The very best driving roads in Wales
From Snowdonia to Pembrokeshire, we hunt down Wales's very finest driving roads in a BAC Mono
Posted: 21 Mar 2014
Wales's empty quarter
We're going to run the border: the B4355 shadows it all the way to Knighton - Offa's Dyke off to one side, GlyndŴr's Way the other. Very Welsh. It looks good on the map, but as we climb from Dolfor and my hopes rise as trees and fields thin to moorland, they're suddenly dashed. I have no throttle pedal. It has literally vanished. Coasting along, my foot finds it, slack and unsprung, at the end of the footwell. Ah. Ten minutes later, having spoken to some men at BAC who apologised for the three solid days it had just spent on a track, I'm headfirst down the footwell, diagnosing a snapped throttle cable and the impossibility of onwards progress. I'm gutted. And, for a slightly panicky few minutes, stuck fast in a carbon tomb.
It's hours later. The BAC has had to be carted away on a truck, but we still have wheels. It ain't over. B4355 and B4357 take us through Evenjobb to Radnor. Rally country. But even that fails to raise our spirits, the hedgerow-lined farm 'n' field roads hereabouts are tight with little visibility.
Still border-hugging, we cut off the B4594 to Hay-on-Wye, then track south along the tiny Gospel Pass, past Lord Hereford's Knob and other local, er, landmarks. The scenery picks up here, but the road is narrow and after a few elevated miles falls back into the trees. The 11 miles to Abergavenny take an age, and we're pining for our little car. God knows what it must have been like for other drivers as this little firework came grinding and gnawing up behind them, but its absence is hurting. Dual carriageways minimise the pain: A40 and A449 lead quickly to M4 and home.
It's a fizzle of a finish, but we expected nothing else - the good roads and the good scenery aren't to be found around Newport. To get your driving kicks in Wales, you've got to go further afield. Get a road atlas, mind the sheep and aim for the bits beyond the trees.