A stiff climb along quiet roads to Marchlyn Mawr (2126 ft above sea level) reservoir via the abandoned Dinorwic slate quarry.
Distance: 12 miles
Time: 1.5 hours, longer if you take both options.
At the bottom of the track from Graianfryn, turn right and ride through the village of Penisarwaun. At the crossroads near the end of the village, turn left down the hill and follow the road which brings you out on the A4244. Turn right and almost immediately left through Brynrefail, the road taking you to the head of Llyn Padarn where there is a much photographed view of Snowdon behind the lake.
Turn left just before the lake, riding along its western bank and then up through Fachwen, which comprises a scattering of roadside cottages. Continue up this narrow road until you reach a T junction. Turn right and cycle to the end of the road which terminates in a parking area and turning circle by a path into the huge Dinorwic quarry. Ride round the circle and back almost to the point where you joined this road, but turn right and ride up the hill opposite a bus shelter. The road bends to the left by an old slate bus shelter where quarry workers alighted to walk along Lon Garratt for their arduous day’s work. You can ride along Lon Garratt to the right, lock your bike by the gate and explore some of the quarry as a side trip but we continue along this high level road enjoying the views.
At the T junction, turn right and ascend to the gates which bar the way to unauthorised motor vehicles and lift your bike over the gate. Cross the cattle grid and begin the long relentless climb. When you reach a side road to your right you have two options:
1) Continue straight on to Marchlyn Mawr reservoir. Near the top there is a side road to your left which drops down and if you’ve brought your hiking boots, map and lunch you can ride down here for the walk up to Carnedd y Filiast. We’re out for a short ride so press on to the end of the road which was built to service the reservoir, part of the Dinorwig pumped storage power station.
2) Turn right along the road to Dinorwig surge pond which is also part of the pumped storage configuration. This is an even better ride with fabulous views to your right. On a clear day you can see Holyhead mountain at the far end of Anglesey as well as a magnificent panorama of mountains, the Menai Strait, the Anglesey coast and Puffin Island. The road ends by a locked gate above the abandoned Dinorwic quarry.
Or better still, do both!
Turn round and freewheel back down the road, turning right at the T junction and then left by a post box down the hill to bring you out at the cross roads by Graianfryn.