A487, Fishguard, UK
This Great Road, originally written by Glen Smale, was featured in issue 73 of Total 911.
The Welsh people are a proud bunch; you just have to attend a rugby match between Cardiff and Swansea to feel the passion. But it is this very sense of pride that runs deep in the waters of this principality which is the very attraction of this remote and somewhat untouched part of the British Isles.
Pick any day in Wales, wild and windy or beautifully sunny (the latter are quite rare), and the countryside and scenery will appeal to different folk in different ways.
However there is no mistaking which direction the prevailing winds come from, as driving along the A487 in either a southerly or northerly direction will quickly show you that the winds come in off the Irish Sea, as all the shrubs and trees lean away from the sea in a characteristically pointed fashion.
Starting down in Fishguard on the Pembrokeshire coast, the A487 climbs up out of the town steeply and winds its way northwards along the coast through several popular holiday resorts to the town of Cardigan, which lies on the estuary of the River Teifi.
It quickly becomes apparent that the quality of the road surface has not suffered as much under the heavy traffic loads experienced in other parts of the country.
The serpentine nature of the coastal route makes this an ideal driving road as the route winds up hill and down dale, offering the enthusiastic driver ample opportunity to enjoy the comfort and performance of a 911.
Having crossed the Pembrokeshire border into Ceredigion (old Cardiganshire) you approach New Quay, a favourite with beach-lovers and those looking for a quiet weekend getaway. You need to be aware that chevrons need to be taken seriously in Wales as there are more twists and turns here than in other parts of the UK.
And then there is always the possibility that you might come up behind a tractor or other farm vehicle around a sharp bend as this is a rich agricultural area, and it is not uncommon to find sheep crossing the road, having escaped from a field.
LATITUDE: N51:59:41 W4:58:38 LENGTH OF DRIVE: 93.4 miles POINTS OF INTEREST: FOOD AND ACCOMMODATION: Gellifawr Hotel, Restaurant & Cottages, Fishguard Ty Mawr Mansion Country House, Ceredigion
Fishguard and Goodwick Harbour
National Library Of Wales, Aberystwyth
The Conrah Hotel, Aberystwyth
LATITUDE: N51:59:41 W4:58:38
LENGTH OF DRIVE: 93.4 miles
POINTS OF INTEREST:
FOOD AND ACCOMMODATION:
Gellifawr Hotel, Restaurant & Cottages, Fishguard
Ty Mawr Mansion Country House, Ceredigion
I have travelled this road many times, but on a recent trip to Aberystwyth I joined the A487 at Aberaeron from the A482 Lampeter road. This route from the coast inland towards Lampeter on the A482 is worth a quick look if you have the time, as you will encounter little traffic and the most challenging corners and mouth-watering views in the land.
If you are making a weekend of it, a night at the 5-star Ty Mawr Mansion Country House is worth the diversion, and you can even take in a show at the Theatre Felinfach or the kite feeding near Talsarn.
Back on the A487, the road makes its way towards the university town of Aberystwyth. This town is like a self-contained republic due to its isolated position, making it a stopover location packed with opportunity.
Besides the attraction of the town itself, Aberystwyth boasts the famous Electric Cliff Railway, the longest of its kind in Britain, which offers outstanding panoramic views and walks along coastal paths.
Aberystwyth Castle lies in ruins today, but it still offers a fascinating glimpse into the Iron Age past of this great town.
Along almost the entire length of this route, the A487 is a demanding stretch of road, switching from picturesque and scenic drives to challenging sections where steep descents feed into sharp corners that curl around and up again.
The landscape changes continuously where one minute one is riding atop the cliffs that offer views out to Cardigan Bay or the Irish Sea, depending on your location, and the next you are twisting your way down a steep 14% hill that requires some careful planning.
From Aberystwyth the A487 winds its way to Dolgellau located in beautiful Snowdonia, while inland the road takes the adventurous driver over the Cambrian mountain passes and through forested areas of outstanding beauty.
Wherever your 911 takes you along the west coast, you will be sure to find some excellent driving roads, but be sure to include a stretch of the A487 – it will stick in you memory for a long time.