Cycling Day 22: Caernarfon To Dolgellau

A soggy day but ultimately a rewarding one with some good quality and varied cycling. Hopefully Colin, Chris and Sarah are reading this. They are fellow cyclists and I chatted with them along the way. Colin was on his was home from tending to his boat but told me of his plans to go cycling in Mallorca. Chris and Sarah were also cycling the Lon Las Cymru but in the south to north direction. They spoke glowingly of what they had already experienced. Their day had started where mine has finished; Dolgellau. [Chris: I have given your comments about the back panniers much thought this afternoon and I’m still confused…]

My day, however, started in Caernarfon and its beautiful square. I may have posted this picture yesterday but it’s worth using again:

The square looked a little less vibrant this morning under a grey sky, but my mood was high after an excellent evening of food and chat with my Warmshowers host Kath.

Caernarfon is a lovely town. I only wish I’d had more time to wander the streets…

…but I had 90km to cycle along the Lon Las Cymru which, I note from Open Street Map, is also part of EuroVelo 2, the capitals route. How appropriate, bearing in mind my quest to cycle to the four UK capitals this summer.

The first part of today’s cycle – and the final part – were along disused railway lines. Actually, that’s not quite true. The section from Caernarfon simply followed the route of the narrow gauge line that is very much still in use. Heavy rain kicked in mid-morning and, with nowhere to hide, I kept cycling. My intention after the wet experiences earlier in the ‘summer’ in Scotland was to sit out heavy rain in a café but alas no café was to be found so I just cycled on, in the rain, benefiting from the significant ‘investment’ I had made in the Rab jacket last weekend (see Tuesday’s post). I took up the option of the route 8 shortcut to Porthmadog and dived into the first café I could find. It happened to be at the station for another narrow gauge railway. There are many in these parts. It’s all that slate…

Once the rain had abated a little, I set off again. Some challenging but spectacular cycling between Porthmadog and Llandanwg on the coast. (The WordPress spell checker is not happy with all these Welsh place names by the way…) Let’s pause for some photos:

It was hard-going at times and I pushed the bike up more of the inclines than I’m willing to quantify here. Let’s just leave it at ‘many’. The views, of course (as I’ve said many times before…) were the reward:

What remained was mainly coastal and then beside the estuary to Dolgellau. The spectacular wooden bridge was a little rickety to cross but that, combined with Barmouth – a delightful little town that somehow reminded me of being in the Wild West – made up for the grim, run-down coastline just to the north.

So I’m now in the tent again, praying for sunshine in the morning. Come to think of it I’m praying for some sunshine tonight. My signature dish of spaghetti and pesto is a little tricky to prepare in the rain… Otherwise it will have to be shortbread and chocolate. It’s a tough life.

Update (later…):

It’s worth pointing out that yesterday and today have been the first days of this round-Britain trip when I have met (or been passed by) lots of cycle tourists. Yesterday it was a Dutch guy en route to, well, anywhere and today, aside from Chris and Sarah and Colin, I waved at numerous cycle tourers along the Lon Las Cymru and chatted with another guy just outside Dolgellau. The cycle touring world appears to have escaped the COVID lockdown…

Categories: Adventure, Cycling, Travel

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8 replies »

  1. Hi Andrew,
    Lovely to chat yesterday and really enjoying the posts. Will look more at the website when home. I probably didn’t explain very well or maybe I didn’t quite see you locking system quite right but I think that if you eject a pannier you’ve guaranteed to eject both. if one falls off, which I’ve found to be rare but does happen, (usually descending fast on rough terrain) it yanks the handle of the other and then you’ve got two panniers (still attached to your bike) hanging around your back wheel doing their best to grab a spoke or two! You have a beautiful cycle ahead of you today, and I hope you see a jet or two at Mach view!!! All the best, Chris and Sarah

  2. I was in Barmouth a couple of weeks ago and we cycle along the path to Dolgellau, a good route. We also walked up Cadair Idris, which I think I remember you doing!?
    We are going on our first Sub24 tomorrow. First time packing the trailer and taking the two boys for an overnight about 10miles down the round. My first family cycle tour!!!!
    Hopefully the first of many. Rain is forecast!!

  3. a tarp at the front in the rain means you can cook safely. I know its something else to pack but for British weather makes such a difference. Glad to see you are OK

      • haha. I can send you the details and you can watch Barry’s excellent you tube video over the winter and be prepared for Easter. Hope your weather is decent today. Its lousy here.

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