I recently spent just shy of a week with my family in a beautiful cottage in the area of the UK known as The Marches. A mountainous area straddling the English Welsh border The Marches is rolling hills, moorland, pasture and meadows. The scenery changes dramatically at a moments notice.
It goes without saying that Dicki and I took our mountain bikes and each morning would have a few hours exploring the bridle-ways that criss-cross the region. The off road riding in The Marches is a marked contrast to that of the Lake District. Whilst the scenery is beautiful the riding is generally far from technical making it an ideal area to get out into the hills for some pleasant riding rather than the hours of carrying common in The Lakes. A nice middle ground between the technical Lake District and the leisurely Marches is the Peak District, an area we will be re-visiting soon.
Heading west in a car one day we stumbled across the Elan Valley. Wow! I felt a twinge of excitement as we drove into an area of the UK that to me was a compact low altitude version of some of the high altitude areas of the Himalayas and Andes that I so love exploring. Anyone wishing to play at being a high altitude adventurer with only a weekend to spare could do a lot worse that pack some camping gear and get lost in the area around the Elan Valley. Of course for the true high altitude experience you would need to block one nostril in an attempt to reduce oxygen by 50%.
Suffice to say that I thoroughly recommend the Marches as an area ideal for hiking or mountain biking. I will leave you now with a few images of the region. Toodle-pip.
THE ELAN VALLEY