Reflections of riding the Irish Sea Cycle Route.
Stryd Fawr is the route out of Porthmadog, it’s a quaint town with a lovely harbour and worth a stop. I follow the NCN 8 to Pentrefelin then Criccieth old town and a brief pass of the castle. Pentrefelin has a significance to me. Earlier this year I moved house and a stone Welsh Cottage in Pentrefelin was on my viewing list, It’s a small cottage beautifully placed on the ISCR but alas it wasn’t to be. The cottage was sold before the sale of my place went through so I didn’t get round to view it. I think I would have loved it and I’m sure the new owners will enjoy it thoroughly. It’s now on my growing list titled ‘might-have-beens’!
early morning in Criccieth
I follow the main road through Pwllheli to Llanbedrog, there are sections where cycleways make for pleasant riding, that’s not to say the riding on the main road is unpleasant, it’s fine. In fact my experience of car drivers in Wales is most positive, they give cyclists plenty of room when overtaking, all in all they have been courteous and respectful which I acknowledge by a friendly wave … it simply makes my journey a great pleasure.
steep climb into Y Rhiw village
Onto B-roads from Llanbedrog, I ride to the higher ground through Mynytho before returning to sea level before Y Rhiw. The climb to the Y Rhiw village is steep and long, this concentrates my mind as I recall throwaway lines from The Matrix; Morpheus: “Do you believe that’s air you are breathing now? and If you can free your mind, the body will follow”. Matrix or not, this climb is 20% and my heart-rate is banging the stops, I have no other option than to climb off my bike and start pushing. The turqoise coloured sea is turning almost grey as a sea mist rolls onto the landmass. Almost a mythical scene, the swirling mist first hides then reveals the higher ground. As I roll into Aberdaron the mist is lifting and brighter weather is now with me. I find a place to sit overlooking the beach and bay.
Aberdaron beach and bay
Aberdaron is a small coastal village almost at the end of the Lleyn Peninsula. Clusters of whitewashed stone cottages and buildings surround a stone bridge, I turn north and climb out of the village along delightful lanes. A road to the singing sands at Borth Oer is passed, sea views are distant as the rocky coastline and sandy bays are almost one kilometre to the west.
B-roads through Tusweiliog, Nefyn then Llithfaen, another change in the weather, the cloud is now permanently down as well as a stiff headwind and drizzle – but it’s still a great place to be. The proximity of the sea does offer a sense of freshness in the air, maybe it’s the ozone spilling onto the landmass! Ah fresh!
I reach the busy A499 main trunk road near Trefor and the cycleway keeps me segregated from fast moving traffic. The road looks a new construction, probably an example of European money being invested in Wales. I make good progress in improving weather, beyond Glynllyfon Country Park the cycleway (NCN 8) alongside the Welsh Highland Railway takes me all the way to Caernarfon with its beautiful natural harbour and iconic castle.
the harbour in Caernarfon
Places of Interest along the way
Porthmadog Ffestiniog Railway Welsh Highland Heritage Railway Llanystumdwy, Lloyd George Village Aberdaron Coastal Village Singing Sands, Borth Oer Caernarfon Caernarfon Castle Snowdonia National Park