch that could cause me difficulty in the future. They have started work to improve a narrow but navigable stretch between Ffostrasol and the A487coast road, a stretch that had never caused me any problems – until today. You’ve been very good to read this far but bear with me and I shall tell you what happened. It’s Saturday morning, about 8.30 and most sensible people are snugly tucked under the goose-down, my rig and I however are on a journey and we come upon the improvements, there are traffic lights, they are green but just as we get close they turn red and I dutifully stop but looking in my wing mirror I see that there is insufficient room for even a small car to get past us. I wait and wait hoping the lights change but they don’t and I take the chance and cross them putting my foot down so that we can get clear quickly. All seems to be going ok until I see a posse of cars approaching, they have the right to be there and I don’t and I have visions of spending the rest of the morning reversing back to where we should be. But do you know, the Gods must have been on my side. At the point that we met there was a bit where I could just tuck in and there we stopped, raising my hand in apology to a trio of drivers who judging by their lack of aggression, believed that the problem was caused by malfunctioning traffic lights.

Over the past four years I have really appreciated the Welsh Assembly’s diligence in easing my journey from south to north but “Come on Lads, I’m ok now, I can cope. I’ll let you know when I need help again!”



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