One of my favourite routes in North Wales is the Pont Scethin. Most of the books will say ride it clockwise, but due to erosion on the tracks it’s actually a nicer ride anti-clockwise starting from Bontddu, which is on the road from Dolgeallau to Barmouth (A496).
The route begins with a steady climb on tarmac travelling up towards a farm track where the real climbing begins. Riding over sheep fields and heading up to the saddle before the descent to Pont Scethin, you experience stunning views over the Mawddach estuary and looking towards Cadair Idris (another great ride!). This is the place that I really love to sit for a while and just take it all in, so peaceful and you rarely see a walker or other cyclists up there.
Then begins a fun, technical descent – a loose rock track with quite a bit of technicality descends down, around the hillside, to Pont-Scethin, a quaint old packhorse bridge over the Afon Ysgethin.
This part feels very remote, and you continue on through a little bit of fun bogginess onto a farm track, where you can pick up a little speed down (watch out for the sheep and walkers!) to your next turn off, but all the time looking out to the expanse of Sea below.
After making the turn onto another tarmac track you eventually head off onto farm land again, with gradual incline – but just stunning scenery and coast line the whole time. Eventually you arrive at your second and last technical ascent – this is particularly rocky and if your skills allow is a great challenge – and if not, it’s only a small hike a bike to the gap where you have fantastic views back down towards the coast, or across to the forest where you are heading.
This descent is a lot of fun, loose, rocky and a few turns as you make your way down towards open land and head off down into the forest. One of my favourite sections of this ride is as you are nearing the end, just before you ride into the trees again, you are blessed with a beautiful view down the Afon Mawddach towards the estuary.
The last descent brings you out directly opposite your car, a perfect way to end. Such a remote feeling ride, and although only around 22km you won’t want to add more mileage! I just love the the remoteness and quietness of the ride, and the challenging rocky descents make it all worthwhile. Also, it would be hard to beat the stunning views across hills, mountains and sea, a great summer ride. As it is remote, make sure you are prepared – you will definitely need those energy balls!