Setting off behind the car park was a small lane that would cut the corner off and save half the slog up the Minera Steps. A slight hill climb practice up a no through road set us up for the long 20% climb proper up and onto the top to Cymau village. After apologising for the rather hilly start (there was no mention of chevrons on the OS map!) we ducked out of the village down the steep twisting River Lane ending at a ford. A couple of brave bikers rode it, but the rest of us took the bridge. An equally steep twisting ascent took us up to the Steps road – Ray S decided to change his front inner tube by the ford so we regained our breath whilst we waited for him. The rest of the route of about 10 miles was all up hill. Cutting right of the Steps Road into Bwlchgwyn (translates as “White Pass”) and across the A525, we reach the top and onto the Old Road. Taking the lane to the Llandegla outdoor centre, we ran parallel to the Ruthin Road. A left at the traffic lights took us up to the roundabout signposted left for the Horseshoe Pass. We agreed to stop at the Ponderosa to regain our legs. It became noticeably cold and windier as the advance guard arrived ready to use the facilities. Once the rest arrived, an unscheduled tea-break ensued. Good for morale I reflected, after a lot of climbing to get here.
Dave and Mike decided to take the main road down and meet us at the Sun Trevor Pub on the Wrexham side of Llangollen. After carefully briefing the remaining riders about the steepness of the old Horseshoe Pass road and the fact we would take the first left to access the Panorama road, we set off down the lane brakes well engaged. A certain slim Trek rider zoomed past and into the distance and out of view. We six all took the left lane to get us to the Panorama road. It became quickly evident that we were missing a slim Trek rider. Ten minutes later my mobile rings – “Where are you? I’m at so-and-so”. New directions were given via the main roads to the Sun Trevor. Meanwhile we six enjoyed the panoramic views of the Llangollen valley and Dinas Bran ruins. Arriving at the Sun Trevor we were very soon joined by the errant three. There is always a warm welcome at the Sun Trevor with good real ale and fare with a window seat to boot. The return route took us past the Bryn Howell Hotel and down the back lanes passing the aqueduct canal basin and into Cefn Mawr high street (very sorry state) and onto Ruabon. There is nothing pretty around here so the back road to Wrexham found us twisting this way and that around the A483, finally arriving at the Sainsbury’s roundabout. The Summerhill road beckoned and it gradually went uphill and largely parallel to the busy Wrexham to Hope road. A short stretch of this road found us back at the start with the Deli café shut. Four of us set off back for Chester via Sandy Lane Kinnerton making a 60 miler with lots of hills.
See route map and/or gpx file download.