Caernarfon to Rhyd Ddu WHR Link Cycle or Running Route
|24.13 km||357 m|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Start and Finish:
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Caernarfon to Rhyd Ddu WHR Link Cycle or Running Route Route Map and GPX Download
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Caernarfon to Rhyd Ddu WHR Link Cycle or Running Route Details
This is a straightforward cycle route between the Caernarfon Welsh Highland Railway station and the station in Rhyd Ddu. Can also be done as a stunning road run, highly recommended. You can use the train to return to Caernarfon, or if you want to avoid the climbs, just reverse the route.
Start off from the Welsh Highland Railway station at Caernarfon, and follow the Lon Las Eifion for 11km, as far as Llanllyfni. You’ll find a path off to your left that marks the turning point, and a quiet country lane to follow into the village.
You will need to turn left and follow the once main road, but it’s quiet and only for a few minutes until you reach the right hand junction marked Tanyrallt 1. Follow this country lane for 2.5 km. There’s little to see, but it’s pleasant enough.
Once you reach the B4418, the going is a bit more unpleasant as you’ll need to follow this B Road into Nantlle for the next 3km. At least the views over Llyn Nantlle Uchaf, the second Isaf lake having been used to tip slate waste, make up for it. If this were the Lake District, it would be swarming with tourists and you’ll be able to buy Nantlle souveniers. Thankfully, it’s much quieter but you can’t help but think that they’re getting a raw deal. I’d imagine that it’s partially as it’s the ‘wrong’ side of Snowdonia for visiting walkers, and that there actually aren’t many decent paths onto the hill from here. There were a few temporary Tir Cynnal footpaths, hardly used, under publicised and a seriously missed opportunity for all involved.
Follow the road through Nantlle, a village that has the spectacular backdrop of the Nantlle Ridge to one side and slate tips to the other. I did wish it was in the Lake District at that point, as it would then probably have a pub, and I was over heating! This is the point to take a breather, in preparation for a bit of a climb at the head of the valley.
There may be a relentless climb to Rhyd Ddu, but it’s barely a 150m climb. The looming crags of Craig y Bera, the more rugged end of Mynydd Mawr, dominate the view and keep you sufficiently distracted.
If you wanted to extend the route by around 8km, you could take Lon Gwyrfai – Rhyd Ddu to Beddgelert – from the sharp corner in the road, rather than follow it across direct to the Rhyd Ddu Station. You’ll need a rugged bike for that route, so the road may be a safer bet if you haven’t got a hybrid or mountain bike. As a bonus, the Cwellyn Arms makes up for the lack of a pub and facilities beforehand!