I managed to persuade a staff member and a friend to come along for this ride. It was during the heatwave in August, temperatures were getting close to 30C, so we all packed minimal kit except for our water supply. I had done parts of the route before (about 6 years ago and Tony broke his ribs on the ride!), but with little time to plan and a quick scan over google Earth and the Ordnance Survey maps, a 25KM route was picked. We started in a village just outside Corwen and went straight into a long climb, it was steep to begin with, so we set our own pace. The climb gradually became steadier and the chatting resumed. We took an opportunity on the flatter sections to take some photographs of the views and take on some food. After what seemed like an hour’s worth of continuous uphill, we got to the bottom of the Wayfarer route, the short and technical climb awaited us.
The Wayfarer route is a green lane, so whilst on the climb 3 motorbikes passed us and nodded to say hello. We rested on the summit and signed the visitors book, the book indicated that the route is very popular with D of E but apart from the motorbikers, we had yet to see anyone else out (and it was a Saturday too). We then started the long descent, picking our separate lines down the hill and riding over the wooden boards that covered the marshy bits. We carried on until we came to a sheep path that would lead us over a nearby hill. We found the path easily enough to start with but by the end of the climb, it had turned into a hike-a-bike section (my routes are infamous for including hike-a-bike sections!). The path thinned out so much that we eventually lost the path! Once on the small summit top, we had a drink and set about finding the way down.
It soon became clear that the small sheep path to the Grouse shooting huts did not exist in real life (Google Earth to blame…), so we had to push our bikes downhill. Jack and Tony were less than impressed with having to push the bikes downhill, especially in the high temperatures. It took a while to reach the bottom of the descent, I fell over a few times as my legs kept on finding small holes to sink it. More by look, we found a dried up stream that would take us safely to the valley bottom.
Once in the valley, so refreshed ourselves in a stream, took on little something to eat and started on the final climb of the day. It was a tricky climb as the path had worn away, leaving only a thin section of the path the ride on. Once again, the climb was a mixture of riding and pushing. Once at the top, we noticed that the clouds were rolling in and it was getting darker. It was only 3pm, so it could only mean one thing, thunder! We donned our waterproof coats and set off for the final descent. The descent started off quite technical, the path was rutted so we had to be careful not to get caught in the middle of the ruts. Once we got in to the forest, the path widened and it enabled us to ride flat out back to the car with huge grins on our faces. It was a tough day out, 25Km done in 5 hours, our water supply ran out on the last climb but we finished off the day with an ice-cream. Perfect!