We set off at 08:45, rode the five miles into Barmouth and stopped for coffee and chocolate fudge cake. It was already warm enough to comfortably sit outside the cafe. It was lucky we topped up on the calories as we had to wait until mid afternoon for our lunch. We paid our £1 tolls to ride over Barmouth Bridge and turned off at the former Barmouth Junction station for a short way along the Mawddach trail, formerly the railway trackbed. It’s a lovely level ride to Dolgellau but we didn’t have it so easy, breaking away at Arthog to climb steeply up to a moorland road which afforded super views down to Barmouth, the bridge and the coastline to the north. It was a very hilly route so we made slow progress with all our luggage. We were treated to views of lakes and Cader Idris and the road became a rough track, hard going until the rapid descent to Dyffryn Dysenni and skirting Craig yr Aderyn (Bird rock).
We called into the cafe at Tywyn Wharf station, terminus of the Talyllyn Railway, for a late and much appreciated lunch, not having passed any food outlets since leaving Barmouth. We lingered there for an hour watching the train leave and the next one arrive. Well fed and rested, we enjoyed a great ride along Happy Valley and joined the A493 at Cwrt. We turned off at Pennal for a lovely quiet loop which cut out a section of the main road, then cycled along it into Machynlleth, arriving at 17:15.
We didn’t know of anywhere to stay but a very helpful assistant at the Quarry Shop told us of a bunkhouse just around the corner, run by the man who owns the bike shop. This was perfect for us, we shopped for food, cooked, showered and went for an evening stroll to the Millennium cycle bridge over the Dyfi. The only other occupants were a woman and her son so it was very quiet.