Cycling North Wales September 2010

Route difficulty calculated using cycalc

 

IMG_1105

We started our holiday at Julie’s parents house. Julie’s dad, Graham, joined us for the first 8-miles.

 

Day-1 was from Wolverhampton to The Premier Inn at Harmers Hill, Shrewsbury: 38-miles with 1730ft accent, grade hard-B, a gentle start to the holiday. As with all of our cycling holidays, we seek out the small quiet roads. Our route took us through: Bishops Wood, Wheaton Aston, Newport, Crudgington, High Ercall, Hadnall and ending at Harmer Hill.

 

View 4 Sept 10 in a larger map

 

 

IMG_1106

Sandy, Julie’s mum, enthusiastically waved us off!

 

IMG_1108

The first day was the only time (honestly) that we were able to stop mid-route for refreshments

 

IMG_1112

Couldn’t stop for long though, back on the trail we passed some unusual houses

 

IMG_1111

A house growing out of a sandstone crag

 

After our night at the Premier Inn, we set off for Wales. Day-2 was 44-miles with 3300ft accent, grade hard-C(61W+0). Today’s route took us through: Loppington, Lyneal, Spunhill, Tetchill, Dudleston, into Wales at Halton, Blaenau Uchaf, Rhos-Pengwern, Berwyn, Rhewl, Carrog and finally Cowen.

 


View Day-2: 44-miles, grade D-, 1485kCal in a larger map

 

 

 

IMG_1116

This was a hard day after the previous easy day: there were numerous hills at 25%, as here at Fron Uchaf!

 

IMG_1117ab

With so much climbing we were awarded with some great views! Here looking north towards Llangollen

 

IMG_1119

We were lucky to have great weather, considering how the rest of the country was in rain

 

IMG_1123

It was a very tiring day, and we were glad to get to our hotel in Corwen

 

Day-3 was the hardest day of the holiday: 39-miles with 3460ft accent, grade hard-C(65W+0), from Corwen to Portmeirion. Our route took us through: Cynwyd, Llandderfel, Bala, Rhyd-uchaf, past Rhaeadr y Cwm gorge, Llan Ffestiniog, past Llyn Mair, Penrhyndeudraeth and finally Portmeirion.

 


View Day-3: 39-miles, grade D, 1525kCal in a larger map

 

 

IMG_1128

With lots more climbing, each day was getting slightly harder

 

IMG_1132

On route for Snowdonia

 

IMG_1144

The Ffestiniog narrow-gauge railway

 

IMG_1147

Until, finally, Portmeirion and our accommodation (we stayed in Trinity, one of the buildings of the Village) for the next two nights

 

IMG_1150

IMG_1149

The apartment, Trinity, at Portmeirion was very nice

 

IMG_1152

IMG_1153

Portmeirion (famous for being the location where The Prisoner was filmed) is essentially one big Folly. Started in the 1920’s, construction took decades to complete. It is now a very comfortable hotel and other apartments in the Village. Ever since enjoying The Prisoner in 1967 I have wanted to visit this place.

 

IMG_1163ab

The site is, in fact, very small, but the architecture, layout and the use of forced perspective creates an impression of a much larger village

 

IMG_1188ab

Although the Village is open to day visitors from 0930 to 1530, outside these times the Village was left to the residents

 

IMG_1173

IMG_1176

A couple of backdrops often used in filming The Prisoner. The right-hand image shows No.6’s accommodation in The Prisoner

 

It was an excellent way to spend our rest-day. The restaurants (both the main hotel and The Castle) served excellent cuisine. The staff were all very nice and helpful – we cannot recommend Portmeirion more, it is an excellent place to spend a couple of days!

 

Reluctantly we had to leave Portmeirion and continue our cycling holiday: 33-mile with 3640ft accent, grade Ex4(75W+7), to Bala; and more steep hills! Our route took us through: by train to Tan-y-bwlch, Gellilydan, Trawsfynydd, into the hills following Afon Gain and Afon Lliw, Llanuwchllyn and finally to Bala.

 


View Day-4: 33-miles, grade D-, 1332kCal in a larger map

 

 

IMG_1229

We began our day by using the Ffestiniog railway. We weren’t sure if they took bicycles, but we need not have worried, the people running the railway are all volunteers and very enthusiastic – they got our bikes on!

 

IMG_1226

We couldn’t help but smile at the reference to ‘engine driver’

 

IMG_1231

Another ambition satisfied

 

IMG_1234

We arrive at Tanybwlch and head-off on the second half of our cycling holiday

 

IMG_1237

IMG_1239

More lovely weather as we head back into the Snowdonia National Park, here cycling towards Affon Gain

 

IMG_1242

IMG_1244

This day had some great, if hard, cycling. Stunning scenery on quiet roads: the bridge over Affon Gain

 

IMG_1245

IMG_1246

3-miles at 10%+, over the ridge to Afon Lliw: and Julie was worried about her fitness!

 

IMG_1250

IMG_1249

After 10% up, what better than 10% down, following Afon Lliw

 

IMG_1252ab

Lake Bala, Wales’s largest natural lake

 

IMG_1255

And finally our accommodation in Bala: The White Lion

 

The following day: 35-miles with 3670ft accent, grade Ex3(73W+6), from Bala to Berriew. Our route took us through: Cwm Hirnant, past Llyn Efyrnwy (north shore), Llanwddyn, Pontrobert, Rhosfawr, Castle Caereinion and finally to Berriew.

 


View Day-5: 35-miles, grade D-, 1410kCal in a larger map

 

 

IMG_1260

IMG_1262

Continuing the previous day’s theme: more steep hills in spectacular scenery, as we ascend Cwm Hirnant

 

IMG_1264

We were so lucky with the weather!

 

IMG_1268

With the weather so good we had time to loll

 

IMG_1270

IMG_1272

The reservoir Llyn Efyrnwy, constructed in the 19th century, was built with more than just utility in mind. Only the Victorians would build a valve tower to look like a gothic castle!

 

IMG_1274ab

The quiet roads continued, as did the great scenery

 

IMG_1289ab

Well away from Snowdonia now, the landscape becomes one of Big Sky

 

IMG_1293

And finally, our hotel for the night in the very cute village of Berriew

 

IMG_1296

IMG_1297b

And what better way to finish a great cycling day!

 

Our penultimate day started with rain: had our luck finally broken. The sixth cycling day was 37-miles with 3800ft accent, grade Ex3(72W+5), from Berriew to Wenlock Edge. Our route took us through: over the border at Stockton, Rorrington, Shelve, a tea-break at The Bog, past Stitt Hill on the north road, Picklescott, Leebotwood, Cardington and up onto Wenlock Edge.

 


View Day-6: 37-miles, grade C+, 1330kCal in a larger map

 

 

IMG_1303

The heavy rain lasted only half-an-hour, most of the day was intermittent drizzle

 

IMG_1304

IMG_1306

Friendly lamas

 

IMG_1307

And back into England

 

IMG_1314

On route to Wenlock Edge…

 

We spent the night at the Wenlock Edge Inn, and Julie’s parents joined us for a meal

 

The last day: a very easy 23-miles with 1450ft accent, grade mild-B, from Wenlock Edge back to Wolverhaption, via Much Wenlock and Iron Bridge.

 


View Day-7: 23-miles, grade B-, 840kCal in a larger map

 

 

IMG_1317

Much Wenlock (what a name) has numerous Elizabethan buildings, this one a little worse for wear

 

IMG_1318

And down to Iron Bridge

 

IMG_1323

And finally, full circle, 263-miles and 22800ft later: overall holiday grade average-C(65W).

 

Far and away this is the hardest cycling holiday we have ever done, and will ever likely do!

 

 

Return to Home Page