The second of
the rides we have ridden from the routes on Offroad
Adventures Online. Check out their routes guides for details
if you're inspired. This one is a long way away but well worth
making the effort for on sunny day.
Halfway between the middle of nowhere and the back end of beyond it's not surprising that
llyn Brianne reservoir is less well known than some MTB hot spots. This doesn't mean you should give it a wide berth though, far from it. We had one of our most memorable rides of the year there and go quite misty eyed at the mere mention of the deserted Doethie Valley.
At this point it's only fair to admit that the stunningly perfect weather had just a little to do with our rose tinted Oakley view point. But if the weather is at all kind when you go, you will surely find yourself defending the long journey to and from the reservoir car park. We arrived a little later than planned and rushed to kit up after the long journey. The ride begins strangely with a short, steep climb up the side of the reservoir dam and across a modern motorway style bridge which towers above the hydro-electric sluice gates.
Once across here the climbing continues on a wide, rough access road which rises and falls this way and that and affords panoramic views over lake
llyn Brianne. Eventually the same stony road turns right and we shoved our chains on to the large ring for a pedal propelled plummet towards the chapel at Soar y
At the bottom there are two alternative routes, the first and longer option is to continue on to the chapel and then hike up the fiendishly steep and laughingly long double-track to your left.
This catapults you up on to a rolling moorland trail and soon after sucks you down a dangerous (but fun:-) rocky double, much like the climb in reverse.
Stopping for the small gate on your left, one hundred vertical yards above the bottom, requires big hydraulic brakes and a big serving of bike handling skills. Once through here you are on one of the longest and prettiest natural singletracks in Wales (Hurrah!). Being Wales of course it has many boggy bits and several quite simply soggy pits. But don't let this put you off, this trail is exquisite with one or two surprising challenges and also it wins our 'cute deserted trail of the year award'. A title not to be taken lightly...
The Grassy Knoll
At one point the narrow path evaporates and leaves you lost on a grassy knoll in the middle of a striking steep sided valley. We didn't care, we were having one of those not too rare, but so-sweet-they're-ecstatic moments where the burble of running water far below is the loudest sound and the sun shines through your soul. As the grass steepened and became a cliff dead ahead we realised we had strayed off to the right. With no fences and only faint trails on the grass this sort of meandering is a dead certainty. It's not important though, you can't be far lost heading down one side of such a narrow valley.
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