4x4 Adventures Ltd Taunton, Somerset
Winter Wales Laning and Social Weekend
3rd March 19
Words By Tim Jones & Mark Morgan, Pictures by Mark Morgan
Lead Vehicles Tim Jones/Scott Copping, Steve Gittins/Mark Morgan

Well its early March, so due to popular demand, once again the team from 4x4 Adventures head to Mid Wales, checking on old routes while testing out a few new ones for the annual Mid Wales Laning and Social Weekend. This annual trip is designed to be a social experience for all ages and abilities, bringing people together for a 3 course evening meal in the 4 star Metropole Hotel in Llandrindod Wells, followed by a full day of off-road driving on the Sunday, taking on a series of greenlanes that are capable of being driven in standard road going 4x4s.

After a fool’s spring, with about 10 days of fine, dry weather, the lanes were in great shape, with a serious lack of water compared to some previous years. However, as is typical for Wales, storm Freya was on its way in, promising wet and windy weather, although not due to hit until late Sunday afternoon.

Following a meet up in the bar on Saturday evening, with the 4x4 enthusiasts who were taking part and the team leading the event, we all had a lovely meal with lots of chat and a briefing as what was happening the following day. People had come from far and wide, South Devon, Yorkshire and Kent being just a few. Some had arrived much earlier in the day and had spent time relaxing in the hotel spa, or else exploring the local area.

On Sunday morning a grey, damp car park greeted us after breakfast for the days briefing. As in previous years we had a full complement of 10 vehicles, split into 2 groups, each with a lead vehicle from 4x4 Adventures. There were 8 Landrover Defenders in both 90 and 110 versions, from a lovely early 90 Turbo diesel, to a one of the last 110 Adventures. Also from the Land Rover stable was a modified Discovery which looked like it would have no trouble negotiating the lanes we had planned for the day. The final vehicle was an 'as new' Totoya Hilux double cab with an immaculate Camo Wrap, which has been undertaking off-road driver training With James from 4x4 Adventures at the Devon centre last month.

Each group would be doing a different route with plenty of great lanes to explore throughout the Elan Valley and the areas both north and south of Llandindod, as well as the old favourite of Strata Florida. So it was, following the briefing, the two teams set off, some going North to do the lanes up there first, and then loop down south, whilst the other team went South first heading north during the day.

The weather was a little too inclement to get many good long ranging photos as storm Freya was heading towards our location, so at times it was bit wet and overcast, however all the lanes we used have a stone/rock surface so were environmentally friendly with no damage being done by the passage of the vehicles. The sustainability of the tracks driven is the main prerequisite when planning our route, closely followed by their suitability to be driven in standard 4x4s without the risk of damage. To this end, all routes are driven in the days prior to our trip to ensure there are no unplanned surprises on the day of our trip.

Considering the distances involved, with approximately 110 miles covered by both groups, of which perhaps 25% were off road, it is amazing to note that both groups pulled back into the car park of the Metropole within about 2 minutes of each other. Several members of the group took the opportunity to grab a coffee and a bite to eat before heading off for the drive home, while others, with further to travel got rolling as soon as they could.

Another great weekend. Thanks to all who came along and took part.

Some pictures from the weekend