I am sure there are better sections of trail – I know there are. Steeper, faster, more technical etc but The Italian Job is something special I think.
This was my second visit to Nant Yr Arian and I had forgotten how much I enjoyed this trail centre. We rode the Summit trail which perfectly suited our needs to top off the weekend of riding in Snowdonia. Approx 2 hours of trail with some of the best purpose built singletrack you can ride.
Everyone talks about the Mark of Zorro (a seemingly never ending 2km descent zig zagging through the pines to the bottom of the hill), and High as a Kite (the final tree stump ridden exposed descent to the centre). Don’t get me wrong, these are both excellent trail sections – the entire trail is a great one actually – but the Italian Job is a real treat and here’s why.
Nant Yr Arian’s cafe and trail head is at 300m which makes it different to many that we are used to in South Wales for instance, where they are typically situated 200m lower. As you can see from the pic above (the view from the car park), this means you already have some height gained and Nant Yr Arian delivers you a cracking piece of singletrack and a great descent within 5 mins of the car park!
The Summit Trail as a whole is superb and yes Mark of Zorro is a real thrill but the Italian Job delivers smiles and grins straight away.
I need to go back for another go ASAP.
Here’s Mark of Zorro just for good measure!
For trail information call the Nant yr Arian visitor centre: 01970 890453
2 years have passed since I went up and down Snowdon with my bike. Notice I didn’t use the word “ride” or “rode” – there are large portions of the ascent that you simply cannot ride. I was not surprised to find that the climb hadn’t got any easier. Despite all the tourists, they haven’t quite put in an all weather all purpose track. Thank God!
Going up is exhausting as you are pushing, pedaling or carrying your bike for nearly 2 hours and it was hot last weekend! I wont complain about the weather but it was warm…
Coming down – by the time you have regained your energy at the summit its time to descend and what a descent it is!
Fast, loose and hugely rocky…
Starting at the top of the highest peak out side of the Scottish Highlands with almost 1000m of descending ahead of you feels quite special. By making your way up the mountain under your own steam, you have just earned one of the best and gnarliest descents in the UK.
No trees grow here so you are exposed to the elements (in this case sunshine) all the way down. The surface is hard, rocky and in most places loose under the wheels!
Its a challenge of nerve and skill from top to bottom and I love it.
High on top of a mountain on the edge of the Black Mountains we all stood around checking map markings, measuring distances and trying to figure out what we would do if someone had an injury at this point.
I had a brief visit to Coed Y Brenin while in North Wales recently and Tom Hutton of MTB Guiding accompanied me to the top of the Tarw Du trail to show me the new Y Slab section.
It was a really cold day; my Strava record says it was a -2 Celsius average temperature and my toes were numb for about an hour after riding.
While I have been to Coed Y Brenin a few times I had never ridden the Tarw Du, so this and a newly opened trail section was a double treat.
The Tarw Du is a Black / Severe grade trail and certainly has some obstacles that require commitment but ultimately I think its more a “Red +” as I didn’t find this any where near as daunting as say Dai Hard or 5o Shades of Black at BikePark Wales.
Its well worth a trip and Tom was great company as he knows the centre and the trails really well. His business runs guided days and full weekends in Snowdonia as well as the Lake District, Scotland and other parts of the UK.
Tom is probably best-known as a guidebook writer and the man behind MBR magazine’s pull-out route guides. I have been on a few trips with MTB Guiding and highly recommend Tom and Steph as excellent guides and superb hosts check them out on Facebook and the web in the links below:
What a great weekend that was. Popped a couple of MTB related cherries and the whole trip couldn’t have gone any smoother – for most of us anyway!
The plan started about 3 months ago after a group of friends returned buzzing from Llandegla trail centre wanting to return as soon as possible. I hadn’t been able to make the trip having only just been on a 5 day Snowdonia stay and another weekend away from family duties was deemed against the rules! So we planned another visit to Llandegla, the only Welsh trail centre I hadn’t visited, and I had my wicked way with the proceedings and included a mountain ride in Shropshire for the Sunday.