Distance 412 km
Elevation gain: 10,800 metres
GPX file download
Link to photos
This is a bikepacking route around North Wales, designed by Tom Bruce as a training route for the Highland Trail 550. It is a difficult route, with over 10,000 metres of climbing in just over 410 km. The route is designed to start and finish in Mold, Flintshire, which is very accessible but it can be started and finished at any point on the loop. The loop is to be ridden anticlockwise.
The intent is to ride the route as fast as you are able while adhering to the set of rules listed below. You are expected to navigate the unmarked course entirely on your own. There are no waymarkers or checkpoints on the course, only a downloadable gpx file. Map navigation is not part of the challenge, so for efficiency and safety a GPS unit is recommended.
It is an unofficial challenge that is not sanctioned in any way, with no organisation, and no support. All this website provides is the route, the rules, a suggested start time, and a list of riders who have completed the challenge. A maximum time limit is set at 72 hours for your ride to be included in the register of successful completions.
Highlights of this stunning route include:
The Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB
Many of the most beautiful lakes in Wales, including Llyn Brenig, Llyn Alwen, Llyn Vyrnwy
Trails through the UNESCO World Heritage Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales
Snowdonia, including an ascent of Snowdon
The Snowdonia coast between Cricceith and Porthmadog
5 world class mountain biking trail centres at: Penmachno, Gwydir Mawr, Coed y Brenin, Dyfi Forest, Llandegla
Bwlch y Groes, the second highest road pass in Wales
The Berwyn Range
The route takes you over some very challenging terrain including an ascent to the top of Snowdon, at an altitude of over 1,000 metres, which can provide a very challenging climate. There are hike-a-bike sections and some technical descents, so the use of a mountain bike is recommended. Please take some cash to put into the honesty box at penmachno trail centre as you pass - it helps funds trail maintenance.
Complete the entire route, under your own power - no drafting
Be completely self-supported throughout the ride - absolutely no support crews, absolutely no gear sharing
Only use commercial services that are available to all challengers - no private resupply, no private lodging
If you have to leave the route, you must rejoin it at the exactly same spot
No caches of any kind
No third-party sag-wagon offering an easy bail-out option
No pre-arranged support, which means before you begin your ride - e.g. booking a B&B
No travel by any motorized means during your ride - by all means do so if necessary, but understand if you do your attempt is over
Gear - nothing required, nothing prohibited
The Snowdon Voluntary Cycling Agreement must be adhered to, so plan your attempt accordingly: https://www.cyclingnorthwales.co.uk/pages/snowdn_volunt.htm. If you arrive at Llanberis at the wrong time to attempt Snowdon and don't wish to wait for an allowed time of day, you could divert via the telegraph valley route to continue your ride, however your attempt will not be counted as a completion
The Llandegla forest trails should be ridden only during trail centre opening hours unless by pre-arrangement with One Planet Adventure (https://oneplanetadventure.com/). An alternative route from the Offa’s Dyke bridleway on Ruabon Moor, to the far side of Nercwys Forest is available here if you arrive at Llandegla forest when the trail centre is closed.
While riding any of the trail centre routes, temporary closures or diversions may be in place. Please follow these diversions and rejoin the official route at the first opportunity, your attempt will be valid. Please email tom (email@example.com) with any news of diversions on the route.
Tom Bruce: 49 hours, 58 minutes, 40 seconds