Cycle Ride from Bala to Lake Vyrnwy and back
A classic though strenuous ride that includes mountains, moorland, cols, lakes, valleys, cwms, rivers and streams, forests and a couple of attractive villages. The countryside is ravishing from start to finish. The route is very simple to follow since what few turns there are all come at the first junction after the last. It is, however, hilly with over 2000 feet of ascent. The long ascent (and long is the operative word) in the first half of the ride has mostly moderate gradients, but there are several steep sections in the early part of the return.
Route: Bala - Lake Tegid (Lake Bala) - Bwlch-y-Groes - Lake Vyrnwy - Cwm Hirnant - Rhos-y-Gwaliau - Bala.
Photos of the Ride
Distance: 34.5 miles.
Ascent: 600+ m.
Start: Car park (pay & display) at Bala (OS 50,000 map No. 125 Grid Ref. 929362). There is a small free car park near the lake at 928355 - if using this Turn Right from the car park and after a short distance Right on to the B4391.
Turn Left on leaving car park on to the B4931
Turn Right after 3/4 mile and follow the quiet B4403 to the end of the lake.
Turn First Left signposted Dinas Mawddwy
Pause at the car park at the col of Bwlch-y-Groes to admire the view of the Aran mountains
Descend for a third of a mile in the direction of Dinas Mawddwy and turn First Left
Turn First Right on reaching Lake Vyrnwy (Lakeside Drive)
Turn First Left across the top of the dam (but not before continuing a short distance to visit the attractive village, where refreshments are available)
Turn First Left at the end of the dam
Turn First Right signposted Bala 9 miles and continue to the col and down into Cwm Hirnant
Keep Right at hamlet of Rhos-y-Gwaliau
Turn First Left
Turn First Left at B4403 and then Right to return to Bala
Points of interest
Bala is a pleasant small country town. (Bed & breakfast accommodation that has been recommended: Mrs. S. Pugh, 3, Castle Street Tel. 01678 520903)
Llyn Tegid (Lake Bala) is Wales's largest natural lake with the Arenig hills to the north. It is surrounded by unspoilt, tranquil countryside.
Bwlch-y-Groes (Pass of the Cross): at 1800 ft or 546m this is the highest pass in Wales and is a wild col with dramatic views of the crags of the Aran mountains. In the middle ages this route was used by pilgrims going from North Wales to St. David's in the south of Wales, and they erected a cross just below the highest point. In 1989 modern pilgrims replaced the old cross with a new one. In the earlier part of the 20th century the Austin motor company used this pass to road test their new cars (the Dinas Mawddwy side of the pass is sensationally steep).
Lake Vyrnwy: our route does almost a complete circuit of this large lake justly famous for its lovely setting in varied woods, hills and pastures.
Cwm Hirnant is on the western fringe of the Berwyn hills. During the long descent towards Bala the scenery changes from a remote mountain cwm to lush valley pastures. (Note: this is not the more well-known Cwm Hirnant in the Berwyn hills.)
Photos of the Ride
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