Cadair Berwyn

When my alarm started blaring out early on a Sunday morning I wasn’t the most enthused about getting out of bed. But when Ryan said it was blue skies outside, I knew I’d regret turning over and falling back to sleep.

We chucked some sandwiches in a bag with our walking stuff and made our way to Pistyll Rhaedr, which isn’t too far from Llangynog. I was expecting the car park to be full, but we were the first ones there! The cafe wasn’t even open to pay to park.

Cadair Berwyn, Wales

We changed our shoes and started to head out of the car park and up into the hills. We could go left to the top of the waterfall or straight to end up at the top of Cadair Berwyn, which is what we wanted to climb.

Cadair Berwyn, WalesCadair Berwyn, Wales

There was nobody else on the path but us and the skies were clear blue. Not even aeroplane trails in sight.

Cadair Berwyn, Wales

With a lot of climbing, stream hopping and bogginess later, Llyn Lluncaws reveals itself. Looking back on the paths we’ve just walked, there no civilisation in sight. No houses or busy roads, just rolling Welsh hills.

But we weren’t at the top yet. We were about to have our breathe taken away once again.

We had the ridge line to climb to say we were at the top, so it only got steeper.

I’m not going to lie, it was tough going, but at the same time it was so pretty up there we just couldn’t wait to see what the view was like from the top.

We finally made it to the top, and had a 360 degree view from the top. Again still on our own.

The rest of the walk we were following in Trail Magazine meant we went up and down nearby hill tops. The next one we got to had a little fort on the top, which meant we could get out of the wind for lunch.

By this point we were both knackered so we’re glad we’d packed an Easter egg to share at the top. And yes we split it straight down the middle!

The later it got through the day we started to see more people making the most of the weather. We even saw a family on one of the peaks and offered to help them take a family photo. I’ve never seen two young boys so happy to be up such a steep hill! We couldn’t let them get a photo without heir Dad in too!

We may have deviated off the path, but we never got round to figure it out. We got caught out in snow drifts we though were solid, but swallowed Ryan’s legs up to his knees! We got stuck in bog and wandered across a hill trying to get back to the path.

As spontaneous as it was, Cadair Berwyn is yet another hill that captured my heart to stay in my collection of memories forevermore.

Going into the hills is such an escape from everyday life. Polar opposite to what I fill my weekdays with. The weekend is when I can explore.

Looking Down On Llandudno Bay

Llandudno Bay

Looking Down On Llandudno Bay

I recently watched the film Wild, which is based on the book by Cheryl Strayed. I much preferred the book to the film, but in both there’s a quote:

“There’s a sunrise and sunset everyday and you can choose to be there or not. You can put yourself in the way of beauty.” – Cheryl Strayed

Granted if it’s pouring down with rain those dramatic sun rays and colours may not make an appearance. And on British soil, those colours are more likely to stay hidden above the clouds than reveal themselves.

But when they do make themselves visible, they can be rather special.

Nestled away in amongst a housing estate was some steps leading to Penrhyn Bay. Following a grassy path, the bay reveals itself with the odd seal resting on the beach. If they weren’t on the beach, their little black heads were popping out from under the waves.

The light was turning golden casting shadows on the waves. Whilst my Dad was taking photos of the seals I kept looking up to the large hill on my left. I look from the bay to the sun and back to the bay.

The curiosity of what the view was like at the top chipping away at me. From that high up it had to be impressive right?

I just had to go up and find out.

Soon enough I was finding my way up the hill whilst battling the wind. I even had to crouch down at one point to wait for the wind to die down so I could cross a particularly open section on the path.

The path began to split and turn in different ways, so I questioned if I’d find my way back to the car again. But I kept following the paths which would lead me to the top.

Making my way over the brow of the hill Llandudno bay came into view. Rays of golden light streaking over the bay and waves.

I’d never seen anything like it. The bay stretched out before me, it had been a long time since I’d seen a view travel so far. I was battling the wind to stay standing upright, but I just didn’t want to leave. I wanted to sit there until the sun disappeared. But with the sunset two hours away…I thought I’d get rather cold!

Forests Not Yet Explored

Thanks to Wonderful You‘s post on Instagram, I heard it was #LoveYourPetDay . So that makes it the perfect opportunity to write about my favourite chocolate beat right?

Due to some back issues I could only manage some hill walking last weekend. I was gutted to not be able to ride my bike, but I was content enough just to be in the hills and the great outdoors. Sometimes exploring by foot means you see that little bit more than you would if you were on a bike.

I spotted the forest on an Instagram post and was intrigued I’d never heard of it before. Coed Llangwyfan nestles itself in amongst the hills near the likes of Moel Arthur. Along a narrow country lane with a ribbon of moss up the centre of it, going in and out of overhanging trees waiting for Spring to come around again, you find a car park surprisingly full. Walkers, from young families to couples alike, passing through the car park as they go from the forest to head up Moel Arthur. Little ones in their wellies racing eachother down the hill.

Jenson eagerly waiting in the back of my car to be let loose in the Welsh hills. He’s soon dragging Ryan around the car park whilst I change into my walking boots. The wind has a slight chill, but the sun meant my big thick winter coat wasn’t required. I let the sun hit my skin whilst filling my lungs with the crisp, clean air as we headed up a muddy track to explore Coed Llangwyfan.

Jenson’s nose taking him in every direction but straight up the path.

The higher we climbed the more the trees began to thin out opening to views of rolling green hills and down into Ruthin.

We only managed a quick loop round the forest as we went over to Moel Arthur to meet Ryan’s family. Moel Arthur made up of rolling fields with the hill top covered in heather. Traipsing through narrow heather lined sheep tracks whilst Jenson constantly going from the back to the front of the group checking everyone was still together. Nancy hopping through the heather like a little rabbit let out of a cage.

We start to descend back down the sometimes slippy path to the car park with Jenson unable to resist fully submerging himself in the muddiest of puddles. Although once back in the car it’s not long till he’s fast asleep as we drive home.

Going walking without a chocolate bear to constantly watch what mischief he’s going to get up to next always feels rather odd. If you’ve ever had a four-legged friend I guess you’ll know exactly what I mean.

So Happy #LoveYourPetDay !

Trail Running and Labradors

I was suppose to be meeting Ffion at Llandegla, but after waking up with a sore upper body after going a little too hard in the gym, for some reason I thought I’d go running at Llandegla instead. I don’t get to see/walk Jenson much these days, so I brought him along too.

We parked up in Llandegla and went to see where the running trails started. It felt weird seeing the #GirlsAtLlandegla posters up! I can’t wait to see everyone riding the trails!

I eventually found the start of the running trails and could let Jenson off the lead. His tail was up and wagging. He loves it in the forest and I’m pretty sure it’s because of all the muddy puddles.

I’ve not been running for a while and it felt good to do it again really. It’s just simple. Chuck your running trainers in the car (possibly a dog too if there’s one available) and find a forest to go and run around.

I desperately wanted to go and ride my mountain bike, but the downpours forecast on the weather didn’t fill me with confidence.

There’s two 10km running trails at Llandegla, the red or the blue. As much as I’d like to think I could get round the red, the vertical inclines up a boggy bank that the red entailed meant I’d leave it for another day. The blue was enough really. There were plenty of hills for me and Jenson to get up to get my glutes burning…and that they did!

I’m not going to be the ‘hero’ and say I ran all the way round. I had to have a few breaks and I couldn’t not take a few photos right?

When the running trails went away from the mountain bike ones, the forest was so quiet. Seeing all of the mountain bikers ride past with mud splattered faces, part of me did feel a little jealous. But I couldn’t have brought Jenson if I was mountain biking.

On one part where the running trail runs near the start of the long climb on the red MTB trail, I just assumed Jenson had followed a scent into the bushes.

“Oh hello”

He decided to go and say hello to the mountain bikers…

Thankfully they were happy mountain bikers and didn’t bother too much! Ha!

Once Jenson and I had got back to the car park and had past the 10km finish post I just wandered back to the car.

Only the have a young shredder racing through the car park with his Dad and the BIGGEST grin on his muddy face. You could tell he had love every second of being out on his bike.

Next thing his Dad is saying close to their van…

“Ready…ready…go!”

And they skid round the corner to their van in sync. The young lad must have been about 5 years old. 5 years old and he was skidding in sync with his Dad.

That is what cycling is about…having the BIGGEST grin on your face.

I mentioned about the posters for Girls At Llandegla and I thought I’d post the links again here in case you’ve lost them! So…

Click here for the blog post!

Click here to book on!

Girls, Gossip and Bikes

When you’re a child you always want to be older, but as an adult you’ll often want to be a child again. Keeping in contact with friends was so much simpler back then, but as an adult there’s always something on the to-do list.

With some time off over Christmas I’ve thankfully been able to catch up with friends I’ve not seen for so long! Including Ffion who I’ve been up to Llandegla with today. With both of us having assignments to be handed in, catching up with each other hasn’t been that easy. Yet today both of us has some time to go and ride round Llandegla. We could have maybe gone somewhere a bit different as I ride there so much, but my confidence on the bike lately isn’t great!

Parking up at Llandegla I’d made sure to wrap up warm, although with the 10 degrees temperatures it turned out I didn’t need to. We pedalled our way to the top with conversation in full flow.

Going round the two berms right at the top of the forest we knew we’d both want to stop to take some photos of the view. With even more logging taking place at the top of the forest, it made way for being able to see fog sitting at the bottom of the valley. With all the times I’ve been to Llandegla, I’ve never seen anything similar happen.

With the start of the black closed off we followed the red round, whilst I was forever in the wrong gear. I’ve somehow still not got use to having two chain rings as opposed to 3, or I’m just more familiar with road bike gearing these days…

The forest was rather quiet, so we didn’t see too many people out on the trails, which helped make it a really relaxed ride. We stopped a few times, then quickly started pedalling again after realising we’d been chatting for 20 minutes.

Rolling back down to the trail centre I washed my bike down whilst Ffion tried out the Freeride. I don’t think me or my bike would have coped with that…ha! However, thanks to a revamped section at the top of the red I did actually manage to get my bike off the ground…I think!

With a piece of doorstop toast & cheese on top and an americano (although I was torn between the toast or a cake!), we both refuelled before heading home. I also had a quick chat with the guys at Llandegla about next year’s event ‘Girls at Llandegla‘, which I’m super excited about now! It’s registered with Help For Heroes now, I just need to make a few adjustments to the poster and I can fully get to work on organising it after everyone’s had a great Christmas & New Year.

Maybe you know someone with a New Year’s Resolution of trying a new sport or exercising more…why not bring them to ‘Girls At Llandegla’?

Should we turn around?

A catch up with Ellen was long overdue and we decided to meet at the rather amazing cafe by the reservoir at Llyn Brenig. However I did get an intense feeling of guilt when I couldn’t reply to the lady working behind the till in Welsh…she did speak English too thankfully, but can I even call myself Welsh if I can’t speak a word of the language…ha!

Breakfast butties on the way and hot chocolates in tow, we chatted away as us girls always do.

Ryan had gone off to clock up some miles on his road bike near the reservoir, so Ellen & I went for what I thought would be a quick wander round the reservoir.

How on earth did I manage to forget how big the reservoir was?

We just kept walking…and walking…and walking, up to the point where Ellen mentioned we turn back. But I thought it would be a good idea to carry on. We kept on walking but were slowly questioning whether we where walking round in circles.

Wandering along the path there were so many pre-cut Christmas trees around, which was rather random. They’d been cut down but not taken home to be covered in tinsel and fairy light. Such a waste…ha! The temptation to take on home was so big!

9 miles later I felt incredibly guilty for making Ryan wait for so long, as he’d only been out for 2 hours…we’d been 3. Not to mention the fact Ellen hadn’t got the comfiest of shoes either!

It was good to get away from the chaos that seems to unfold at Christmas though. No busy supermarkets or to-do lists to tick off. Just spending time with friends like Christmas should be.

Bodnant Garden

This is somewhere which I’ve wanted to go for such a long time. It’s so easy to just get absorbed into estate gardens when you walk around them. So many paths with the only decision required is which path to take next.

Either way, this is where Ryan and I spent our Sunday and the closer we got to the garden the further the sun came from behind the clouds. Some might say we lucked out really!

This little guy started to follow us round!

Clocking up the Miles to Pass the Time

When Lucy said she was doing a Breeze course in Bangor, I thought that sounded like a great idea to go with her and enjoy a nice ride in Snowdonia as I waited for her.After it was planned I then found out that the course was running 9.00-17.00.

I now had a lot of time to fill, so I foolishly decided to go and ride 100 miles.
Lucy had started her course and I was left to faff about and get ready to ride. Heavy rain didn’t make me hugely enthusiastic about the idea though. Eventually the rain stopped and I thought this was my window. I headed out to Llanberis, which was the first major climb of the day, the Pen-y-Pass. Spray off the road made it impossible to stay dry.


The Pen-y-Pass is a fairly enjoyable climb. It reels you in with a nice gentle gradient at first before properly kicking up towards the summit. At the foot of the climb the weather looked to be improving, so I had removed my waterproof and gloves, only to layer back up for the cold and foggy descent. I shot down the other side through the fog and intermittent rain showers into Betws-y-Coed and then onto the next, and hardest, climb of the day.


The small village of Trefriw isn’t known for much, but it’s where the climb of the Old Cowlyd starts. This bit of road is insane, its been described as the hardest climb in the UK. While the Pen-y-Pass starts gently, the Cowlyd delivers a sucker punch from the outset. 

Have you ever climbed something so steep your feet hurt? 

Well that’s what the Cowlyd has in store. The almost relentless gradient eases off slightly about halfway (but not enough to leave your easiest gear) and then you hit the hairpins. All 8 of them back to back and incredibly steep. Never have I wanted a climb to end so badly. 

20 minutes of pain and suffering later I finally made it to the top.

Now it was the short ride back to Betws and onto the Crimea Pass, which would take me to Blaenau Ffestiniog. The Crimea is one of the few wide roads in the area and again starts out fairly steady with a few kicks, until you get to the last mile which really hurts. About half way up the heavy rain returned. Rain heavy enough to cause a car to loose traction and almost spin a full 360 degrees right in front of me. This ride was turning out to be quite eventful to say the least.


If climbing the Crimea was bad the decent was even worse. It was cold and wet with the rain drops like tiny bullets hitting my face.

Yet I was stubborn enough to have the Stwlan Dam as the next thing to tackle.

This dead end service road is closed to traffic and takes you up to the Dam at the top. The road snaked up the mountain with hairpins thrown in for good measure.


It was such a relief to find there was a cafe near the bottom. The kind ladies in there took pity on the drenched cyclist and made me an extra strong coffee and served up my order of egg and beans on toast in no time at all. I threw the food down my throat and then tried to warm up and dry out some of my kit.


After warming up a bit and plucking up the courage to continue, I set off but only to find myself cold again!

Now on the lumpy road to Beddgelert, the further I went the nicer the weather got. However, from Beddgelert I was riding on the long drag up to Rhyd-Ddu, which isn’t the steepest of roads really.


With fresh legs it’s hardly anything. But with legs battered by 2000m of climbing over the 77 miles I’d ridden? It hurt and went on forever.

After that it was over to Caernarfon and along the coastal cycle path back to Bangor. I was glad for a bit of flat riding as every little hill struck pain into my legs.


I got to Bangor with 96 miles on my Garmin, and although I was very tired, I couldn’t stop that close to the full 100. So after a couple of laps around some random streets I finished up at the university to find Lucy sat in the car having just finished her course. Not bad timing really.

Welsh Crit Champs 2017

What does it look like from distance? 

A group of people riding round a circuit in a set time plus 5 laps. The first person to cross the line after those 5 laps wins….

Ok, so I’m not selling that one very well. Hopefully I can do better if you read on.

Welsh Crit Champs wasn’t my first ever Crit race, but I’m certainly not an expert at it. I’d done a few ‘races’ where I actually just ended up being in the men’s race and consequently riding round on my own. There was one women’s race, but the circuit felt way too small for the amount of riders on it, but Welsh Crit Champs was most certainly different to all of those.

It was a circuit around the showground in Builth Wells (so a great size for racing!) and they had a women’s race with 11 competitors. I actually had someone to race against…winner.

Granted, those competitors were much stronger than an amateur like me, but still…the best I could do was try right?

If it’s not already obvious, Welsh Crit Champs was another spur of the moment entry. It sounded good at the time and I threw an entry in before they closed. 

Turning up, Welsh Cycling branding was everywhere (as would probably be expected) and lots of ‘team’ kits. I felt a bit out of place without team kit, but I am rather fond of my ASSOS shorts and Threo jersey combo right now…

Fashion choices aside…I needed to decide whether I’d actually sign on. It really felt like I was coming down with some sort of bug. A bug that actually turned out to be nerves.

I cast aside feeling unwell and decided to just get on with it. I had dragged Ryan all this way afterall…

With a few laps round the track to warm up, I soon found myself trying to keep up with the girls in my race. I quickly decided I was out of my depth. 


But…then I did actually manage to keep up with a small group of girls. We were sort of working as a team to get round, but with my lack of road knowledge, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was doing. Basically, everyone is suppose to take a turn on the front to ride into the wind, whilst the others sit on your tail. Taking turns is suppose to be quicker and less exhausting than riding alone.

40 minutes of trying to figure out what everyone else’s tactics were, my head had turned to mush. Yet, I still had the 5 extra laps to go before the finish!

A bad move by me which meant I finished the race leading the group around for two laps also meant I didn’t finish where I wanted to. Yet I still had great fun out there. It felt good to have girls to race against and push past mental barriers I’ve not been able to push past before. 

With all of the negative press cycling seems to be getting at the minute, it was great to see so many girls enjoying the sport still. Hopefully only more will come to enjoy it as much as I do.

Performance Enhancing Pugs

I was so close to curling up on the sofa and watching a film on Sunday. I didn’t feel 100% and wasn’t sure how that would pair with a hilly road ride. There’s nothing worse than being unwell on a road ride!

However, another scorching day dragged me out of the house. I tried not to think about the long climb ahead on the route Ryan had planned. I just kept turning the pedals hoping my burning legs would quieten down soon. 

The route went from trying not to fall put of a trackstand at traffic lights to ever rising and winding country lanes, one of which I was lagging behind Ryan a bit. Suddenly out pops a Pug from the hedge a the side of the road, hopelessly trying to catch up to Ryan.

I don’t think anyone will have ever seen a Pug runs so fast. 


When she (i.e. Bella the Pug) realised her short legs couldn’t quite keep up, she came running back down the hill to me. Only to the. go and do a little excitable wee on the floor, which was thankfully not all over me as I then picked her up to stop her getting in any more trouble!

So we were out on a road ride and now with a Pug in tow…

What on earth do we do with a Pug?

I didn’t even have my bum bag with me to squeeze it into and take it home…damn!

Ha, no. Ryan went further up the hill to see if Bella had got free from her lead. I tried to calm a rather excitable Pug down, which in all fairness was not that easy! I had no idea how full of energy they were!

Ryan had no success so we went down to the houses further down the hill. Wherever this Pug had come from, with all the excitement Bella certainly needed a drink. Hearing a voice in one of the gardens we went to ask for water for the Pug, for that garden to be where Bella had actually escaped from. 

So one Pug was safely returned and it put me in such a good mood for the rest of our loop in the Welsh Hills. Somehow Ryan coped with me going on and on about how cute Bella was. My aching legs disappeared and I sprinted up the next few hills.


I was so glad Ryan convinced me I’d feel better when I was out on the bike. The ride just got more and more surreal. The views looked different and I couldn’t help myself from stopping to take it all in. World’s End was like a corridor of purple heather and on the Panorama the views went on forever. 


We got back later than expected, but it was such a funny and picturesque ride we just ended up in hysterics every time we spoke about it. 


I hope everyone had a Bank Holiday Weekend as amazing as mine. I got to spend it with such lovely people, it put me in the best mood for the week ahead.