If you happen to be a Twitter or Instagram User and do this route (or something similar through Wales) I have used the hashtags (Wales In Winter & Winter In Wales) #WalesInWinter and #WinterInWales – make sure to add to them!
Day 3 – the final day of my Wales in Winter trip and this leg takes me from Aberystwyth to Betws-y-Coed then onto the Liverpool for the return overnight ferry back to Northern Ireland.
So far it has been two days of good hardcore rain and this final day won’t be changing that format in any major way.
In fact it is due to get worse at some stage with the approach of Storm Doris bringing more and heavier rain and some gales, gusts and other variants of high winds thrown into the mix. The biggest question is when will Doris visit? Whilst on the road or on the boat?
In case you missed it Day 1 can be found here : http://tbni.blog/2018/02/22/wales-in-winter-wales-in-a-weekend-day-1-20-02-2017/
Day 2 can be found here : http://tbni.blog/2018/02/26/wales-in-winter-wales-in-a-weekend-day-2-21-02-2017/
The route can be found here : https://www.adventurebikerider.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=140&t=36263&hilit=wales+in+a+weekend
Should you need it the sat nav gpx file can be found here : Wales in a Weekend Sat Nav GPX Download Link
As far as accomodation goes I am absolutely sold on ‘The Glengower’ – clean and comfortable room with good food, a good bar, big TVs for the Sports Channels and a couple of pool tables, all with a sea view. You need nothing more, but you’ll get it in the form of a delicious breakfast.
After breakfast, I make the short trip round the back of the hotel to get the bike. Having turned on all the radiators in the room over night my gear was dry for starting. After a 50 metre walk I was back to being as soaked as I was when I finished yesterday. And looking at the forecast this is only the start of the rain.
I’m not too far down the road from Aberystwyth and I can honestly say that I have never been more wet on the bike. The water is simply running off me. Underneath I’m still dry though which is amazing. The Oxford Rain Seal jacket is performing flawlessly, the BMW trousers are the same, even my feet are still dry inside my Forma boots. So I have nothing to complain about. The only water I am experiencing is the odd drip of water that comes off my helmet and then down my back. It’s like an electric shock, every now and then – keeps you alert! Oh and my gloves are soaked, I yet have to find a properly waterproof pair of gloves. I have tried many, but with the heated grips I can deal with the water. I’m more or less used to not having waterproof gloves now.
The next checkpoint of note is near to Barmouth. You will drive past a layby, which is good for a leg stretch. There is a nice wooded area beside it and in the distance a massive railway bridge. I’m sure everyone photographs this spot so it would be rude not to!
It was about here that that my phone started going crazy with weather alerts. Every new town and village I passed through got a weather alert of Snow / Ice – great, it was going to get colder!
At the start of the day it was about 13 degrees, which is pretty decent for February, by the time I was at Barmouth it was showing as 9.5 degrees and you could feel it getting colder as the wind started to pick up.
From Barmouth it was on to Harlech. Harlech is an absolute must see for three reasons :
- It is a world heritage site.
- The view.
- The castle.
Now that castle is obviously impressive and if you have the time for a small entrance fee you can go in, but the for me the most amazing thing about Harlech is the view as you approach. It stretches right round the coast – which will also show you the approaching weather (a huge band of rain). The beach sweeps down to the sea from a range of dunes and the mountains rise up in the distance. It is those mountains that I was now heading to and Snowdonia National Park.
From Harlech I followed a river (a signed called it Aberglaslyn) this takes you into Snowdonia National Park.
I did cut through Snowdonia National Park on Day 1- but that was the most direct route just to get me down to Aberdare. This a ‘proper’ route and is so much more enjoyable. A great biking route that takes you through some absolutely breath taking scenery – the real reason I came to Wales. Even when the cloudbase was so low the landscape is stunning, I can only wonder what this place looks like on a clear day.
The road up to Snowdonia is absolutely stunning, but every know and then make sure to check behind you, where you came from looks very different when you look back and down on it!
I got to the top of the route. Mount Snowdon was there, well so the big granite landscape map says – I’ll take its word for it…
From here it’s all downhill to Caernarfon – even in February, in the rain and cold, this place is a hive of activity. People going hiking, and people taking the Snowdon train have the place filled.
From here it is on to Betws-y-Coed another very busy little village and upon my arrival the sun decided to pop out for a very brief visit – the first time in three days!
Betws-y-Coed seems to lobve their trains, with a grand old train station, and then a cafe and shop made out of trains, and a mini railway it is a really quirky and pleasant little town.
St. Michaels’ Old Church is also well worth a walk around and is just beside the train cafe…
Betws-y-Coed really is a nice spot, lovely houses, a waterfall as you leave and even the carpark can take a helicopter.
And that finishes that. Betws-y-Coed is the final stop of the Wales in a Weekend Route and what a route. Really enjoyable, great roads and great scenery – even in the rain. Remember no bad weather only bad gear.
If you ever take the overnight ferry back to Belfast from Liverpool get a cabin, they are pretty decent and makes the crossing an absolute gift and you get a full night’s sleep!
It is easy to recommend this route to anyone and since completeing the route in February 2017 I went back and did it again in September 2017 and due to the cancellation of the 2018 Welsh Road Race I will be returning again in mid 2018 – with a few modifications and an extra leg or two thrown in.
Looking forward to it!