Lon Las Cymru day 5: We reached Snowdonia (in the rain!)

After a delicious 3 course meal at Number 21 last night, we had the best breakfast of the trip so far at Maenllwyd Guesthouse. Suitably fuelled by bacon and sausages, we left for the hardest day of the trip… 50 miles and over 1200 metres of ascent, from Machynlleth to Porthmadog.

We followed pretty, shady lanes, gradually heading uphill to Corris. We then passed some slate quarries and the road became steeper and steeper, and narrower. It was really remote and the scenery was stunning.

Even with our bike motors on full, we struggled with the gradient. At one point where I’d stopped, it was so steep, I couldn’t get going again and had to push my bike, bringing on a complete sense of humour failure! You can imagine the tantrum John had to put up with!

Finally we reached the top at about 400m. There were quite a lot of parked cars and we wondered if people had driven up to watch for jets flying through the Mach Loop.

From here it was downhill to Dolgellau where we stopped for a cake break. Then we followed the Mawddach Trail along the estuary for about 8 miles, before crossing the bone shaking, wooden toll bridge to Barmouth. At this point we were just over half way.

Barmouth was unpleasant. It’s a pretty seaside town but it was heaving with people and cars. Luckily we found a fairly quiet cafe for lunch, much needed as we had another big climb ahead of us.

After cycling along the prom out of the town, Lon Las Cymru followed the main road for 4 miles. It was very busy with traffic and we were glad to turn off onto the lanes again, despite this being a longer hillier route than following the A496.

As we dug deep for the climb, it began to rain, spitting at first but gradually getting heavier. Towards the top, we put our coats on, still having about 10 miles to go.

The mountains had disappeared in the gloom, but the views were still amazing over the coastline and green hills and woods.

A few small steep hills nearly caught us out over the last leg of the the day, but we conquered them. I must admit my bike’s battery was getting low by now though! Thankfully, we soon reached the cob across the mouth of the river, and arrived in Porthmadog, dripping wet.

We’re now relaxing before having dinner at our guesthouse, Hen Fecws. Our clothes are hanging around the room, drying out and, once again, the bikes are on charge. Tomorrow should be an easier today. I can’t believe we’ll reach Anglesey, and the end will be within reach!

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