The Weekend started well with blue skies and a strong high pressure locked in for the forseeable future. We were a small group of 5 riders about to head out on a new route myself and my partner Sophie, had dreamt up over various winter evenings, pouring over maps, searching for the holy grail of multi-day point 2 points. With such a high density of classic trails around the Dyfi, picking the optimal combination which took in some of the best scenery and flowed seamlessly was the challenge. Finally a route emerged that took in everything I was hoping for and resolved into a seamless line from South to North taking in the Cambrians, the Tarren's, Cadir Idris and the Rhinogs Mountains, there would be no 'going around' the Mountains on this trip. At 120 miles with 15,000 ft of climbing/descending over 3 days, it was going to be hard! Day 1 : Aberystwyth to Machynlleth We shuttled the bikes and riders to Aberystwyth and bundled into the Vale of Rheidol Railway station, they ushered us into our reserved summer carriage which we had to ourselves, this was starting to feel like a bit of an adventure! The train pulled out of the station to whoops from the crew as we climbed up and into the steep sided Rheidol Valley. Renowned for lead mining, the hillsides were covered in tailings and scree slopes which had us all picturing Redbull Rampage lines! We jumped out of the train straight into a tricky descent into the Rheidol valley which was still wet from the previous weeks rain. Deserted trails weaving down the valley through old stands of Oak and Beech with tricky 180 degree switch backs proved enough to test all the crew. Topping out in Nant Yr Arian, we stopped for lunch at the busy centre then headed out to take in the best of Nanty before Crossing over the Cambrian uplands...
Tim and the vast Cambrian Upland Ecological Desert
The final descents took in the best of Mach 3 and Mach 2 with fast shaley rocks drops and perfect arcing turns dropping us into the Dyfi valley. The setting sun sillouted the Town against the meandering Dyfi Estuary. The final descent of the day was a fast paced steep section with multiple kickers and rollers which we doubled and tripled at some speed, we even sessioned a drop a local dog walker pointed out (everyone rides in the Valley it seems!)
The Setting Sun over the Dyfi Valley
Ross about to drop into the Tarren Ridgeliine with the Dyfi Estuary in the distance.
We finished the day in the Wynnstay Pizzeria with beers and food in us we were ready for day 2! Thanks goes to Bec @ Monbiot manor for agreeing to put up with 5 muddy riders hosing themselves down in the garden!
Day 2: Machynlleth to Dolgellau After a bit of morning Yoga with Becs, we set off...starting with a long steady climb up to the top of Tarren Y Gesail. We lost Dom along the way to freewheel failure, he rolled backed to Mach and drove to meet us at the Base of Cadir with Sophie's bike. Meanwhile at the top of Tarren Y Gesail, we dropped down a narrow ridgeline which flows all the way to the coast. Cutting off the ridge, we dropped steeply through wide arc 180 degree turns into some steep perfectly manicured local trails, after 20 mins of descending we popped out in Abergynolwyn where we met up with Dom. After a quick stop we set off for the major climb of the day...Cadir Idris!
Climb skirting Tarren Y Gesail on the way to a epic descent...
Riding from Abergynolwyn to Cadir Idris, we passed Castell
Y Bere, along a once submerged valley with picture perfect views to the Sea. Rising out of this flood plain we climbed doggedly for 2 hours to peak out on the saddle of Cadir @ 5pm. Shouldering our bikes, we climbed the final 300m to the peak for a well earned feed and media frenzy! Manboss Ross even managed to seem tired at this point which was disconcerting in itself! We waited at the top for all the walkers to clear the track and set off at 6pm for Dol! 40 mins of amazing, technical descents later we emerged grinning and whooping into Dolgellau town centre!
The pre-booked HYB bunkhouse had space for bikes, was clean and had a good shower and bath and as we found out later, real comfy beds. As Sophie had skipped this day (she had seen the elevation profile!) she brought a big Chili and rice up from Mach which we washed down with some specialty beers! Day 3: Pont Scethin Loop from Bontddu This is a classic ride in itself, however, we gave it an added twist of starting from Bont ddu which adds an epic descent into the end of the day whilst providing an incredibly scenic climb up onto the ridge-line overlooking Barmouth. We had lost Ross to work but gained Sophie for the final day, Tim, Dom and Myself, battle weary trucked on! Another day of perfect blue skies and an amazing cloud inversion over the entire Irish Sea was breath taking. This ride has two big climbs and two big descents as you cross over the ridgeline twice.
The cloud inversion rolls into the Mawddach Estuary as we climb up past it...
Finishing the ride after 3 days, 120 miles and 15000 ft of climbing we were all elated and exhausted. I can safely say, I don't think anyone else had done that particular route before and it rocked! This will now form part of the Singletrack Adventures package of rides we offer with multiple variations depending on the groups technical and fitness abilities. Check www.singletrackadventures.org.uk for more info.