Route: Bala - Llanuwchllyn - Pont Rhyd-sarn - Brithdir - Dolgellau - Coed-y-Brenin - Aber Geirw - Dolhendre - LLanuwchllyn - Bala
Start map ref: OS Landranger Sheet 125-929 362.
OS maps: Landranger 124 & 125.
Distance: 49 miles.
Ascent: 6311 ft.
Suitable for: Strong and fit riders
This ride follows part of the old Military Road that leads to Trawsfynydd. It goes through some wild and beautiful terrain, leaving the Arenig Mountains on your right, before dropping through the Coed-y-Brenin Forest following the Mawddach valley to sea level at Dolgellau. Much of the route is unfenced, so there could well be the added pleasure of trying to second guess the intentions of addle-brained sheep, whose principal aim in life seems to be to commit suicide and to take a cyclist with them!
There are plenty of long climbs with a number of steep sections, but only one long and severe one as you leave Dolgellau. Though much of the ride is on remote, unclassified roads, there is a section on the A494 and a fairly brief one on the A470.
Refreshment stops are usually available in Dolgellau, but are reduced in number on a Sunday, so you may want to take a picnic. There are no other cafes or pubs until you get back to Bala.
Remember, you will be going into an area where the weather is unpredictable, so no matter how settled it appears at Bala, take waterproofs, food and plenty of drink with you.
R = Right
L = Left
X = Cross roads
SP = Signpost(ed)
Red = A more than usually dangerous hazard.
00.0 Turn L out of car park. No SP.
00.7 Turn R onto B4403 and follow this road, and the Bala Lake Railway, all the way along the lake side to Llanuwchllyn. Go through this village to the A494.
06.0 Turn R SP Bala and soon turn L into narrow road. No SP.
06.1 Turn R @ cross roads over bridge and immediate L.
In the next few miles there is a series of gates across the road-usually shut-and some are at the bottom of some steep hills; if you are enveloped in cloud or mist these gates can be an embarrassment if you are traveling fast, so beware!
07.5 Turn L @ T-junction immediately after crossing stream, SP Trawsfynydd.
15.1 Keep L over bridge, SP Cycle Route 13
16.7 Turn L @ T junction SP Abergeirw.
18.9 Very sharp blind Z bend on narrow road!
22.6 Keep L and cross another bridge, SP Dolgellau. Follow signs to Dolgellau until
24.9 Turn R steeply downhill, SP Tyn-y-Groes and Cycle Routes 8 & 21.
25.2 Turn L at bottom of steep hill, with picnic site immediately on L. This is well hidden, and therefore easily missed. The entrance is just wide enough to get a bike through.
27.6 Turn R @ T-junction SP Cycle Routes 8 & 21.
27.8 Turn L @ T-junction, Cycle Routes 8 & 21.
28.0 Turn L @ T-junction with A470. (Busy road)
28.6 Take L fork SP Dolgellau.
29.4 Turn R over bridge into Dolgellau, SP Town Centre.
For a convenient café, which is also open on Sundays during the summer, turn R immediately after the bridge towards a car park. The café, along with public toilets, is on your Left hand side. There are plenty of other cafes in Dolgellau, but most are closed on a Sunday
29.5 Keep L.
29.6 Turn L into Arran Road.
29.7 Turn R uphill into Fron Serth for the longest and steepest climb on the ride.
31.2 Turn L by Tel. No SP.
31.8 Turn L @ T-junction on to A470 (Busy road) and soon
31.9 Turn sharply R on to B4416. SP Brithdir.
32.8 Turn R on a blind L hand bend; effectively, you are going Straight On. SP Cycle Route 21.
35.0 Turn R immediately after the second streetlight fixed to a telegraph pole, an unusual appliance in the depths of the country.
This turn is easy to miss as it is narrow, on a sharp RH bend, you are going downhill and probably travelling fast. Once you have made the turn you will meet another series of gates and cattle grids, but with luck you should avoid sheep.
37.4 Turn R on to A494. No SP.
43.3 Turn R on to B4403 SP Llangower and retrace your outward route, back to the car park in Bala.49.4 Finish of ride in car park.
Photos of the Ride
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