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The New Pink Heifer   page 1

The Pink Heifer includes two sections which will never appear on the MBR or any other post-marked route. The one for those not married to 'follow the arrows' rides. 

Total distance 26K (16.2 miles) Outdoor Leisure No.18 Snowdonia (Harlech). Note: A very useful map is available from the visitor centre priced at 1.50. Note the map has all the trails marked but does NOT indicate the Heifer trails. Follow our easy description instead.
Pink Heifer Route Details
Where is Coed y Brenin?
Recommended accomodation less than 3 miles from Coed y Brenin:

Certain Death?
The Pink Heifer, it's the stuff of legends. Developed from an original route of Dafydd Davies' the Heifer route is on the far side of the main road from the visitor centre in the Coed y Brenin Forest. It shares some trails with the MBR and Karrimor, but is much more than either of these. A large figure of eight with the second loop the longest, this longer loop can easily be ridden twice, forming the incomparable Pink Heifer X2. In the Summer the MTB Britain crew have been known to do the X2 followed immediately by the Red Bull. Ouch.
As many of you know the Summer (HAH!) of 2001 saw the destruction of several large bridges at Coed y Brenin. (Note now all re-built. Ed.) The original route of the Heifer crossed three of these, one of which was impossible to ford without risking your life (certain death on many days!). So out came the maps and a rough plan to forge a new route avoiding two of the un-crossable chasms, the third stream was easily crossed.

We followed the route as normal almost to the first smashed bridge, then took a short fire-road on to the Karrimor, thence up an unknown and funky 'green doubletrack' to who knows where? And that's where it went, nowhere! Nowhere has now been found and placed firmly on the map. Useful. So we tried another tack, we back tracked up the Karrimor for just over a mile to where another 'dotted line' suggested there had once been a trail (5 years is a long time in logging land) At first there appeared to be nothing there. I did a fair impersonation of Basil Faulty looking for the Duck a la orange inside the trifle by diving in to the worlds densest wall of Christmas trees looking for the 'Lost Trail'. There was nothing to see but more trees growing as they do at CyB, on an impossibly steep hillside (almost a cliff). Out with the magnifying glass and the tiny map to see if more detail could be extracted from the rather optimistic dotted line. Perhaps it did show the start a little further along the main trail? Hopes of this sank as it became apparent that the main trail (remember this is part of the famous Karrimor) was almost overgrown with 'teenage' conifers which all but touch in the middle of the track. But then, what's this? he cries, with dramatic effect... An opening.

Print Text! the whole feature in text only form.


The Edge
The lads weren't about to follow me on another David Bellamy style root in to the undergrowth, so I alone followed a soon to be lovely little trail, a tad masked by undisturbed fallen pine needles. Mmmmm, what's this? it drops over a solid rock outcrop, then turns about and becomes a narrow path along the steep hillside (straight down would be suicide). I called the lads down and we took some pictures (good job I had my 800 ASA film, this bit is darker than a cave) as they dutifully dropped over the rock and carved the right hander. These boys are pretty good! We carried on, on the narrow trail with an unhealthy drop to the left. Only the ever present baby fir trees would catch you if you stray leftwards. Crikey, is that a drop-off, on this narrow a ledge? With heart pounding I went for it, this was no time for brakes! Next a loose double switch-back, tasty, then the trail splits both ways around a rock, both looked dodgy! Finally it continues to traverse over slippery rocks and gets all off-camber before popping out at a place I must have seen a dozen times! Right next to the one and only surviving bridge! Deep joy. 

Steep Alternative
After you cross the spectacular foot bridge a steep climb takes you up past the ruins of an old stone copper smelter and soon after drops down and crosses a small (sometimes deep) stream. Since the MBR was re-routed through here, the rocks of the stream bed have been re-arranged leaving an easier task of riding through. It's still not too easy though! The main problem is the right turn and climb up out of the water which is do-able if you have the confidence. A steep singletrack climb takes you to the top of the infamous 'Dragons Tail'. This starts with a fast rutted singletrack and is long with two flat sections which can get a bit muddy. The second flat section has a small climb and then let go those brakes for some real fun. After a 200 yard singletrack descent a drop-off signals the felled section and a rocky left hander takes you to a new flat, tight and disappointing right switchback to a long traverse of the hill. But, you don't want to do that! Instead, immediately after the rocky left hander, bear right on grassy singletrack aiming directly for the single fence piece barrier. Drop over the MBR motorway and take the narrow singletrack directly behind the barrier. Now you're on the Dragons Tail proper, follow this steep narrow rut as it swoops right and then left down to the trees. As you enter the trees the trail bears left and then widens over tree roots before you take your pick of dodgy drop-offs down to the riverside road.
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Llys Ednowain Hostel Coed y Brenin

Accomodation close to Coed y Brenin. Sleeps 18 people in 4 centrally heated rooms, en suite with showers, with linen and duvets provided. The accommodation offers a private car park, fully equiped kitchen, computers, washing machine and dryer.

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