Stretching east from Bala across to Llangollen are the Berwyn Mountains. A stunningly beautiful part of North Wales that is overshadowed by its big brother
The early days of mountain biking in North Wales?
Walter MacGregor Robinson – also know as the “Wayfarer” – was a pioneer of rough stuff cycling. He was a cycling enthusiast from Liverpool who, in the years after the First World War, rode across North Wales, recording his routes and experiences mainly for Cycling magazine. He had quite a following and often hundreds of people would turn out to hear him talk or ride miles to meet him in person.
Robinson encouraged cyclists to explore using mountain tracks, footpaths and out of the way routes. Some of the routes they tackled are quite astounding considering the basic bikes they rode with no gears. Robinson encouraged people to strip off as much from their bikes as they could to make them lighter.
A route that starts just outside Llanarmon DC is named after Robinson – it is known as the Wayfarers route. It heads over the top of the mountains and drops down into Llandrillo. Bits of it are challenging enough on a modern mountain bike – never mind the kit these guys were riding.
It is a nice ride and there is a memorial stone to Robinson erected along the route from Llanarmon to Llandrillo as it passes through the Nant Rhyd Wilym. It was placed here as this was one of his favourite routes. A true pioneer of rough stuff cycling.
The start of the Wayfarers is easily reached from Llanarmon – it is a couple of miles along a quiet road before you head up into the hills. If you are looking for a nice ride across these hills it is well worth a trip. One word of warning – go prepared with plenty of water, spares and a good map. You will be a long way from civilisation and help. And there is no mobile signal for miles around.
If you want to learn more about Wayfarer then I recommend this website.
If you fancy giving the Wayfarers trail a ride then our cycle friendly holiday cottage in Llanarmon is available for rent and is only a short ride from the start of the trail.