North Wales coast – aka home

This weekend we travelled a little closer to home, well as close as we could get really without being at home. Destination Penmaenmawr and a plan to bike on Cycle 5 up to Bangor.

Campsite booked at Tyddyn Du, one we have driven past a thousand times and thought it looked worth trying out. Set out on tiers up the side of the hill the views were amazing. Its adults only so even though it was mad busy it was very peaceful. We arrived on site less than 30 minutes from leaving home and had the chairs out soaking up the sunshine within minutes of arrival. The site is very popular and we had only booked two nights but they were fully booked so we couldn’t extend for an extra night, even with 90 pitches most people apparently book a year in advance, within minutes of being there we could tell why – the views from the pitches were worth every penny of what was for us a fairly expensive site.

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From the site there were loads of walks, we opted for a shortish couple of miles up to Capelulo, through Dwygyfylchi and back, with the sun shining down its a stunning area to walk in with incredible views up to the hill in one direction and down over the coast in the other. Only minutes from the Expressway but felt like the middle of nowhere, and we heard our first cuckoo of the year so that is summer confirmed as arrived for us.

Sunday morning was a bit overcast but we stuck with the plan and headed out onto the cycle path. Only a few minutes from the campsite but first obstacle is crossing the A55 expressway. We could see a footbridge so headed for that, only to find we were carrying the bikes up over a stepped footbridge, not easy but do-able. Once we got over the obstacle we were on the bike path and feeling well able for a ride up to Bangor. The bike path here is not as flat as the rest of the coastal route, in fact its very hilly in places. The sun came out, not such a blessing when the going gets tough, but we hit the lowest ‘granny gears’ and managed the climbs over the quarries and up through the lanes around Abergwyngregyn until we reached the descents to Tal-y-bont. The cycle path skirts the roads and took us on a long winding route around tiny lanes and pointed us down to Llandygai ford, whilst we didn’t need to cross the ford it looked like fun. Iain went first and pedalled as fast as he could through it, result one very wet cyclist with shoes full of water. I took my turn but aimed for speed from the coast downhill and kept my legs high circus style.

The ford crosses cycle route 84, Lon Las Ogwen and heads into Bangor, or turn right up the old railway line towards Bethesda, So, right turn it was and up hill all the way. Another fabulous North Wales cycle path that is little used, we saw only one cyclist and a couple of walkers. Again, all off road and a tarmac path through the woods, crossing a viaduct and a stunning bridge over the main road we cycled for 5 miles until we were just outside Bethesda. At this stage we were calculating that a) we were starving and there was nowhere open to buy food and b) we had done 20 miles which would mean a similar distance to get back. So we turned around and free-wheeled down hill back to the ford, making the initial climb seem very worthwhile. As our original destination had been Bangor we decided to carry on into town to find a cafe. We stopped off at Porth Penrhyn, no cafe there so onwards into town. Bangor on a Sunday is at best a little quiet, only a couple of places open so we opted for a shared Subway and sat on a bench in town for a rest and a refuel.

On the way back we decided to cut route on cycle 5 and take a few short cuts straight past Penrhyn to cycle 5. Not sure what had happened but the hills had got steeper, we had got slower and it all seemed like hard work. A good few cyclists out passing us at speed, we reckoned they were just starting out and would probably be as slow as us after 30 odd miles. We ambled back and just short of 35 miles and 5 hours after leaving camp we collapsed on our chairs to plan our next weekend away.

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