By Laura Knowles
I started ‘proper’ cycling just over a year ago, and coming from the undulating North Norfolk coast I figured I was pretty good at hills. How wrong I was!! My husband and I have taken our motorhome to beautiful Snowdonia for a week of exploring and today’s ride has left me buzzing!
It was the most varied and beautiful route I have ever done. We started out from our campsite on quiet country lanes, with the sound of regular cascading waterfalls and rivers beside us, up long steep climbs with a false summit on every turn (don’t you just hate those?!!) and then onto a super busy A road with lorries, caravans et al whizzing past us with barely a foot to spare at times
From that we thankfully turned onto a quieter road that took us through pretty villages, and eventually up the first monster hill to beat me this week (maybe on fresh legs I could have done it, but not today!) Horrible kicker at the top just when you thought it couldn’t possibly go any higher!!!
From there we turned off, onto an ancient disused road that had now become just a steep slate lined footpath – and boy was it steep!!! It was a push the bikes up job, far too sharp an incline to cycle up. We followed it all the way to the top through lush green woods, it wound up and up, then opened out at the top onto a quartz lined fire-track type road. We followed this for a while admiring the panoramic views, as we were by now pretty high up. This then turned off onto another unexpected footpath that wound along through heather lined rocks and then opened out and continued right along the edge of a huge drop with a beautiful reservoir at the bottom, and dominating jagged rock faces looming above us. The pictures just don’t do it justice (and trust me – I took loads lol)!!!
We then wound down a steep track/country lane and eventually joined the coast road which unfortunately came with a bit of a nasty headwind! Cycled all the way along until we reached Barmouth, where we dropped down and rode along the promenade all the way to the end and then onto a super cool wooden bridge/railway track which crossed over the sands to the other side of the estuary, and then joined a wonderful trail (called the Llwybr Mardach trail), which had originally been a railway that ran alongside the estuaries. It must have been a stunning train ride in its day. This last leg of our journey was blissfully flat and sheltered (thankfully as the rain had finally caught up with us!) and took us almost all the way back to the campsite; just the last 2 miles on road and we were done-diddly-done
Rest day tomorrow before we head back to my beautiful (flat!!!) homeland!