A Blast in the Brecons
It all started when the son-in-law asked for yet another favour.
“Sir”, he said, “ would you please do me the honour of writing an RPM blog on your recent driving trip to the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons in mid-Wales?”
Well, how could I refuse?
This lad, who goes by the name of Greig, just happens to be RPM’s sales director.
He also employs me from time to time take on the onerous task of picking up and delivering a variety of air and water-cooled Porkers throughout the country. Listen, someone’s got to do it!
As a journalist for more than 40 years, you discover early on you need a good “peg” to hang a story. I quickly found mine.
Here it is.
North and Mid Wales is probably the best place in the whole of the UK to go for a drive in a Porsche. I should know as I drive enough of them.
Appearances may be deceptive and maybe we were just lucky, but the land of Eisteddfod and the hulking great rugby player does not appear to be nearly as badly afflicted by that awful curse of English and Scottish roads, the spine and suspension-jarring pothole.
I can honestly say that in over 300 miles of purely Welsh driving in Mid Wales, mainly in Powys, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire, I did not come across a single pothole on a country road. The road surface in the towns was also in a different league.
There may have been the odd surface depression, but nothing to spoil the ride in my cherished 40th Anniversary Edition 996. (A top Greig RPM recommendation by the way, which I haven’t yet come to regret and hopefully never will.)
That road trip was the first time I had really opened up the silver beast for any length of time.
And the ease of handling, the characteristic light touch for such untrammelled power from the rear wheels – 345bhp in the X51 factory upgrade AE Carrera 2 model, one of the final 996 ever made, made it a joy to be alive on such deserted, smooth Welsh roads.
A similar road trip to North Wales a year ago which centred on Bala, and various roads in and around the infamous “Evo Triangle” in my previous Porker, a 987 Cayman S Design Edition, was also a fabulous experience.
So don’t listen to people who bypass Wales as a holiday destination. The scenery is stunning; the locals extremely welcoming, and our laid-back hotel just outside Brecon couldn’t be faulted in terms of value, comfort and hospitality.
As a Scotsman who’d never really had many dealings with the Welsh over the years and had virtually ignored the Principality, there are plenty of great driving roads out there.
Maybe the Welsh Tourist Board should make a lot more noise about it and launch a campaign to sell the idea of specific driving breaks for decent cars (no caravans and camper vans please!)
Go find those roads – you won’t be disappointed. Promise.
Written by Ian Boyne