Cycling around the Mawddach – IS Away day
Every year Information Services at Aberystwyth University arrange several ‘away days’. As a part time member of staff there I’m entitled to go on one and have half a day off. The options include things such as shopping in Chester, Go Karting, visits to gardens and Andrew (who works with me) had organised a cycling trip.
The date was set, it wasn’t on one of my normal working days so I wasn’t entitled to any time off if I went along, but there weren’t many people signed up for it, so I put my name down.
The day dawned VERY wet and very windy. Perfect for windsurfing and I did find myslef thinking that I was mad not going out for a windsurf session but instead strapping my bike to my car. I couldn’t pull out now though as it would have looked as though I’d wimped out due to the weather so off I set.We all met up at Andrew’s and then made the short drive to Dolgellau and the car park in Penmaenpool where we got ready in the pouring rain. No one seemed that enthusiastic due to the weather, but we were here and we were going to do this ride whatever Wales threw at us!
We soon set off along the Mawddach Cycle Trail into Dolgellau and then out along the road to Cadair Idris. The road goes up here so our pace soon slowed as we had a nice leisurely ride up to Cregennan Lake in the rain. The rain did eventually ease off at the lake and we stopped here for sandwiches and to enjoy the scenery. There were quite a few people about and several outward bound groups so it wasn’t the most peaceful of stops. It also got fairly cold so we ate out picnic and after a few bike adjustments were soon back in the saddles for the steep descent back down to sea level with some amazing views across the Mawddach Estuary to Barmouth.
A little ride along the road and we were son back on the Mawddach Cycle Trail and heading across Barmouth Bridge and paying the fairly steep toll fee of £1. We then rode into Barmouth where we stopped for cups of hot chocolate and a chat in one of the cafes. I don’t really see many people at work, so although our group was small, just me, Andrew, Christiane and Karl (all of whom I knew), it was good to get to know them a little better, which afterall is the point of these awaydays.
By now it was getting on for 4pm so we were back on our bikes and retraced our tyre tracks across the bridge and back onto the Mawddach Trail which we then followed all the way back to Penmaenpool. It is a lovely part of the country and the views of the estuary along here are great. It made me want to get the canoe out and go for a paddle.
Back at Penmaenpool we stopped at the pub for a cream tea and as we did the sun finally came out! In the end, we’d almost forgotten about the soggy start to the day and although it took longer than expected to cover the 22 miles it was a good day out with a good group of people in a nice part of Wales. An easy bike ride along quiet roads with some great views. Thanks Andrew for organising it and to Karl and Christiane for braving the weather!