11 intrepid riders set off for the Bala weekend (Margaret, John, Brian S-M, Reha, Martin, Anne, Steve D, Steve H, Mark, David & Fran). We were blessed with really good weather, beautiful/dramatic scenery, good food, good company & lots of laughs – what more could you want? Oh, and just a bit of cycling thrown in.
We were escorted out to Four Crosses by some of the Friday Chip-Runners (the black Rottweiler got us in order for the photo & was saying “sausages” to get us all smiling).
On approach to Old Barn Café we crossed the Lake Vrynwy dam.
A quick lunch at the Old Barn Café in Llanwddyn, then it was a Cruisers photo opportunity in front of the dam.
Then it was anti-clockwise ride up the west side of Lake Vyrnwy before the climb up Rhiw Hirnant reaching an elevation of 488m. The descent the other side was spectacular.
We then wound our way down through the beautiful Cwm Hirnant into the outskirts of Bala.
Friday evening was rounded off with a lovely meal at Y Cyfnod Café & Bistro on the high street in Bala. Many thanks to to the committee for the generous contribution towards this.
On Saturday we split up into several groups.
The most hardy (or idiotic some would say), ventured off initially around Bala Lake to Llanuwchlyn.
Then it was up over the old military road towards Trawsfynydd, where we experienced the spectacular wild scenery of the Arenig mountains,
reaching an elevation of 531m at the top:-
At one point in the lower hills, John could be seen getting out of the saddle (something he doesn’t often do) at which point Brian & Reha decided this called for a bit of walking (only 40 yards though) – looking back at the signpost we could see why – it had ramped up to 17%!!!.
Thereafter there was even more hills as we wound our way through Coed-Y-Brenin Forest for a lunch stop at The Royal Ship (in Dolgellau). We decided to forego the Mawddach Trail to Barmouth & back, as we were a little behind schedule (& it was flat anyway). On the way back, a seemingly innoccuous road (Fron Serth) out of Dolgellau towards Tabor, proved a very strenuous climb.
Meanwhile the others had set off in two separate groups doing a combination of around Bala Lake & up the B4401 alongside the River Dee through Llandrillo/Cynwyd to Corwen, before returning on the minor road on the opposite side of the River Dee & back through Llandderfel. Margaret, Martin, Anne & Steve D stopped at Rhug Estate Organic Farm Shop & Café, but unfortunately it was pretty busy being a Saturday. The Cruisers stopped for lunch at The Blue Lion in Cynwyd. The Cruisers documented their start at the same spot as John, Brian and Reha. Margaret, Martin, Anne and Steve D must have been riding “under cover” as no pictures were available.
The Cruisers just had to stop to get pictures of Bala Lake Railway & the delightful Alice.
Sunday’s homeward journey had a leisurely start up the B4391 out of Bala, but it didn’t last long, as the road ramps up around the hairpin & the climbing continues for nearly 5 miles up to the top of Milltir Cerrig at 486m. However, there was a cracking descent of nearly 4 miles down into Llangynog.
It was lunch at The Green Inn, Llangedwyn, before splitting up & going our separate ways (mostly just after Melverley). We believe Martin & Anne (& probably Steve D) were the only ones to get home without being caught in the downpour, but never mind, we had cracking weather the whole weekend thankfully, so we could put up with a bit of rain just before home.
The Cruisers, being the Cruisers, had to have a pub stop at The Royal Hill to finish the ride/weekend off properly (don’t know why Steve H has got an M&S shopping bag though!).
As everyone enjoyed it, maybe we’ll do the same again next year or maybe we’ll do something different?