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Get Stuck In...Mud Trek

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I've never been much of a skier or a mountain bike rider and I'm certainly no expert in either.
But it's not because I'm not interested. Instead, it's more to do with a lack of time and money
So when I had the chance to escape to Carmarthenshire to experience a "ski-chalet for mountain bikers", I thought it was a good time to lap up the opportunity.

The husband and wife team of Nikki and Jason are the brains behind the company Mudtrek.
The holiday is for mountain bikers of all levels, though I suspect most of the other guests are streets ahead of me in the experience stakes.

Carmarthenshire, I discovered, is a hidden gem.

I've been on the outskirts of towns in the past, but no one ever told me how beautiful it was in the Carmarthenshire countryside.

Jason, my guide, tells me that Welsh mountain biking is not as well developed as it is in Scotland.

But thankfully this is changing as bikers are discovering the advantages of the area

And I begin to realise why as soon as I start the three-hour trail with Jason taking in the hills, valleys and picturesque villages in the distance.

As beautiful as it was, the scenery was not enough to distract me from the hour-long steady uphill struggle.

But Jason was extremely patient and offered me tips on how to adjust my bike and balance to make it easier.

Pretend your bike's a horse, he said. Stay balanced and let it absorb the trail underneath you.
Hmm, it's easier said than done I think to myself. Unlike, Jason, I've not been in the army for nine years!

Eventually we make it to the top and the spectacular views of the waterfalls and distant hills is just amazing. The ride has totally been worthwhile.

After catching my breath for a few moment as drinking in my beautiful surroundings, it was time to fly downhill - the moment I was looking forward to.

The rush that was generated by clattering over rocks and mud along the tight trail with inclines at a 45-degree angle was just exhilarating.View image
This is why it's been likened to skiing I thought.

I experienced an equal mix of excitement and fear of as I raced down the hill trying to push myself to the limits.

I had a couple of hairy moment when I braked too hard and came inches from hurling myself off the bike and down into the valley.

But somehow I manage to stay upright on my bike throughout the trail and I;m very pleased with myself.

Sometimes it's good to fall, remarks Jason, because after the initial confidence drop, you build it back up again. That's when you become a good mountain biker.

I thought I would save my crashing and falling for another time, as I was shattered after that trail.

Looking down at my clothes, it certainly was a shedload of mud and fun.

Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to wake up making eye contact with sheep outside the window of the lovely homely barn conversion.

But groups of around 12 people can comfortably stay at these 'chalets' over a weekend or a longer period to make the most of their biking experience.

The building is divided into two, connected by a hidden door.

There's an open plan room with a modern kitchen and a cosy lounge fully equipped with candles and fairy lights. View image

The bedrooms are tucked under the sloping roof beams.

Meals are cooked by Nikki herself, and include a fry-up or an alternative for the more health conscious guest.

She will also prepare a packed lunch and guests can pre-order from a set dinner menu.
Jason has plans to build a jump park near the house for mountain bikers and team up with a local helicopter owner to run heli-biking excursions.

So if you would like to get stuck in the mud in Carmarthenshire for a weekend of serious mountain biking or just simply use it as a casual pastime with your friends contact Mudtrek.
• MudTrek (01267 202423, mudtrek.com) mountain bike breaks start from £95pp for two nights, including all meals and one day's guiding, based on six sharing. First Great Western (firstgreatwestern.co.uk) has trains from London Paddington to Carmarthen. For further information, visit discovercarmarthenshire.com