BucksMTB Big Welsh Weekend Club Trip (Snowdon, Llandegla)
2012 Club Trip Ride Report
After the success of our Club Trip to
Snowdon last year we had been swamped with interest from lots of riders in the
Club asking about holding again, so it was decided that we had to hold the trip
again, but this time open it up for a longer weekend of riding.
We decided to make it a three day Club Trip that was also easily tailored for
those in the Club who could only maybe attend for one or two days due to work or
The plan was simple, travel to Snowdonia on the Friday morning and then
either go riding or have a social do, ride Mount Snowdon on the Saturday with
optional extra local loops of Snowdonia for the fit people and then hit
Llandegla on the Sunday before heading home!
In total ten riders from the Club signed up for our aptly named "BucksMTB Big
Five of us from the group met up in Milton Keynes early on the Friday morning
to fill our borrowed Hilux pick up with all the bikes and kit and then try and
squeeze us all in as well....before hitting the road....for five minutes before
stopping at Starbucks!!! Coffee done we hit the M1 and M56 through to North
Wales. Even with a couple of stops enroute to stretch legs and grab some sarnies
we made really good time and arrived in North Wales early in the afternoon.
Before meeting up with the rest of the group and heading to our accommodation
in Caernarfon we decided to pop over to Llanberis village to take a quick peek
at the Mountain for our adventure on Saturday... Llanberis sits at the bottom of
Mount Snowdon, and with several of the group not having scaled this Mountain
before we wanted to see the looks of horror on their faces from the ascent they
had lined up for them on Saturday morning! The Mountain was hidden away with low
cloud so the challenge would have to remain a secret for the Snowdon-newbie's,
for now at least.
|Time for a beer.
After the warm welcome we had received a whole year ago we headed back into
Tea Rooms for a local ale. Penceunant is a beautiful
traditional 18th century cottage, on the lower slopes of Snowdon which over
the last ten years has been lovingly restored to create a charming and
welcoming licensed tea house. The owner, Steffan, remembered us from last
year (who could forget us...) welcomed us in for a round of dark ales and
some fantastic homemade ginger loaf cake in front or a roaring open fire.
Penceunant is a superb location to start of finish (or both) any rides or
walks up and down, or around the Mountain and they also offer accommodation.
|On arrival into Caernarfon we
met up with the rest of the BucksMTB Group and headed over to accommodation
Totter's Independent Hostel in the old
town of Caernarfon to sort out the bikes and the kit. Totter's is a great
affordable base to stay in Snowdonia - the two hundred year old five storey
building is Sheltered by the Caernarfon Castle's town wall and is only 30
metres from the shores of the Menai Straits. Totter's comes in at £16.00 per
person a night, including breakfast, and Totter's has some great comfortable
bunked dorm rooms, decent shower facilities and great living room and
kitchen facilities too. For those maybe preferring a smaller group and some
more privacy Totter's can also offer
Over the Road, another couple of
century old beamed town house the other side of the road, sleeping four to
six from £20.00 a head.
||Ten hungry bikers meant we
needed a decent amount of food. Luckily for us club member Steve had kindly
booked us a table at
The Black Boy Inn in Caernarfon - this
friendly and charming Pub and Restaurant is in our opinion THE only place to
eat in Caernarfon town, the menu is very impressive and you will not be
disappointed by the food or atmosphere.
Built in 1522 and located a stones through from the Castle on Northgate
Street and has a really interesting, if slightly dark, past. The Inn offers
pub dining, full restaurant dining and accommodation.
After a chilled out evening a couple of medicinal drinks we all managed to
sleep reasonably well (despite Lester snoring...) before getting up pretty early
on Saturday morning to start our tactical assault on Mount Snowdon before it got
busy with all the ramblers...
*Just before Kick Off in Llanberis
After driving over to Llanberis and parking next to the lake there we got
kitted up, and after a safety briefing and bike/kit check we started our (long)
ascent up the Mountain. Our ascent of the Mountain was on the Llanberis Path,
and the descent was to be in the Ranger Trail. Weather conditions in the morning
where quite nice but it was starting to cloud over reasonably quickly. For the
Snowdon virgins the first clear sights of the summit of the Mountain were in
view and a few nervous looks were caught between some of the club members...
The initial ascent up the Llanberis Path went quite well, the vast majority
of the bottom half of the Mountain is rideable, minus a few very rocky sections.
The further up the Mountain we got the more the wind was picking up which did
make the ascent hard work, even more than expected! Luckily for us the Half Way
House Cafe was open which meant we did manage to dive out of the high winds and
rain showers to get a well earned brew before taking on the next half of the
ascent. The Half Way House sits at around 1800ft above sea level and roughly
half way up the Mountain between Llanberis and the Summit...only another 1800ft
*Half way up at the Half Way House
After riding, pushing, lifting, some more riding, some more carrying of the
bikes, and about three hundred layer changes we finally make it under the
Snowdon railway bridge near the top of the Mountain which means only one more
final ascent to the Summit. The weather at this point was grim. All views from
the Mountain were lost and we were now sat in cloud with very poor visibility.
We also got our first few signs of snow. Due to the strange "on-off" weather we
had been having in the UK in March and April Snowdon had been taking a beating
with the weather and the top three hundred metres or so of the Peak was still
covered in about four inches of snow.
*The final push! Result!
The final push (ride/push/carry/drag) up to the very top of Snowdon
was hard work. High Winds, poor visibility, rain and snow made the final ascent
a very tough and energy draining affair. I was personal gob smacked to see some
of the idiots who had tried to ascend Snowdon with no idea of kit and
precautions and were walking up and down in trainers with no waterproof layers
or an ounce of common sense of outdoor survival awareness. On reaching the
summit some of the guys started to take photos and pose for the camera, but the
"sensible" ones amongst us headed straight into the Summit Cafe for a warm drink
some food and try to get the warmth back into our hands and feet!
It was a huge shame for the Snowdon-newbie's in our group to not have any
views from the top. On a clear day the views of Snowdonia stretch for hundreds
of miles from the Summit and its so easy to get lost at the top for hours just
taking in the glorious views. On our visit unfortunately this was not to be the
case and with the weather getting worse I called the shots to get the group back
down off this Mountain.
*Get set, ready go! The Ranger Trail
Our descent was using the Ranger Trail, a quality natural trail heading down
the mountain in a different direction than the Llanberis Path that we had come
up on. The Ranger heads back down into the Valley towards Llanberis village and
takes in some stunning scenery too including that of the
Lakes of Cwellyn and Gader, the peaks of the Nantile Valley and the forests of
*No riders were hurt in the making of this
The ranger trail is a true mountain bikers trail taking in
singletrack, loose rock descents, natural jumps and drops, gulley descent,
boulders, loose slate not to mention various other changing conditions. The
Ranger Descent can take mere minutes but it is a tough and ever changing trail.
Made harder on our visit this year with the first half of the Ranger being
covered in snow!!
*The final descent back to
Llanberis....and the final puncture of the day...
With all of the group surviving the tough descent we picked up the bridleway up
the grass hillside to pick up the final long and fun descent back to Llanberis
village. Some photos, punctures and a blown Fox Shock later we all made it back
to the car park to pack up and head back to the
Tea Rooms for a well earned beer and some stunning
homemade soup that Steffan the owner has promised us the day before!
*After the Ranger Trail Descent
Another night in Caernarfon back at Totter's, some hearty grub at the local
Whetherspoons and some drinks and nibbles back at Totter's to round off the
evening whilst we were all drastically trying to get our kit dry before heading
to Llandegla in the morning!
Bright eyed and bushy tailed (well almost) we left Totter's early on the
Sunday morning to get over to Llandegla to get some good riding in before
leaving early afternoon to get everyone back home in time to avoid a divorce.
The weather on the way over to Llandegla was miserable, rain rain and more rain.
The stunning views enroute however around the Horseshoe pass and then along the
A525 towards Llandegla did however keep everyone's spirits up. The sparse open
ground soon showed signs of large areas of forest which meant we weren't far
away at all....
Llandegla was heaving. A proper Welsh trail
centre with lots of car parking, decent Cafe and bike shop facilities was
bursting at the seams with riders from all over the UK collected in this pocket
sized wood to enjoy some superb singletrack trails. Llandegla boasts red, green,
blue and black trails. Most of the trails all follow the red run around a large
loop of the Llandegla Forest before the specific routes break off to take their
relevant short cuts or extensions in and around the woods. The
green trail is designed for families (5km)
blue for beginners (12km) the full
red route holds a intermediate tag (18km)
and the additional
black runs take the total route distance up
With a couple of the guys dropping out from injuries, fatigue or bike
problems the rest of group split up with some of us hitting the red/blue route
and some doing the red/black route. Adam and I hit the blue run for a fun mid
distance loop, both our legs were pretty shot from the day before and also I had
to borrow a bike after my Fox shock blew a gasket so to speak so I didn't want
to go hammering black runs on a bike I didn't know and had to give back in one
piece... The blue run was basic but fun, there were some fantastic singletrack
sections included in this route with some fun drops and jumps that even the most
experienced and hardcore MTBer could get some enjoyment from. The others hit the
rest of the red run and took in some of the additional black run
sections...there faces said it all when they made it back from the ride, they
all loved it to bits!!! Llandegla may be compact, and in places very man made,
but its a very good trail centre with good weather proofed trails and good
BucksMTB will be back to Snowdon again later in the year and we will all
definitely be going back for a day or two of riding at Llandegla in the very
very near future. Other club trips to follow soon, of which will include various
Welsh Trail Centres, Yorkshire Dales, Scottish Highlands and more...
A big thank you has to go out to all the Club Members who attended and helped
organised an epic and very enjoyable weekend of riding. A big thank you to Steve
for sorting meal bookings and transport. A big thanks to the guys and girls at
Totter's, Penceunant and Llandegla. Also a personal thanks to Steve for lending
me his bike on the Sunday and to Adam for giving me a lift.
Scott, BucksMTB Club Chairman
Photos from the day can be found online our
Part One of a short feature film of our epic
Welsh Weekend trip can be viewed on
Trail Guide/GPS Route Data:
Our route guides and GPS data for
Snowdon and for Llandegla will follow shortly on our
Also the generic trail guide map for Llandegla
can be downloaded
The main aim of the BucksMTB club is to have fun and to
enjoy and promote our sport. We have a range of regular rides suitable for
reasonably fit novices through to serious racers. We also hold Club Trips
throughout the UK. The best way to find out about
the club is to join us on one of our regular Group Rides. You don't need to pay
up and join straight away, we welcome you to ride with us up to up to two
our regular Group Rides and see if you like us first. Of course, an existing member can
recommend you to BucksMTB membership at any time.
information on becoming a member of BucksMTB Club