Updated: Jul 28
This is the link to the GoogleMap of the route I take no responsibility for the directions that it gives. Please check it out for yourself.
Here I am, Sunday morning outside of Caernarfon Castle. We decided that as it was a nice day we'd go for a ride. Not sure where the wind would take us we headed off Anglesey (where Cadair View Lodge Mission Control is) and towards Caernarfon. For us this is always a great direction - lots of possibilities.
Caernarfon seemed very quiet and we realised that the car park on the harbour was probably free (as lots of car parks are until the end of July 2020). And there was an added bonus to stopping there... the tide was in and the boats were bobbing in the River Seiont. A great reason to stop for a few minutes.
Checking on my phone (just in case I needed to action something) I spotted that some friends were meeting at the car park of Inigo Jones Slate Works not far away. So we headed there.
The plan was to ride up through the Nantlle valley to Beddgelert
That sounded good to us and so we joined them.
We rode up to Penygroes, which always surprises me by how big the village is. And another surprise (to the uninitiated) is that Penygroes is the home to a vineyard, Pant Du Vineyard! Check them out HERE They produce wine, cider, spring water and honey. They have a restaurant, shop and do guided tours. BUT we were riding and so didn't stop today.
We've driven down the Nantlle valley on several occasions but don't remember ever driving up it. The area is one of those hidden gems of Snowdonia. Similar to the Ogwen valley, driving up the surrounding crags seem to close in on you and Snowdon can be seen ahead. Llyn Nantlle is always a surprise to come across (either driving up or down) and the hamlet of Nantlle looks a pleasant place.
There is a history of slate quarrying in the area and evidence of this can be seen. But the area has apparently been settled since the Bronze Age. There aren't many places to stop and take in the scenery unfortunately as the road is quite narrow. However if you are lucky you might find a parking space at Llyn y Dywarchen which will give a view back down the valley but the Llyn is very pleasant too.
From there there is a drop down into Rhyd DDu. This is where Snowdon really comes into view (weather permitting!).
We turned right and followed the Welsh HIghland Railway down into Beddgelert. Lots of cars in the car parks so Snowdon was busy. There are a few places to stop along the road there to get a photo of Snowdon peak. It's possible (with a long lens or better eye sight than me) to see the people on the mountain.
If you have time stop in Beddgelert (the car park on the left of this road in is usually a good bet for a space). The river walk is accessible to most. It is paved on both sides with a decent bridge to cross back over in the middle. If you have more time and are a bit more agile carry on down the Glaslyn Gorge (probably not when the river is in flood). There is a bit of scrambling to be
done whilst hanging onto metal staples sunk into the rock and carefully inching your way along a narrow ledge just above the river. The return route to Beddgelert is across the road bridge then along a mixture of roadside pavement and river side paths.
We carried on to Eric Jones' Cafe just outside of Tremadog. Eric's cafe is the haunt of climbers ( who scale the crags opposite the cafe, cyclists and motor cyclists, like ourselves. There's usually a nice selection of cake and I've heard that the breakfasts are great too but today it was just a few take away teas and coffees whilst standing around chatting with our fellow riders.
Then it was off to the seaside at Criccieth. It's a lovely drive down to the beach with the sweep of the Bay and the Castle in front. We managed to find somewhere to park the bikes and then it was another trip to the Cariad Gelato Piaggio on the Prom. For those who are interested in such things, this week I had Banoffee flavour and true to form Mr Steadman had Strawberries and Cream. We sat on the little green in the sun with our friends, ate ice cream and watched the world go by.
Given how busy Criccieth was we decided to give Pwllheli a miss. Instead we headed inland across the Llŷn Peninsula to emerge back on the north coast and headed to Dinas Dinlle for our final panad of the day.
Have you ever been to Dinas Dinlle? The village itself is not much more than a row of houses and a few cafes strung along a beach road but it used to be a really important place. The large hill that you pass before turning onto the beach road is in fact all that remains of an Iron Age hillfort, some of which has been lost to the sea. There has been work over recent years to survey it before even more is lost. Worth a walk around if you visit. More information HERE Carry along the beach road (it's a dead end) and you'll spot the entrance drive to Fort Belan now a private hotel (you can't see it from the road). This fort built in the 1700s is the only purpose-built fort of the American Revolution on the eastern side of the Atlantic Ocean! Crazy but true. Further along the road again is Caernarfon Airport with its museum AirWorld . For those who are interested in planes it's nice to sit at the end of the runway and spot the air ambulance, the Coastguard helicopter, microlights, light aircraft and the odd private jet coming and going.
After our panad it was time to head home. Some of the group headed back to Inigo Jones (where we'd started) and others headed further north.
Lovely few hours spent with friends.
If you'd like to do this tour from the cabins then I'd suggest picking it up at Porthmadog and heading to Criccieth then on from there. There is lots more to do and to see that I've highlighted.
Check back again for more of our adventures
Find out more about Cadair View Lodge accommodation at www.CadairViewLodge.co.uk