Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Wales and Back

As regular readers will know Son-of-Furtheron is residing at Aberystwyth uni these days. So we needed to get him back home for Christmas but with the weather...

I originally planned to go Saturday but weather in Wales on Friday and at our place on Saturday made that a non-starter. I thought I'd wait until Monday. But Sunday morning I watched the weather and thought "I better go today I think".

So 2 hours to dig out our drive, car and road - we'd had about 4 inches I suppose. I left about 11:30 and got through the slush to the motorway. All went well until I got to the M1 - first crash. Wasn't too long there. Then into the roadworks and frankly aweful road conditions near Newport Pagnell there was just packed ice that wasn't shifting. Two lanes only as the contraflow was shut and then a break down. Through that and carry on.

My biggest problem was the washers gave up working about Shrewsbury. So I had to stop and clean the screen from time to time. Into Wales and through Newtown ok - I noted some B&B with vacancies thinking "If I can't make it I'll come back to here".

Off over the mountains, pitch black, very cold and very focusing. I got into Aberystwyth about 6:30 I think. It was flipping cold about -8°C. We went and had a meal watched some telly and my son graciously gave up his bed for me and he slept on the sofa.

Monday up early and on the road at just after 8am as we knew more snow coming into Wales and also in the evening in Kent so wanted to beat that home. Over the mountains in the sun - very pretty but -16°C!!! And still sheep on the hills!!! But the road well cleared and slip free - well done Ceredigion council.

M54 - freezing fog but also the slip roads were terrible and vehicles joining were just spreading very slippery slush all over the road - that led to a lorry jackknifed at one.

All well again until the M1 - about 20 miles of slow traffic, again the surface was terrible, there is little point gritting if traffic is going 5 mph and stopping every two yards, all it does is pack the ice down. Another crash blah blah... M25 another crash... blah blah... Still Dartford Crossing was free moving. We got home about 4 - three hours later we had another dump of an inch or so.

Have to say though - getting about in England is getting a joke these days, weather or not intervening - we have an infrastructure that barely copes at the best of times once we have a problem, crash, snow, roadworks it just fails. Here is a radical thought, when you have a 20 mile queue on the motorway why don't they just stop people joining? Surely that would get it cleared quicker? Every junction just seems to pour more oil on the troubled water to me.

Still all home for Christmas now - which is the only thing that really matters.


  1. Even the simplest journey can turn into a Top Gear challenge with all this white stuff around.

    Have a good Christmas F.


  2. A few years back we tried to hoof home from North Wales via the A5, unfortunately this was during the early 00s fuel strikes. The motorways were blocked by lorry drivers - so all traffic not stuck in nightmare jams, squeezed itself through these full-to-bursting A roads…12 hours of brain-frying driving…

    The infrastructure of roads and rails here seems to be as frail and out-dated as Greek plumbing. Anyway, glad it's all good for you.
    Have a rocking Christmas and New Year F/Ron..

  3. Interesting how things are the same the world over. Weather here in sunny California is anything but. A solid week of record breaking rain, with the usual flooding, mudslides, road destruction, and miserable traffic. You see, when it rains in California, people freak out as if they've never seen rain before, and quite naturally, promptly wreck their car on the freeway. California is already famous for its traffic jammed freeways, but throw in a little bit of mildly inclement weather, and it's the Apocalypse.