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'
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
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
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.
the whole feature in
text only form.
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.
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.> Page 2
Llys Ednowain Hostel
Coed y Brenin
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.