Bala, Bwlch-y-Groes-Vyrnwy, Hirnant Pass

Bala, Bwlch-y-Groes-Vyrnwy, Hirnant Pass

Chester and North Wales CTC

This ride starts in historic Bala and should be on everyone’s bucket list. There is ample public parking here. A visit to The Loch Café is suggested before you start the ride and the route on the GPX file starts from there. You will see only few houses in the next thirty miles.

The route takes us along the short North East edge of Lynn Tegid ( Bala Lake) where we turn right and follow the very quiet B4403 along the south east edge until after 5 miles you reach the left turn for a minor road  which takes you upwards, gently at first, never very steep, till at 10 miles you reach what is claimed to be the highest tarmacked road in Wales. The Bwlch-y-Groes has a reputation for being difficult but this is the easier way up, well within the capacity of most regular riders. On a clear day you can enjoy fabulous views over North Wales. If you’re lucky you will see a flying demonstration from Red Kites here, but otherwise are almost certain to see Buzzards enjoying the thermals.

Then its down, turn sharp left after 200yds, and enjoy the drop to Lake Vyrnwy at 14.5 miles. Watch out for sheep and loose stone on the windy descent.

The landscape becomes heavily wooded as you approach the lake, where there is an almost completely flat circumference road. Turn right and follow this to Llanwdynn, just by the magnificent Victorian Dam. The village has only a few houses but includes two excellent cafes – the only ones on the route apart from Bala.

Once you’ve enjoyed lunch head over the dam and up the other side of the lake. Turn right at the end and climb through the trees up the Hirnant Pass. Once you emerge from the forest its not far to the top; savour the views before the fabulous, high speed descent back to Bala.

34 miles and 3000ft of ascent.

Level of ride 
Type of bike 
Road bike
Cycling UK continues to support the UK to cycle
This remains true during this difficult period with the ongoing threat of coronavirus Covid-19