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Lotus cars Autumn tour of South East Wales
One of the most enjoyable aspects of the ownership experience is meeting other owners and like-minded people. After a summer of fun with the Lotus, I decided to organise an autumn event for local Lotus owners. An early Sunday morning with some breakfast for everyone to meet and chat, followed by a tour around South East Wales seemed sensible with an easy access for those travelling from further afield
I have organised several events previously, my favourite was a crazy golf tournament at the Celtic Manor Resort with the Aston Martin Owners Club. With 20 cars parked in front of the hotel and 50+ participants playing the two crazy golf courses we had a fantastic day. Followed by a private evening event in their fine dining restaurant and private cocktail bar, which finished with Taittinger champagne prizes for the golf. The next day we did a short tour of local beauty spots which were perfect for photo opportunities and linked by wonderful driving roads. So, I just needed to find the route and maps somewhere on my computer and we would be all set for the Lotus Autumn drive.
To start the day, I wanted to get people together for them to mingle and get all excited talking about the drive. I wanted a place that offers plenty of room for the cars, a relaxed vibe and great food to set us up for the morning. The 57 Bridgestreet in Usk, is possibly the finest deli and restaurant in South East Wales in my opinion, their menu is full of amazing tastes and fine ingredients and the location I was after. They generously offered to open an hour early just for our group of 20+ and put on a very warm and exclusive feeling welcome.
Visiting is a must if you are in the area checkout their website: 57 Bridge Street
57 Bridge Street – Deli, Restaurant and Bar
We spent almost an hour and a half relaxing over breakfast chatting and catching up with friends from as far afield as West Wales, Bath and Gloucester, then it was time to head off on our Drive.
There was quite a selection of Lotus cars; two Esprits, a lovely S4 and mint S3 like the one blown up in the James Bond film “for your eyes only”. There was an Elise, a beautiful Red Excel, modern Europe in Blue, gun metal grey Evora and seven Exiges which included a 360 Cup. Who knew the Exige was so popular!
Drive from Blorenge to Llandegfedd
Heading out of Usk, crossing the river, we headed North on the A472 towards Little Mill and joined the A4042 towards Abergavenny. The A4042 is a lovely road and takes in the vista of the Blorenge, Skirrid and Sugarloaf mountains. Heading up the A465 before reaching Abergavenny, we took the first exit for Llanfoist and aimed for the B4246 which ascends the back of the Blorenge Mountain. This section of our drive is an exposed road with views up toward the Brecon Beacons, simply perfect on a beautiful sunny, or in this case a tempestuous one with low clouds hanging below in the valley.
At the top is a large car park where we all gathered for photos and there are a couple of local landmarks to visit. Firstly, the Keepers Pond with a circular footpath for a 15-minute walk. Closer to the Blorenge summit, you will find a memorial to the horse Foxhunter winning Great Britain’s only gold medal in the 1952 Olympics for the team jumping equestrian event. The journey down the other side of the Blorenge, you will find ‘Big Pit’ National Coal Museum, providing fascinating tours underground to experience coal mining.
Heading back down the valley towards Pontypool, the roads open to some fast-dual carriage ways and fun round abouts. Then we took on much smaller roads, leading to our destination, was LLandegfedd Reservoir. The road over the dam has a layby perfect for some stunning photographs and a few cars stopped here, before heading to the reservoir car park.
Arriving at the upper car parks, we stopped to chat and take some photos, the backdrop of the reservoir filling the valley behind looked amazing especially as the weather was starting to lift. It is a short 100m walk down to the reservoir and the visitor centre. Apart from a great café with terrific lunches and afternoon tea, their café has a balcony, offering a sensational view of the reservoir.
Gradually, everyone started to leave and being just 10 minutes from the dual carriage way and a further 10 minutes from the M4 at Newport we could all got on our way home easily. So, if you are visiting South East Wales, I would recommend you have a go at driving this route and visit Blorenge mountain, Llandegfedd Reservior and Usk for lunch at 57 Bridge Steet.
For more information about Llandegfedd reservoir : Llandegfedd Visitor Centre