North Wales Trip 2015

While I did some video editing of the Forest of Dean ride at the weekend I decided to have a clean up of my video files and deleted loads of old footage. But not before I put some clips together from our trip to Snowdonia last year.

It will be remembered for my first bike climb of Snowdon and the fantastic Pont Scethin route (as well as riding the great trails at Coed Y Brenin).

Hope you like Welsh music and terrible singing!

Oh and if you are wondering why I used Vimeo the other day and I ave resorted to Youtube today – well its because there is a 500MB a week limit and I was too impatient to wait until next week to load this to the web.  I may put it on Vimeo next week. Why? Cos I don’t think I will have anything else to upload.

The tunes in the video may not play if you are reading on a mobile device, due to copyrights etc on Youtube.  The PinkBike link  below should work for you:
http://www.pinkbike.com/video/435316/

Classic Welsh Routes – Pont Scethin

When the words “classic” and “Welsh” feature in a mountain bike route description you know you are guaranteed two things – stunning views and big climbs. The Pont Scethin loop from Tal-y-Bont is no exception – though this one threw in some of the best natural descents and single track I have ridden in the UK.

Pont-Scethin
View from the top of the Braich Descent

To round off our weekend in North Wales the classic Pont Scethin ride was a no brainer for all of us who could stay for the Sunday. The weather looked like it was going to stay with us for one more day and the ride delivered everything we could have hoped for.

Starting somewhere near the beach at Tal-y-Bont we pedalled the first few hundred metres (vertical) on tarmac – taking us a few kilometres into our ride and getting us nicely warmed up for the off road section.  A old coach track or drovers trail led us to the small stone bridge to cross Afon Ysgethin – the pont (or bridge) in the name of the ride – and then we had a beast of a climb to take us to the 572m cairn location for a breather before our first descent.

The Braich is approximately 4km long and dropped us approx 300m through varying tracks and single track down a very windy hillside. This left everyone grinning and apart from a few technical rocky sections and some ruts it can be ridden by riders of all abilities.

Pont Scethin Map - MBR

This meant that we had to climb back over the mountain to head back to Tal-y-Bont. Craig-y-Grut is the “3866th highest peak in the British Isles and the 257th tallest in Wales”, but even this random fact didn’t phase us – especially as we were heading for the Bwlch y Rhiwgr (Pass of the Drovers) which would only only require us to climb approx 250m though even this was tough going!

We had a big breather here, knowing we weren’t going to stop until we reached the sea – dropping from 440m to sea level over the next 10km was to become one of my most memorable rides and definitely my high light for the weekend.

The video should speak for itself – the descent went on and on, through woods, moorland, farm tracks, single track, rocks, fields and eventually tarmac, boardwalk, pebbles and sand.

This loop should be on every UK mountain bikers checklist as it delivers everything you could hope for – and if the Welsh sun is shining down on you too its just about the perfect day out.

I’d like to extend a special thanks to Tom Hutton of MTB Guiding for his additional advice and guidance on the route that I first discovered in his book Wales Mountain Biking.