Buy the OS Route Map and instructions for this route

It takes a lot of climbing to get up to the crest of the Gap, but once there, you can take a breather in this incredibly atmospheric high mountain pass, and reflect on how good it feels to be out in real mountains — before pointing your front wheel down into the natural amphitheatre of Cwm Cynwyn, and bracing yourself for a short but very technical rodeo ride. This ancient road provides a long but predictable climb, and an equally long, but somewhat less predictable descent.
But there’s more to the ride than the Gap Road. What about the long steady pull up the Brynore Tramroad? Well over 400m of ascent in the opening 8km; and views back across the Talybont Reservoir. Or the rough and tumble duplex drop to Dolygaer? Not a classic like the Gap, but it still has plenty of high spots, especially the stony slabs at about half distance.
And then there’s the superb scenery. The forest-shrouded reservoirs of Pontsticill have more than a touch of Canada about them and the infant Taf Fechan river provides a few wonderful cascades — if you fancy a break before the big climb. From the Nueadd Reservoirs, the mountains look formidable; a roller-coaster ridge that towers high above you. And then from Cwm Cynwyn back to where you’ve just been, it’s hard to see how any track could find its way through all those crags.
The final treat is saved for the end, when you can gaze back from the quiet lanes that wind their way back to Talybont, and think to yourself: “I’ve just been up there”.