The Sea, Valleys & Mountains

North Wales has everything a motorcyclist could desire. Incredible landscapes that rise from the sea to tower over some of the best roads in the UK. This was my first chance to take a trip where I wouldn't be coming home that same night, there was a lot to learn and I couldn't wait.

Day 1

I’m quite used to camping, I’ve done it all my life. This though, was the first time I was doing it alone, on a motorcycle.

A three day trip to North Wales, taken in the middle of June seemed like the perfect way to introduce myself to the world of moto camping. I’d spend the first night somewhere I had been often, the very popular campsite at Shell Island, the second night would be at Beddgelert Campsite, where I had not been before.

To my surprise, one of the hardest parts of moto camping came before I actually set off. Pairing down my camping gear to a level where I could fit it all on a motorbike was quite the challenge. I still took too much stuff, with my bike looking very overloaded as I set off from my house, I ventured off into North Wales.

I was worried in the beginning about how the bike would handle with all the luggage strapped to the back of it, but I’d needn’t have been concerned. The T120 took the extra weight with ease and the only time I noticed anything was when stopping, as a little more care was needed not to unbalance the bike when stationary.

I know from experience that putting up a tent at the end of a day, when you’re tired, is an awful chore. So I was glad to have chosen a Two Second Tent from Decathlon. It doesn’t pack down particularly small, but this downside is traded off against the extreme ease of erecting it, it takes literally minutes. And for that, I was extremely thankful. Within half and hour of arriving, my little campsite was fully operational and I enjoyed a BBQ, a beer, a book and a sunset over the sea. A truly great way to end the first day.

Day 2

The next morning I awoke to a little bit of rain, but it soon stopped and once I was packed away and on the road again, the weather cleared up and a great day’s riding followed. I chose the road south down the A487 in the hope of seeing some jets flying down the Mach Loop, which I didn’t. As you come to the bottom of the valley, branching off towards Tywyn and then following the road south along the coast back towards Machynlleth is a real hidden gem, at times reminding me of a smaller version of the Amalfi Coast.

From there I took a meandering route up through Coed Y Brenin Forest Park, eventually ending up in Beddgelert Campsite for my second nights stay. I really enjoyed this site, I managed to get a space next to the river and set up camp quickly. There’s a pizzeria on site so one was ordered, beers bought and wood set up on my packable fire pit by the water. Just perfect. Apart from the midges, of which there were billions. Thankfully the smoke from the fire seemed to keep most of them from eating me alive until I could retreat into the safety of the tent.

The final day I spent the morning riding over the Pen-Y-Pass and taking in the sights of Mount Snowden, after which I made my way home.

It was a short trip, but I feel I learned a lot about moto camping, the main lesson being that I need to be more ruthless in cutting down on what I take. I’m looking forward to this coming spring when I intend on making a few more, much longer adventures.