The day dawned with nice weather - always worth throwing a waterproof in though....
We climbed out of Bala up the Tryweryn valley, stopping for coffee at the Welsh National White Water Centre, with paralympian Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson sitting at the next table to us sporting the blingiest wheelchair ever - motorised detachable front end, carbon-spoked wheels, Hope disc brakes and a Garmin for good measure!
On with the climb up to Lyn Celyn, where we took a quick detour to ride the dam wall. Shortly afterwards we turned off onto an altogether quieter road to take us over the desolate moors of Ffridd Nant-Crethyll, from which we could see the ultimate aim of the ride - the dam high on Moelwyn Mawr which holds back the pump storage Lyn Stwlan.
After the built-up area of Ffestiniog, we hoisted our bikes over the gate and got on with the climb up to Lyn Stwlan. It really is a tough one, nearly always over 8% and quite often up to 15%. Still, the views from the top more than made up for the effort. The descent was taken reasonably gingerly, although there was a dodgy moment when a lamb decided to cross at an inopportune moment. There was blue smoke from my rear tyre, and deep gouges in it from the skid on a rough surface!
After lunch, there was a lovely descent down to just short of Maentwrog, followed by a long drag of a climb all the way to Trawsfynydd, punctuated by a break under some trees while a heavy rain storm passed. Bronaber saw us turn off the main A470 road for a gated pass across the moors - desolate, beautiful, exposed. We saw kestrels, red kites, buzzards and a stooping peregrine falcon on the journey over, together with lots of gurning on the uphill stretches, of which there were quite a few.
Descending follows climbing though, and we made the best of it! A quick route amendment saw us go around the quieter south side of Bala lake. Comedy moment of the day was when John took a hedge stop high above Llanwchllyn with a view down to the railway station... the same railway station that contained John's family, who looking up high onto the ridge, saw the Corallian top and took a photograph...
Ice-creams back at the campsite felt very well-earned - a tough day riding!