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Cafall, Cwmcarn - first impressions.

jimothy78jimothy78 Posts: 1,407
edited February 2014 in Routes
Work got cancelled today, so took the opportunity to check out the new Cwncarn XC loop, "Cafall".

For those of you that don't know yet, it's on the opposite hill from the Twrch Trail, shares the first section of climb (from lower carpark to Forest Drive Toll Booth) then splits and heads up the hill on the left, whilst Twrch continues up the valley, then onto the hills to the right.

After the split, there's a lot of cimbing, at times very steep, but much less technical than Twrch. The climb gains height quite abruptly, and is hard graft, although it is broken up by the odd little flattish section and one or two mini downs. After swooping down through a little open valley disected by a brook (watch out for the stones just after the little wooden bridge- snakebite!) it's back into the trees for more natural climbing (including one really muddy section, that will make you glad you brought your winter tyres). After that , there a fun swoopy descent, another little climb and then you're into the main descent. It's not full-tilt downhill all the way, though, but a more thoughtful, natural kind of thing, and broken up a bit by some slower sections and road crossings.

Overall, i thought it was a great trail, and a lot of fun. It's almost entirely natural bench-cut singletrack, and makes a really refreshing change from the hard-pack-surfaced, berm-roller-berm type trails that there have been so many of recently. In many places it feels just like the sort of rider-built trails you find in your local woods. Only the very last section looks at all out of place, as it seems to have been surfaced with that tarmac-looking crushed slate/shale stuff that's been popping up elsewhere recently. The only thing that slightly spoils it is the sheer number of road crossings, and the pinch-stiles which they necessitate to keep motorcrossers off the trail - there's a few points where they really upset the flow.

Posts

  • welshkevwelshkev Posts: 9,690
    nice one jim,

    I was going to go this afternoon but work has been full on. i'll hopefully get there tomorrow :)
  • jimothy78jimothy78 Posts: 1,407
    edited February 2014
    Should have said before that the stats are (according to Strava - take with pinch of salt):

    Cafall - 14.4km, 765m climbing
    Twrch - 12.7km, 590m climbing

    EDIT: official figure for Twrch is apparently 300m :?: so Kev's climb figure of 524m for Cafall seems a lot more feasible. - see below
  • Brilliant, heading over this weekend to give it a blast!
  • welshkevwelshkev Posts: 9,690
    I've got 14.8 and 524 climbing for cafall lol

    It was bloody tough!!! A sloppy mudfest in places. It'll be great in the summer (or when the weather is at least half decent) the descents are great fun, the climbs are long.

    If you're looking for a manicured trail, this is definitely not for you. It had the feeling of the type of trail made be locals in the woods. Descents are nice and flowy with a few bits to catch you out :)

    A great addition to cwmcarn and a twrch-carfall loop would be an epic.
  • jimothy78jimothy78 Posts: 1,407
    welshkev wrote:
    I've got 14.8 and 524 climbing for cafall lol

    yeah, like i said, Strava's a bit (actually, a lot) hit-and-miss, but until the powers-that-be get their act together and publish proper stats, it's all we have to go on. I think both the above figures are way out, actually - having checked, the published height gain for Twrch is only 300m, so yours sounds a lot more believable for Cafall.
    If you're looking for a manicured trail, this is definitely not for you. It had the feeling of the type of trail made be locals in the woods.

    yep - exactly why I loved it so much. I think part of it was relief, as well; after so many recent projects have been overly artificial, it's great to find one that's nice and natural. I know people are going to complain about the mud, but mud is part of mountain biking at the end of the day :D
    A great addition to cwmcarn and a twrch-carfall loop would be an epic.
    Exactly my thinking, but can't work out which order would be best to tackle them in....
  • welshkevwelshkev Posts: 9,690
    jimothy78 wrote:
    [
    A great addition to cwmcarn and a twrch-carfall loop would be an epic.
    Exactly my thinking, but can't work out which order would be best to tackle them in....

    from my place I can come down from the top of the moors, join on to carfall near the top, do those descents, have a cuppa in the café and do a loop of the twrch, back up the fireroad and home. be about 40/45km I reckon.

    one for the summer though :lol:
  • Stevo_666Stevo_666 Posts: 44,072
    Spoke to Darrell from Cwmdown - he rode it and first impressions are really good, just a bit muddy at present so hard work on the climbs. Pity about the uplift delays on the new DH track though - probably going to be June before they get a van up that side of the valley now :(
    Whippet
    Bruiser
    Panzer
    Commuter

    "I spent most of my money on birds, booze and fast cars: the rest of it I just squandered." [George Best]
  • Whats wrong with the uplift route? Can you ride the DH on that side yet?

    Muddy? yep.
  • Stevo_666Stevo_666 Posts: 44,072
    Whats wrong with the uplift route? Can you ride the DH on that side yet?

    Muddy? yep.
    The new DH is open to ride but Cwmdown can't go up that way in the van yet. According to Darrell the council/FC haven't sorted the drainage on the access route and until that's done they can't use it - when I asked him why itwas going to take so long he shrugged his shoulders and said 'we're dealing with the public sector....'

    So it's push up time for now.
    Whippet
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    Panzer
    Commuter

    "I spent most of my money on birds, booze and fast cars: the rest of it I just squandered." [George Best]
  • jimothy78jimothy78 Posts: 1,407
    Re-visited Cafall today, and it's fair to say that the continued wet weather and the huge amount of traffic is taking its toll already. Although the drier parts of the trail are holding up well, those that were damp on Wednesday are now sticky and begining to cut up, and those parts that were wet are now borderline unrideable. On the worst affected section, most people's tyres were carrying so much mud that they looked like fat bikes, and in a few cases, wheels were simply locking up due to mud wedged between the tyre and frame/forks.

    The above is not a complaint, however, just a statement of fact, and leads me to a request:

    For anyone thinking of riding Cafall in the near future - please don't bother if you are going to stop at the end of every section to whine and moan about:
    a) The amount of mud - it's a natural, unsurfaced, trail in Wales, at the end of the wettest winter on record.
    b) The trail being busy - it's a new, eagerly awaited trail and it's only been open a few days; of course it's going to be busy, you dumbass.
  • My photo from saturday...
    20140222_114012_zpsgwkzubeu.jpg

    Tbh, I think cognation need to close the trail for a bit to let it dry out!
  • welshkevwelshkev Posts: 9,690
    Stevo 666 wrote:
    Whats wrong with the uplift route? Can you ride the DH on that side yet?

    Muddy? yep.
    The new DH is open to ride but Cwmdown can't go up that way in the van yet. According to Darrell the council/FC haven't sorted the drainage on the access route and until that's done they can't use it - when I asked him why itwas going to take so long he shrugged his shoulders and said 'we're dealing with the public sector....'

    So it's push up time for now.

    the entry to the new dh trail was all taped off when I rode past it the other day. and I thought it said on the cognation page it was shut...I know people who are riding it though.
  • benpinnickbenpinnick Posts: 4,148
    jimothy78 wrote:
    Re-visited Cafall today, and it's fair to say that the continued wet weather and the huge amount of traffic is taking its toll already. Although the drier parts of the trail are holding up well, those that were damp on Wednesday are now sticky and begining to cut up, and those parts that were wet are now borderline unrideable. On the worst affected section, most people's tyres were carrying so much mud that they looked like fat bikes, and in a few cases, wheels were simply locking up due to mud wedged between the tyre and frame/forks.

    The above is not a complaint, however, just a statement of fact, and leads me to a request:

    For anyone thinking of riding Cafall in the near future - please don't bother if you are going to stop at the end of every section to whine and moan about:
    a) The amount of mud - it's a natural, unsurfaced, trail in Wales, at the end of the wettest winter on record.
    b) The trail being busy - it's a new, eagerly awaited trail and it's only been open a few days; of course it's going to be busy, you dumbass.

    Thanks for the information! Much better to have sensible comment like this than wingeing.

    FWIW I think the new Cymcarn DH opens the first Sunday in May... Already booked ;)

    @Welshkev - Im going to be heading your way sometime in the next 2 weeks. Fancy a ride on a bird... ?
    A Flock of Birds
    + some other bikes.
  • welshkevwelshkev Posts: 9,690
    benpinnick wrote:

    Thanks for the information! Much better to have sensible comment like this than wingeing.

    this



    @Welshkev - Im going to be heading your way sometime in the next 2 weeks. Fancy a ride on a bird... ?

    and YES :D

    just let me know :)
  • Stevo_666Stevo_666 Posts: 44,072
    edited February 2014
    welshkev wrote:
    Stevo 666 wrote:
    Whats wrong with the uplift route? Can you ride the DH on that side yet?

    Muddy? yep.
    The new DH is open to ride but Cwmdown can't go up that way in the van yet. According to Darrell the council/FC haven't sorted the drainage on the access route and until that's done they can't use it - when I asked him why itwas going to take so long he shrugged his shoulders and said 'we're dealing with the public sector....'

    So it's push up time for now.

    the entry to the new dh trail was all taped off when I rode past it the other day. and I thought it said on the cognation page it was shut...I know people who are riding it though.
    Sure I read on the Cwmdown Facebook page that the new DH was open from the 19th of this month - clearly not. Will have another gander and see what they're saying about the uplift.

    [Edit: they updated last week to say the new DH track was being kept closed as the weather meant it was not in good condition - another few weeks apparently.]
    Whippet
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    Panzer
    Commuter

    "I spent most of my money on birds, booze and fast cars: the rest of it I just squandered." [George Best]
  • welshkev wrote:
    benpinnick wrote:

    Thanks for the information! Much better to have sensible comment like this than wingeing.

    this



    @Welshkev - Im going to be heading your way sometime in the next 2 weeks. Fancy a ride on a bird... ?

    and YES :D

    just let me know :)

    Oo ooo oo... let me know when, wouldnt mind swinging my leg over a new Bird and getting her filthy!
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