Cycling North Wales September 2010

Route difficulty calculated using cycalc

 

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: 39-miles, grade average-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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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 grade mild-D: one of our four demanding days. 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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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 grade average-D 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

 

 

With lots more climbing, today was to be the hardest day of the holiday!

 

On route for Snowdonia…

 

The Ffestiniog narrow-gauge railway…

 

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

 

The apartment, Trinity, at Portmeirion was very nice…

 

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.

 

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…

 

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

 

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 grade mild-D 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

 

 

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!

 

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

 

Another ambition satisfied…

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Lake Bala, Wales’s largest natural lake…

 

And finally our accommodation in Bala: The White Lion…

 

The following day, yet another grade mild-D, 35-miles 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

 

 

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

 

We were so lucky with the weather!

 

With the weather so good we had time to loll…

 

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!

 

The quiet roads continued, as did the great scenery…

 

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

 

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

 

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 grade hard-C 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

 

 

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

 

Friendly lamas…

 

And back into England…

 

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 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

 

 

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

 

And down to Iron Bridge…

 

And finally, full circle, 260-miles and 26300ft later!

 

 

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