Travellers' Tales: End to End in Wales - Cardiff to Caernarfon

By Pontsticill Reserviour in the Brecon Beacons
By Pontsticill Reservoir in the Brecon Beacons
Gareth Roberts enjoyed a Welsh end-to-end with friends Charlie and Patrick

The narrow lane approaching Dolgellau was covered with sheep droppings and the overspill of grass verges; our tyres struggled to grip. This steep ascent was our big challenge for the third and final day of our ride from Cardiff Castle to Caernarfon Castle.

We started on NCN Route 8, following the River Taff for over 35 miles. We stopped at Aberfan and visited the site of the former school where 116 children and 28 adults tragically died in 1966.

Next was Merthyr Tydfil, before we took on the Brecon Beacons. It soon became apparent that this was the place for sturdy bikes with broad tyres.

Starting from Cardiff Castle

Ten miles into our second day, we faced another big climb to Builth Wells. We then followed the River Wye before arriving in Rhayader. Our residence for the night was a remote pub in the wilderness: Y Star Inn in Dylife.

With 75 miles to ride on day three, we passed through Machynlleth and Dolgellau, and then along the Mawddach Trail to Barmouth. The next leg took us along the Cambrian Coast to Harlech, home of another castle. We rode through Portmadoc and headed for the Lon Eifion Cycle Way at Bryncir, which left us with a 12-mile ride to Caernarfon, where the castle dominated the landscape. We’d done 188 miles.