Taffia 2018 Fish & Chip Run – The Full Story

After posting a quick Drone shot of the start of the Fish & Chip run I’ve gone back to give a longer post on the day, read on…

YouTube

For those of you that are impatient and don’t like reading my posts… how about a YouTube video…

The Main Event

The Taffia Fish & Chip run is organised by the Welsh Area group of the Lotus7 enthusiasts club (www.lotus7.club). It tries to run every year (weather permitting) from The Piercefield pub, just outside of Chepstow, to the Welsh seaside town of Aberdovey – where everyone crams into Shelley’s, a small Fish & Chip shop, to partake of their wares and then to drive home again. It’s all just a big excuse to dash across the Welsh countryside and enjoy the driving and the views.

This year’s event took place on May 19th with probably perfect weather conditions. Perhaps the only downside to the weather being so nice was that there were plenty of other people on the roads – but as long as you didn’t want to break any timing records for the run then the busy roads didn’t really matter.

Getting to the Start

The kickoff in the Piercefield car-park was from 8:30 in the morning for bacon baps and coffee and leaving the car park at around 10. We decided for an 8:30 set off from Bristol with both Joel and Mike being eager and early.

Joel was my co-driver for the day… a very reasonable £25 admin charge to put him on my policy. Mike is a local (about 300m from me) Caterham owner with a bright green 2017 360R.

Ready to get going

As we got closer to Chepstow we passed or collected another 5 or 6 Sevens on the roads into the pub. Clearly we weren’t going to be on our own.

By the time we got there at just after 9 we found there was already about 60 cars in the carpark.

Drone shot of car park
Panaroma of the car park
Mike and his 360R
Inside the Purplemeanie

We had a wander round the carpark, registered ourselves inside the pub and I took some video and drone footage. All while chatting to the other participants.

We had a pep talk from one of the Welsh Area Rep from the club and then we all set off.

From the Piercefield to Llanwrthwl

Joel took the first leg of the jaunt from the Pub up to Llanwrthwl which was to be our fuel and coffee stop, loosely half way to the seaside.

We almost immediately got caught up in a traffic jam that formed behind a group of cyclists heading out of Chepstow. We must have passed 50 cyclists over the course of the day – great to see so many people out enjoying the weather!

Then it was through Usk, south of Abergavenny, through Brecon and over the Brecon Beacons.

The full route plan is at the bottom of this post if you’re interested so I won’t go over all of that now. It’s a very varied first leg though, small quiet villages, large towns, single track bridges and dual carriageways. It’s all in there except for perhaps a Motorway and a ford.

Here’s a map of the route, I think I’ve got it right…

Taffia 2018 Fish and Chip Run Routemap

The best part of this leg is across the Black Mountain section that all the car magazines and Top Gear have used in the past.

Shot of the Black Mountain section (I think)

Buzzard Bomber

As we crossed the black mountains we could see buzzards flying over head. There really were a lot of them. Then as we rounded a corner (Joel driving still) a buzzard took off from a tree in our peripheral vision. As we continued along the road it was clearly heading towards us, not intentionally I don’t think. Until we were clearly on a collision course and it then had to suddenly veer off.

The cameras on the car caught it taking off all the way up to when it decided to abort it’s path.

From the Black Mountains we followed the route below. One interesting point was as we navigated the bridge at Coed-yr-ynys (at least I think that’s where it was) and saw a guy out in his Ariel Atom wearing a dashing Spider Man liveried helmet. He must have wondered what the hell was happening as dozens of Sevens passed him the other direction.

Spiderman in an Ariel Atom

When we got to the roadside fuel and coffee stop in Llanwrthwl it seems that just about every other car on the run had got there too (for those interested here’s a link to the pronunciation of this town). I like to think I can have a fair bash at Welsh place names but I completely screwed it up in my video voiceover.

It had taken us just over two hours to get to this point… this run was turning out to be a slow one. We had been told that we should have been at Aberdovey by 12:30… but that clearly wasn’t going to happen.

Roadside Garage Fuel and Coffee Stop (Llanwrthwl)

From Llanwrthwl to Aberdovey

We stopped for about 20 minutes at the garage and then headed out with just us in front and Mike behind – with me driving this time.

It wasn’t long though before we came up behind another group and we were travelling in a larger convoy again.

Perhaps the best part of the whole run is the section which I think runs from Staylittle to Machynlleth.

Traversing the hillside

Aberdovey

When we finally got to Aberdovey it was about a 5 minute run through the town to the seafront. We just about all got into the pay-and-dislpay carpark I think – though the parking toll machine was causing problems for people – some who had only got cards and the machine wasn’t of this era.

In all, including the fuel stop, it took about 4 hours to get to Aberdovey. Getting there just before 2PM. That’s quite a difference to the advertised 12:30 arrival that we’d been told, but hey, what the heck… that was more time behind the wheel.

I can only think the extra time was due to the number of cars – we got a bit bunched up in places – and to the number of other people out on the roads. There was also a bit of a queue for fuel and coffee at the pit stop that probably added a bit of time to some people’s journey.

Shelley’s Fish and Chip shop were clearly expecting us – but perhaps not quite the numbers that turned up. All the tables inside had “Reserved for Lotus7 Club” written on them, so they knew we were coming. However, we were queuing out of the back of the shop and into the side alley-way when we got there. We had about a 10 minute wait to get served as I think a new batch of chips was coming through. No point in getting upset about these things and it was a great chance to have a chat with the people in the queue next to us. The staff were friendly when we got to be served and the chips were great. Shelley’s is highly recommended.

Shelley’s Fish and Chip Shop (image from TripAdvisor)

With 95 cars arriving at Aberdovey and probably a ratio of perhaps something like 1.5 people per car, the fish and chip shop probably didn’t know what hit it 🙂

We sat and ate our fish and chips on the sea front looking out over the beach… what’s not to like about British seaside towns when the weather’s fine?

Fish and chips on the steps by the beach
Aberdovey Beach

The Home Run

We left Aberdovey at about half past two and essentially reversed our route of the morning until we got to Abergavenny.

Not long after leaving Aberdovey we ran into (almost literally) a sheep.  Sheep jumping out in front of you is a constant threat on these Welsh runs and today we found a particularly suicidal one…

At least this sheep had the good sense not to run right into us!

We stopped again at the same petrol station – we hadn’t planned to do that and had been looking for somewhere to stop for a few miles, it just so happened that we ended up there again.

Once we got to Abergavenny we just took the sign posts for home. That got us down onto the M4 motorway and it was a “quick” blast back.

I’m not too sure of when we exactly got back to Bristol. We dropped Mike off at his place on the way through and from the timestamp on the picture below we probably got home about 5:45. So about 3 hours 15 to get back.

Summary

From other reports I’ve seen it seems that in the end 86 cars left The Piercefield Pub and were joined by another at the fuel stop. Then 8 more cars rendezvous’ed with us later on – making a grand total of 95 cars for the run. Amazing! And a record!

All in all an absolutely fantastic day out. One of those days to remember for a very long time.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

YouTube

If you’re interested in seeing some of the highlights then there’s a YouTube video available here:

That video is about 15 minutes and took a lot of work to get it down to something that won’t bore the hind legs off a donkey – as they say. If there’s demand then I could put together a longer video with more sections that I’d missed if people are interested. Let me know if you’d like to see that happen.

There’ll be another more in-depth post about how the YouTube video came together and can be found here.

Here’s some Links from Lotus7.club Website in case you’re looking for other info on the run – you may need to be a member to see them though.

The Route Text

Road Book for the Taffia Chip Run 2018

I’ve taken  the following route plan from the Lotus7.club forums, I’ve pasted them here in case you fancy taking a similar trip, but be warned… I think some of the directions are a little sketchy in places and you should expect to get lost once in a while if you follow them – but all part of the fun of it!

  1. Turn RIGHT out of pub car park onto A466, follow the road past racecourse to roundabout. Continue straight ahead.
  2. At next roundabout take second exit, stay on A466
  3. After 200m turn RIGHT onto B4235 Signposted Usk
  4. Follow B4235 until the junction of the A472. This is a dual carriageway; cross into the centre reservation and turn RIGHT into Usk
  5. Follow A472 past the 30 mph speed camera into Usk
  6. In the centre of town , At the big black and white Three Salmons Hotel turn RIGHT onto the B4598, sign posted Abergavenny
  7. Continue along this road for 6.5 ish miles
  8. At T-Junction turn LEFT signposted Abergavenny B4598
  9. Continue along this road for 5 ish miles
  10. CAUTION – Complicated bit coming up!!
  11. At big roundabout, drive ahead and under bridge, continue 200m to second roundabout.
  12. At second roundabout Take 2nd exit onto dual carridgeway A465 signposted Merthyr Tydfil A465
  13. Continue along A465 (for a total of 9.5 miles), at first roundabout continue along A465
  14. At second roundabout take 3rd exit and continue along A465 for 2miles to the top of the hill……CAUTION – Major road works on A465
  15. Take slip road onto A4281 signposted Ebbw Vale
  16. After 400 yards take the slip road signposted B4560
  17. At T junction turn Right onto B4560 signposted Llangynidr
  18. Continue along B4560. This is the EVO, Autocar, TopGear“Black Mountain” test road. (Enjoy the view)
  19. At T-Junction turn LEFT signposted Brecon
  20. After 1 mile turn / bear RIGHT signposted Bwlch
  21. Follow road across weak narrow bridge (CAUTION blind entry & exit)
  22. At T junction turn LEFT signposted Brecon A40
  23. Continue along this road for 7 miles ish
  24. At roundabout take the 2nd exit signposted Brecon B4601
  25. Continue along this road into town – fuel stop here!
  26. After the Petrol Station Turn RIGHT at the mini roundabout.
  27. Continue past Morrison’s supermarket on the left to traffic lights at cross roads junction at the bottom of the hill & turn RIGHT signposted Upper Chapel B4520
  28. After 100m turn LEFT up Priory Hill signposted Upper Chapel
  29. Continue along this road until you enter the village of Upper Chapel☺, top road!
  30. Just after Upper Chapel at top of hill turn left onto B4519 (sign posted Garth B4519)
  31. Follow road across the military ranges (don’t worry about the redflags. CAUTION do not deviate from the B4519 & beware of low flying tanks)
  32. At T junction with A483 turn Left
  33. Continue along A483 until you enter Beulah
  34. Just before Trout Inn and garage Turn Right onto B4358, follow road. Continue all the way towards Builth Wells.
  35. At T junction turn Left onto A470 signposted Rhayader (A470)
  36. Stop at Halt Café for refreshments / weight reduction / grief from the co-driver …. Plus fuel stop here!
  37. Turn LEFT out of café back onto A470, follow to Rhayader.
  38. At crossroads in the middle of Rhayader go straight across onto A470
  39. Continue along A470 for loads of miles until you come to a roundabout.
  40. At roundabout take 2nd exit sign posted Llanidloes A470
  41. Continue along A470 until you reach second roundabout
  42. At roundabout take 1st exit onto B4518 signposted Llyn Clywedog / Staylittle
  43. At next round about take 2nd exit onto B4518 signposted Llyn Clywedog Staylittle
  44. After 100m turn Left onto B4518 signposted Staylittle
  45. Continue along B4518 to Staylittle
  46. Pass through Staylittle, after 1 mile turn left Signposted Dylife / Machynlleth CAUTION – very narrow blind bridge in the village of Forge just before Machynlleth
  47. Continue along this great road to Machynlleth.
  48. At T junction with A489 turn left
  49. Continue through town. At T junction turn right onto A487 sign posted Dolgellau.
  50. Cross over river bridge and turn left onto A493 Signposted Aberdyfi
  51. We will gather on the seafront in the carpark near the fish and chip shop – He is expecting us.
  52. BE CAREFULL of pedestrians, they may damage your nose cone if you hit one!!!!

The route home is the reverse of the morning run.

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