Guest contributor: John Rampton on exploring the ‘Evo Triangle’ and other great Welsh roads in a 996TT
The weather reports leading up to our trip to Wales were not good- rain forecast for the Friday and Saturday of our trip, only to return home on Sunday.
We left Milton Keynes and made the two hour drive to Welshpool, where we had arranged to stay on Friday and Saturday night. After a nice evening with friends and a bit more research on routes, we hit the sack. I hardly slept, like a child before Christmas- I had gotten a taste of the Turbo on the way up to Wales, and I wanted more.
After an early rise and a light breakfast we hit the road, the Sat Nav already set up with an itinerary file. We let TomTom lead the way. The first thing I noticed was how incredibly fast the Turbo is. My friend and co-pilot had the 996 C4S before, which was fast, but with its incredible torque this felt about twice as fast (you hear a whoosh as it sucks heavily through the kidney-shaped air intakes on each side of the car). The second thing is that with all this power and increased downforce I would have expected a rough ride, but in actual fact it was very smooth- smoother than the C4S I had driven before.
The Sat Nav takes us north via Oswestry, then west towards Snowdonia- we’ve taken a longer route as we’ve heard there are some good roads around this part of England and into Wales. We’re headed for the Horseshoe Pass, the first of many roads that we are to drive. It has great views from the top, and just over the hill are more great views and a handy pub with a great car park overlooking the valley.
Next stop is the ‘Evo Triangle’- the place Evo Magazine uses for its testing and photos. When we arrive at the triangle (A5, A543, and B4501), it’s easy to see why they use this road for testing- it’s fantastic. And with wide open space on either side of the road, visibility is great- you can see anything coming from miles away, making the road very easy to drive.
We then head for a Shell filling station in Betws-y-coed that we know sells higher octane fuel (and that Evo also uses) before heading for the Llanberis Pass up the A4086 (I recommend stopping for lunch in Llanberis at Pete’s Eats). We follow the road to Caernarfon, where we wash the filthy Turbo.
We then follow the A4085 past the other side of Snowdon and onto the A498 to take us back to the filling station in Betws, where we fuel up before heading off on the A470 down to Dolgellau. Once we get to Dolgellau we have the choice to follow the roads back to Bala and start heading towards our base, but it’s only 2 PM so we decide to follow the coast. We’re glad we did, as we end up taking in some fantastic scenery.
We then head north again past Dolgellau and back up the A470 to Trawsfynydd, and then take the A4212 towards Bala, taking in Llyn Celyn (which is another good place to stop for photos).
The B4391 is another great road leading to the A490 that’s worthy of a mention.
This was a really enjoyable time, and we didn’t notice the effect that ten hours of driving had until we stopped and it had a chance to catch up with us.
Thanks to Bruce Bourke allowing me to share in driving duties of his car on some of the best roads ever.
Words and images: John Rampton