Adventures in Snowdonia Weekend – Part 1
It all started with a freakishly promising weather forecast in one of my favourite places in the world – Snowdonia. The last weekend of October wouldn’t ordinarily be associated with good weather, but this weekend was different, so Dave and I decided to plan a weekend of adventure in North Wales.
We left early on Saturday and arrived into Betws-y-Coed at around 09:30, parked up and got ready for a 52 mile cycling route through Snowdonia.
Our route headed north out of Betws towards Capel Curig, a slow and gradual climb. The road was lined with beautiful colours of autumn as we climbed past Swallow Falls. We’d soon reached Capel Curig where our route then headed down towards Ogwen Valley. There were a few glimpses of blue sky and the sun as we neared the foot of one of my favourite mountains, Tryfan.
We stopped for a bite to eat at the Ogwen visitor centre which has been tastefully redesigned and repurposed. It boasts an interactive room (that’s heated!) with plenty of information about the surrounding area. Dave couldn’t resist a fiddle with the centrepiece detailing the surrounding peaks. We rested our legs whilst watching the impressive drone footage from www.filmuphigh.com, with footage of the best of Snowdonia.
From the visitor centre we descended towards Bethesda. This descent is fast and exciting, with numerous turns and excellent tarmac. There are few blind spots however, which allows you to see approaching traffic at all times.
Taking a left just after Bethesda, our route headed south, with spectacular views of Caernarfon and the Welsh coast. We passed the turn off to Llanberis and continued south where we met with the dreaded “ROAD CLOSED” sign. We were told that bicycles were allowed past as the road closure was for the Snowdonia Marathon.
From Prenteg to Beddgelert we cycled past countless runners coming the other way. A number of them commented how they’d wished they had a bike as they climbed up from Beddgelert, the half way point of their run.
We stopped for coffee in Beddgelert and watched the runners, the crowds of supporters stood by, encouraging them by name as they passed. I was impressed by one supporter who called out to each runner by name. It took me a while to realise that he didn’t in fact know each runner by name, but was just reading the name from their race number. I was obviously tiring!
The final climb out of Beddgelert was fantastic! The road climbs very steadily, with incredible views of Nant Gwynant and the steep sides of the valley. Whilst it was a little overcast and cloudy as we climbed, on a clear day there are views to the summit of Snowdon. We stopped for quick breather at the Pen y Gwryd hotel, which famously housed Sir Edmund Hillary when he was training for the first of Everest.
We zoomed down from the Pen y Gwryd to Capel Curig and all the way back to Betws for a quick drink at the Royal Oak. We’d cycled 52 miles but our adventure had only really just begun. Loading our bikes into the van, we plotted our plans for that evening.
To be continued…