The Power of Three
Apparently ‘three’ is the magic number and indeed many great things do come in threes: Lions on the shirt; Charlie’s Angels; Wine, Women and Song; London, Paris and New York; Father Ted, Father Dougal and Father Jack; the original Star Wars films; Playstations; the Sugababes; and Snap, Crackle and Pop – to name but a few. On a bright July morning I left the quiet Welsh village of Ruthin in search of another great trio. A set of roads many petrolheads will have heard of but few lucky enough to have driven. I was in North Wales headed for the Denbigh Moors, home to the Evo triangle, so called because of its admiration from the writers at Evo magazine (high praise indeed). This triple crown of roads could well feature as a backdrop in various car publications on a monthly basis.
My journey west took in the B5105, a road that I can only describe as the Evo triangle’s fluffer. Through the dappled sunlight I sat back and let this lovely road prepare me for what lay ahead. I blissfully cruised towards my destination and could already feel that today was going to be a good day. Needless to say, I arrived suitably alert and ready for action! A quick splash from the petrol station in Cerrigydrudion and I was ready.
The Evo triangle is made up of bits of road from the A5, A543 and B4501, each as individual as the last. The result is a 20 mile geometric jaunt across the rolling moorland. The A5 starts like a massive pit straight but a very pleasant one at that. Instead of the team garages you have a few houses, the odd farm and quite a bit of bugger all. Halfway along the road wakes up and realises it’s not an American freeway and pulls out a few little wiggles to remind you what the round thing in your hand is for and sooner than you think you’ve hit Pentrefoelas and it’s time to turn it clockwise and aim for the A543.
Through the trees the tarmac makes a dash for higher ground, quickly exchanging the overhanging canopy and unforgiving granite walls for the vast bleak moorland and tons of sky. Within a mile of the turn off the scenery should be a blur. Seven miles into the Evo triangle things start to get really good as numerous quick straights and long lazy cambered turns unfold beautifully in front of your wheels. The road gets busy trying to squirm away from you into the distance but the visibility is so good it can’t hide for long enough to throw any great surprises your way. It veers off into the distance, wiggling downhill, ducking behind a few craggy mounds then up again arrowing off into the distance like a life-size Scaletrix track. After countless straights, sweeps, swoops and climbs you’ll forget you’re on a public road and think you’re in Disney World for driving enthusiasts. Stay alert though, if there’s one thing that will remind you that you’re in the middle of nowhere (as it nearly did me) is a quick ‘hello’ with the local livestock which frequent these fantastic Welsh roads.
The threat of sheep death appears to abate in the final third as you accompany the B4501 into the woods. While the surroundings change, becoming greener and less rugged, the sweeping turns and undulating terrain thankfully don’t. The third section is every bit as engrossing as the second and the views from your window, although blurred, are just as impressive. As I past Llyn Brenig reservoir, a guilty pleasure swept over me. I was playing around on a public road. Roads that were meant for getting from ‘A’ to ‘B’ and not for going from ‘A’ buggering off in a loop and back round to ‘A’ again and yet here I was. Like a child I was half expecting it to be taken away from me, as punishment until I’d learnt my lesson. But of course it wasn’t and I carried on under its spell. As the third section pierces its way through the hinterland, its trajectory manages to make you feel more like a fighter pilot than a motorist. Unfortunately, like all good things, it came to an end and my dogfight was over. I was back where I started at the Cerrigydrudion petrol station. As I parked for a moment I realised that although I’d gone nowhere fast, I’d definitely found happiness here in the bleak and mostly deserted area of moorland. The saying tries to make you believe that two’s company and three’s a crowd but take it from the Evo boys, this threesome gets on like a 458 Italia on fire.