Llyn Brianne loop 112km (70 miles) 2069m elevation
A long day in the saddle to get you out into the hills, test your climbing legs with good coffee and cake stops. A hard route but with spectacular scenery taking you from Aberaeron to Lampeter past Dolau Coyhi Gold Mine and around Llyn Brianne reservoir, one of the most remote places in Wales. Make sure you carry spare tubes and fuel up big style on your breakfast. Not much phone signal for a big chunk.
From the Harbourmaster you cycle on the A487north for a mile, as you climb out of the village of Aberarth you turn right for the Treagaron road. A steep climb follows for half a mile then it’s a gradual climb through the villages of Pennant, Cross Inn (shop and pub), Bethania and Pen Uwch which gets you to over a 1000ft. Keep on going all the way to Tregaron enjoying the splendid views of the Cambrian mountains and back to the coast.
Tregaron 17miles into the journey is a good place for a coffee and cake. There is a cafe, the famous Talbot Hotel and shops to stock up.
After Tregaron it gets wild. Take the Abergwesyn road, which is my favourite road in Wales. It is a single track old drovers road which meanders through spartan mountain scenery. It is a road made famous in cycling by the Milk Races of the 70s and 80s. You climb all the way to over 1500ft with challenging ramps. After the climb there’s a well-earned descent (watch out for dull sheep) all the way down to Soar y Mynydd – keep following signs for Rhandirmwyn. Once you cross a metal bridge you turn right for Llyn Brianne reservoir that was built in the early 70s. (If you turn left it takes you in a couple of miles to the Devil’s Staircase climb, only 1.3km long but ramps of over 20%. You have to be a masochist to add this to your ride – but each to his own !) Just past the kiosk turn right for a couple of miles and then a cork takes you left towards Rhandirmwyn.
This road is quite stunning and is undulating for 8 fabulous miles miles following the damn. It really is spectacular.
By this time you are in the upper reaches of the wooded Towy and Cothi valleys. From here you make your way through the small hamlets of Cwrt y Cadno, past the Dolau Cothi Gold Mines (cafe with good cakes and filter coffee) to Pumsaint where you get to the main road. Turn right towards Lampeter, and a steady climb up to Tafarn Jem then a fast descent down towards Cwm Ann and Lampeter.
Once in Lampeter lots of cafes, pubs and shops to get you fuelled for the last 13 miles home along the A382, although an A road never gets really busy. Once back in Aberaeron shower or a bath straight down to the bar where you can boast / bore both locals and visitors alike about your epic trip to the mountains.