From the moment you arrive at Wild Wales, Hangingheld Farm - you know this is gonna be a special kinda weekend. The approach into Radnorshire, Mid Wales starts to set the scene as the landscape ramps up and becomes more textured and picturesque by the mile. Turn off the main drag and follow a long windy track up, up & up...... as you enter the other worldly Wild Wales Basecamp. Thanks to a chance encounter on a beach 2 years earlier when we first met our hosts Hamish, Nell and the family - Hangingheld Farm has become Wild Wales' spiritual home. The Wilson family's passion, warm welcome and the exceptionally beautiful setting makes this a very special place and the perfect venue for an unforgettable experience. Walking down the steep slope into camp - you're greeted by the utterly dreamy scene - complete with yurts, bell tents, campfires and a river running through it.....and the festival hasn't even started yet!
Thanks to all the amazing people who joined us for a Wild Wales Gravel Festival
and for making it such a super special and uniquely memorable weekend.
Friday night is for pitching camp, getting to know neighbours in the field kitchen and around communal cooking fires.
Weather on Saturday was sunny & bright - truly exceptional for September - casting a lovely glow on the surrounding mountains and valleys as everyone rolled out onto a choice of 75km, 45km or 30km routes. in this part of Wales distance takes on a whole other meaning.
Hamish and Olly from Gravel Union - plotting and plotting the sublime routes
“We’ve stopped talking about rides in km's as sometimes it can take all day just to ride 40kms here....You can ride almost entirely off-road for days on end” says Hamish."
Catering to a variety of challenges, abilities and distances - all routes were designed to maximise the mountain and gravel riding experience AND include the most stunning scenery on the planet. Being mid-Wales it's most defo
"Smiles not miles"
And that was in evidence as people started to roll back into basecamp after a day out on the trails. It was a mixed bag of terrain with a rather a lot of climbing - rewarded by the stunning views from the multiple mountain-tops.
The afternoon and evening was for catching up and hearing all about the rides - around the campfires, the apfel strudel, followed by a Hangingheld special - the stone-baked pizza!
And to top it all - it couldn't be more fitting to end the perfect day out on the trails - listening the to the enigmatic sounds of Angus, Forbes and George folk group - around the campfire. Simply stunning!
Sunday's ride has now been affectionally named the "Wind down waterfall bimble". Although anything but a bimble this Sunday special takes in even more stunning scenery, crazy climbs and scary, gnarly descents. The ride - with a difference - is skilfully led by the Hamish clan. As they know the terrain like the back of their hands - there is no place for technology al-la Garmin or Wahoo....! It is just the best ride ever - and perfect rounding off to another Wild Wales!
So - what is so Wild about Wales - is it ...
the stunning mid-Wales setting with its unique and spectacular scenery
the super-special Hangingheld Farm
our amazing hosts - Hamish, Nell, Angus and Forbes (& George)
extraordinarily beautiful and challenging routes
the stunning scenery
the communal facilities and fireside vibes
opportunity to meet and spend time with other lovely like-minded folk
our fabulous and awesomely generous partners and sponsors
most of all - the people who come along!
You - as we have - may conclude it's all of that - which all comes together - to make the magic which is Wild Wales.
We at Wild Cycles want to thank all you lovely people for coming along and joining us for a really unique event where we aim to focus as much on the of-the-bike aspects as we do on the actual riding.
Thanks to our amazing hosts, partners, volunteers and sponsors whose generous support has made a truly special adventure possible and even more funnerer!
- Hamish, Nell, Angus, Forbes and George
- Paramedics, Trevor and Shelley
- Vincenzo Mettler
- Moloko Cycling
- Gravel Union
- UK Gravel Co
- Rab Outdoor
- Nick Porter
- Julian Hardy
- stohk brews
ps We've sampled a good few gravel events in the UK and have come to the conclusion that there's a big gap - to be filled with the type of event which open to a wider audience, is focused on creating a community vibe and where the emphasis is 100% on meeting, sharing time and having a good ole fun-time.
Riding in beautiful places is clearly key and the stunning landscape surrounding Wild Wales certainly provides the perfect setting for a totally unforgettable and incredible ride. However it’s the pre- and post-ride community, the fire-side vibes and chats that make experiences like Wild Wales super special. That is what we strive for and we really love. It is what Wild Cycles was built on!