In the age of rampant social media and ‘like’ chasing, it’s a wonder we have any time to do anything, but in the case of Easter’s Welsh bikepacking mission, we actually have the cyberweb to thank (sort of). Much like a group online date, I teamed up with a few other like-minded souls, with almost all of us having got wind of each other through the blogosphere. Out of the small community of cycling’s unwashed, it was a venerable lineup; The Pikes, Lars Henning and Jenny Bell, Emily Chappell and Lee Craigee. (Mike Howarth almost made it, but the unfortunate demise of his clutch meant otherwise)
Starting and finishing at the brilliantly located Tyncornel Bunkhouse, the plan was to link up a couple of mountain bothies and squeeze in as much off-piste riding as possible. Quite out of character for Mid-Wales and Bank Holiday weekends, the forecast was rather horrendous, and whilst spirits weren’t ‘dampened’, the planned route was subject to some slight downsizing. All in all a cracking little adventure though, stuffed with top notch riding, great company and, of course, the obligatory tussock hike-a-bike session to make sure we got the full experience.
Here’s a brief pictorial summary:
Locked and loaded.
Good Friday lived up to it's name, with no sign of the impending low pressure of doom. Blue skies and great riding.
Harriet and Lars dropping in
After 70km or so we rocked up at Claerddu Bothy (52.30262, -3.77194), a relative hotel, with running water and a stove!
Pikes on Bikes; making the most of the last hours of daylight
Lars thinks he knows bog free route back to the bothy, but it's not to be, so we re-trace our tracks in the golden light
Tea a plenty back in the bothy
Awaking to torrential rain (the horizontal variety), we hit the road buoyed by the prospect of a fry up. Soaked through, after a couple of hours we sought refuge in the Elan Valley visitor centre and strategised. Moel Prysgau Bothy became our target for the day, a relative stone's throw away, but the route looked to be slow going... After some fun singletrack, as feared, the trail petered out and it became a good old 'bog slog'. A couple hours of comedy falls, river wading and hike-a-bike ensued, as were crept towards the tree line, beyhond which lay sanctuary (in the form of a derelict mountain hut!)
Cutlery included! Moel Prysgau Bothy
Neil, plotting our next move
No shortage of stoves...
Ready for Day 3
The weather eases and we string togther some dirt tracks to take us back to Tyncornel, where an Easter egg binge commences.
On Day 4 we awake to a dusting of snow and head out for an unloaded mountain bike session, linking up with the Doethie Valley. Some incredible natural singletrack which has earned it a place in MBR's Top 20 trails
Alpaca socks; not the best choice of footwear for a wet day...
Stunning views and smiles all round
Lars blazing the trail back to Tyncornel and bringing an epic weekend to a close