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Mountain Biking Adventures in Wales

Wed, June 04, 2014

I've recently been doing more mountain biking than I've ever done before and its been a fantastic way to discover new areas. Most of the biking has been near to home in North Wales but some a little further afield. Below is a little info on a selection of the rides.

There is a great circuit that starts in Capel Curig and heads along the old road towards Bethesda before heading up to follow the shores of Llyn Cowlyd. The track uphill is fantastic and all ridable but things change a little when you reach the top of the hill. The ground is a lot more technical for a while and I had to walk sections but the view is fantastic!

Mountain biking near Llyn Cowlyd
Fantastic views along Llyn Cowlyd

Not long after Llyn Cowlyd the track reaches a tarmacked lane and after a little uphill heads VERY steeply down towards Trefriw before continuing on a country lane to Llyn Crafnant. We had been having difficulties with Jon's chain for most of the ride and the difficulties just got worse at this point and he had to push his bike all the way to the bwlch next to Crimpiau. He wasn't even rewarded much with the downhill as he was unable to pedal!

Meeting the Carneddau Ponies whilst mountain biking in North Wales
Meeting the Carneddau ponies whilst mountain biking in North Wales.

The route isn't perfect but it is very unusual to get trail centre riding in the mountains. It would be nice to have a little less road but the circuit is varied and the views are stunning!

About a month ago we had a little tour around Wales visiting different mountain biking centres. After having ridden one of my favourite sections of downhill ever at Machynllech on the Climax Trail we headed down to Nant yr Arian which is a little further south. This was totally different. Quite a bit longer at about 40km it took in some breathtaking scenery and fairly varied riding. There were some country lanes and quite a lot of riding on farm tracks but a lot of the time as surprising as it sounds the farm tracks were fairly technical and great riding! The best parts were definitely the single track sections, with some amazing long sections through the forest.

The visitor centre at Nant yr Arian is a feeding centre for red kites and we couldn't believe it when at the end of the ride, just shortly after feeding time we rode down the hillside with red kites soaring along side us.

Nant yr Arian mountain biking
The final stretch back to the visitors centre at Nant yr Arian.

Red kite
On of the many red kites we saw whilst mountain biking at Nant yr Arian.

Last weekend we headed down to stay with a friend who lives not far from Cadair Idris. Saturday afternoon was spent on a classic mountain biking circuit just north of Barmouth, Pont Scethin. From the start point in Tal y Bont we followed country lanes and a bridle way all the way up to the remote Pont Scethin. Pont is the Welsh word for bridge. The riding was mostly easy but near to the bridge things got much more technical with large stones to balance across. From here the track began to head steeply uphill and I needed to walk some of the more technical sections. From this point on the track was deeply rutted which made riding difficult in places. Unfortunately lots of scrambling bikes have been using the route and really churning the ground up.

Downhill after pont scethin
The start of the downhill on the Pont Scethin mountain bike ride.

Even with the ruts the down hill in the photo above was great. It followed a long sweeping ridge line for what seemed like ages with fantastic views over towards Cadair Idris, where we would be riding the next day.

The day after we woke to more cloud in the sky but at least it wasn't raining. The ride up cadair was way easier than I expected. We headed up the only bridle way and a nice gentle angle and only needed to push when we reached the bwlch at the top. Almost the whole way down was ridable, we just needed to walk the top 50m. I have wanted to ride Cadair for ages and it did not disappoint. A great weekend!

Mountain biking on Cadair Idris
Mountain biking on Cadair Idris

Biking on Cader Idris
Biking on Cadair Idris