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Bwlch-Y-Groes loop

ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,346
I have planned this loop for next weekend, there appears to be no practical way to avoid the A 458... I drove on it last year and didn't seem lethal, but never cycled on it, anyone can comment or suggest a better way without adding 50 miles to the loop?

https://www.strava.com/routes/6304611

Posts

  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    I'd worry far more about the Bwlch than the 458 if I were you.

    If you're in the general area check out the llyn stwlan dam climb
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,346
    cougie wrote:
    I'd worry far more about the Bwlch than the 458 if I were you.

    If you're in the general area check out the llyn stwlan dam climb

    I've done Hardknott, I've done Bealach Na Ba, what can possibly go wrong... ? :lol:

    So you say the A 458 is fine then?

    I'll check that climb out... EDIT: looks like the mini-Stelvio of Wales... :wink:
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,391
    That will be a great ride. You'll be fine on that shortish stretch of the A458. The Bwlch/Vyrnwy/Hirnant area is a fantastic area for scenic and challenging cycling loops. A possible alternative to going up the north side of the Bwlch and then going down it on the way back is to go up the north side of the Hirnant from Bala to Lake Vyrnwy. It's a beautiful quiet valley with a very steep ramp just before the summit and a somewhat technical descent down to the lake.

    Last time I rode up the Hirnant from Bala with a friend, both of us on lightweight carbon bikes, my wife on her electric bike left us both for dead on the climb. We couldn't catch her on the descent but finally overhauled her on the flat bit round the lake just before we got back to our cars!
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,346
    Mercia Man wrote:
    That will be a great ride. You'll be fine on that shortish stretch of the A458. The Bwlch/Vyrnwy/Hirnant area is a fantastic area for scenic and challenging cycling loops. A possible alternative to going up the north side of the Bwlch and then going down it on the way back is to go up the north side of the Hirnant from Bala to Lake Vyrnwy. It's a beautiful quiet valley with a very steep ramp just before the summit and a somewhat technical descent down to the lake.

    Last time I rode up the Hirnant from Bala with a friend, both of us on lightweight carbon bikes, my wife on her electric bike left us both for dead on the climb. We couldn't catch her on the descent but finally overhauled her on the flat bit round the lake just before we got back to our cars!

    Thanks!

    Your suggestion makes sense, although the half loop around lake Vyrnwy looks appealing on paper... although I can do it your way and add the full lake loop to the ride
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,391
    I didn't make it clear but there are two Hirnant passes north of Lake Vyrnwy. The one I meant was the westerly one. It starts at the eastern tip of Bala lake at Rhos-y-Gwaliau and descends to Lake Vyrnwy close to the road from Bwlch-y-Groes so you would still have a half loop of the lake to do. The easterly Hirnant pass via Llangynog is also a good ride but my preference would be the westerly one.
  • FlâneurFlâneur Posts: 3,080
    Should be no problem on the A road, I did a tiny amount of it the other week (on a Saturday) and it was in the area I remarked to my friend saying we had seen more quad bikes than cars.

    Route was https://www.strava.com/routes/5327164
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  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,346
    Flâneur wrote:
    Should be no problem on the A road, I did a tiny amount of it the other week (on a Saturday) and it was in the area I remarked to my friend saying we had seen more quad bikes than cars.

    Route was https://www.strava.com/routes/5327164

    :D
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,391
    Got it... like this then...

    https://www.strava.com/routes/6304611

    That's the one. Definitely recommended if you want a tough ride and good scenery. If you want to cut it short, you can go up Cwm Hirnant from Bala to Vyrnwy, have some refreshments at a cafe there by the dam and ride back from the western end of the lake up to the top of the Bwlch-y-Groes and down to Bala.
  • simon_esimon_e Posts: 1,692
    I'll check that climb out... EDIT: looks like the mini-Stelvio of Wales... :wink:
    After finding out about it, Simon Warren rates it as one of the 3 greatest climbs on mainland Britain (the other 2 being Great Dun Fell and Bealach Na Bà).

    On a sunny Sunday in the summer months the A458 can have a significant number of motorcyclists trying to outdo each other in the race to the mortuary.
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  • stanthomasstanthomas Posts: 265
    The Dinas Mawddwy side is the 'real' Bwlch-y-groes and I have known people go up from Vyrnwy, down to Dinas then turn around and go back up just to tick it off. But there's no real alternative to the A458 if you want to make a loop out of it. The A458 can be busy at weekends but I'd characterise it as unpleasant rather than dangerous. And, given that you're from down-south, you'll probably think nothing of it.

    Recommend the cyclist friendly Old Barn Cafe for a pitstop at the south-west end of Vyrnwy dam. Go past the first (obvious) cafe on the left to the second one on the right.
  • That had to be postponed to a drier day :-(
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