Wednesday, 14 September 2011
Day 4: Dolgellau to Llanidloes
Tuesday 6 September: Dolgellau to Llanidloes (39 miles, 1400m ascent)
Tuesday’s weather was delivered precisely as forecast: heavy rain and gale force winds! After a hearty breakfast, we set off on the first stage of this most testing day of the week’s cycling. The route from Dolgelau to Machynlleth tracks around the flanks of Cader Idris and rises some 620 m in two long and steep ascents into some remote uplands before descending spectacularly into the old slate quarrying villages of Aberllefeni and Corris.
We eventually got to Machynlleth, having crossed the Dyfi in full flood over the Millennium Bridge, to refuel at the Graig Café and to get John’s bike fitted with new brake blocks at the local Summit Cycles. We then set off along the mountain road towards Llanidloes to tackle the most strenuous part of the Lon Las Cymru route as it traverses the northern edge of the Plynlimon range. By mid-afternoon, in torrential rain and strong winds, we had reached the route’s highest point, at 510 m, after a knee-crunching ascent and a number of false summits.
Cold, wet and exhausted, but elated by our achievement, we stopped at the Star Inn, Dylife where the landlord (a former Geography student of Aberystwyth University) very kindly made us a reviving cup of strong, very sweet, tea.
The remaining fourteen miles to Llanidloes took longer than we expected, but we were pleased to arrive at Lloyd’s Hotel after a very tough day’s cycling, indeed the toughest day’s ‘exercise’ that some of us had done in decades!
Our stay at Lloyd’s Hotel was made even better when we were joined, for an excellent dinner, by Gill and Beth (John’s wife and daughter) and Shirley and Bethan (David’s wife and daughter).