If 27km and less than 1,000m of ascent doesn’t sound like your idea of a hard route, you’ve obviously never tackled the wild valleys of northern Snowdonia before. Believe us, with riding this technical, even the fittest riders will be puffing by the end. Good job it starts and finishes next to an excellent café.
The opening stage is fairly straightforward; and apart from some wonderful views over some of Wales’s highest mountains, it shows few signs of the challenges yet to come. An easy climb leads to a diverted bridleway – a short push; and then a tricky section of single track wends its way around the mountainside offering a tricky but user-friendly warm-up for the tougher fare still to come. Some confusing navigation will lead eventually to the remote pass above Llyn Colwyd, where all the effort suddenly becomes worthwhile. The views are magnificent, but that’s not what you came here for – just look at that sinuous ribbon of seriously tricky singletrack running along the western shores. The crux comes early, and few will ride the whole thing. Then it’s just mountain bike heaven. Think Ullswater, but a thousand times more wild.
The price of all this fun is a long descent on the road – ouch; but it’s actually quite good fun, with enough twists and turns to catch out anyone looking for a rest. Forest roads sneak easily past Llyn Crafnant, before a long and unforgiving climb gains a steep-sided vantage point high above Capel Curig. Then it’s rough and tumble singletrack all the way to the finish.
Note: this is a fairly pioneering route with some awkward navigation in places and also some very technical riding. Allow plenty of time and take a 1:25 000 map with you in case you need to bail out at any stage.
You have been warned!