Big news – Hit the Hills weekends now include guided rides!

mountain bike guiding

Coed-y-brenin is by far the most popular choice for Hit the Hills guests. It makes sense; there are loads of great all weather trails and you don’t need a map as it’s all waymarked. You can read a guide I wrote about it here.

As good as trail centres are, there are some amazing natural trails out there gagging to be ridden; trouble is for a lot of people they are either leading a group of mates around and don’t want to be stopping to map read every 15 minutes or they can’t map read!

On the weekends I have used professional guides it’s definitely elevated them to the next level, it removes the hassle of map reading, helps guests discover the absolute best trails in the area and adds to the overall enjoyment of the weekend.

So I am therefore delighted to now be able to offer professional guiding for all of the locations Hit the Hills operates out of across Wales and England. Included in the price is a Saturday ride (with an option to book for Sunday too) with a fully qualified and insured local guide so you can get the absolute best out of the weekend.

So can offer guided rides at the the following locations, click on the links for more info:

North Wales

Berwyn Hills
Llanberis (Snowdon)
Llyn Crafnant

Peak District
Bamford
Edale

Yorkshire Dales
Chapel-le-dale
Hubberholme

Shropshire
All Stretton – Long Mynd

Lake District
Ambleside – details TBC

Looking for something else? Get in touch to discuss – Contact Us.

Accommodation for Mountain Bikers

If you are planning a cycling trip away then you need some accommodation that is aimed at mountain bikers especially if there is a large group of riders, here a guide to what to look for.

Mountain biking trails1. Near the trails

The most important thing! The accommodation needs smack bang in the middle of best mountain biking routes. You want to be able to ride from the trails from the door at most have them a very short drive away.

2. Relaxed atmosphere

Doesn’t matter whether it’s a hotel, B&B or self-catering you want to feel relaxed. Chances are it  will be the weekend and you will be away with your mates, a cycling club or even a combination of the two; so you want to be staying somewhere down to earth, welcoming and with like-minded people.  On a recent Hit the Hills weekend one of the guests commented that they usually stay in B&B’s and always feel like they are staying at the in-laws and must be on their best behaviour!

secure  bike storage accommodation3. Bike Storage

Chances are your bike will be worth a few quid  so you will want to keep it locked up securely and out of sight. Always pick somewhere where that offers secure bike storage.

4. Pub nearby

Mountain biking is thirsty work so you most definitely want to be able to get a few beers in at some point during the weekend. Ideally the pub will be within walking distance but sometimes it’s worth putting in the extra effort to get that special  pub that can make the weekend even better.

5. Food

catered accommodation It can be a hassle organizing meals for large groups of people or doing the cooking (and washing up) yourself after a ride if you are going self-catering. It’s always best therefore to stay somewhere with a restaurant nearby or even better somewhere that is catered so there s even less things to organise.

Hope that helps in your search for accommodation for cycling trips and groups. If you fancy staying at Hit the Hills and having an awesome time please get in touch or book online.

 

Some thoughts about the food we provide

When I started Hit the Hills I had certain ideas, some of these ideas have proved very popular but the odd one or two quickly got dropped. I wanted two talk about two thing I did last year that proved very popular.

First off scrapped giving out mars bars with the packed lunches and replaced them with homemade flapjacks with a recipe courtesy of Nigel Slater. They things are immense! I make them in batches on friday night so they have time to relax, creating the perfect crumbling and sticky texture. Perfect trail food, everybody loves them!

The other thing I did was to replace the bacon sandwich option with a full english (or welsh) breakfast. Suprise, suprise it has proved very popular. I get the bacon, sausages and eggs from local butchers and they get most of their pork and eggs from the fields around them. If fact, Watson’s Farm shop which I use for when at the Peak District accommodation, raising their meat on Loose Hill behind the shop!

Guest are often surprised when they find out I use local suppliers rather than supermarkets. I think it’s important to source the food locally wherever possible. It supports local businesses, gives you a greater connection with the local area and tastes miles better than the massed produced supermarket junk.

So there you have it, two small changes that have made a big difference.  Asking guests for feedback, listening to what they are saying and taking action.

What to come and stay? Check out the weekends on offer at the moment – click here for details.

Hit the Hills @ Coed-y-Brenin

Coed y Brenin

After a good warm spell I was really looking forward to a mountain biking trip at our awesome accommodation at Coed-y-Brenin, near Dolgellau. We had a group of mates staying for three nights; they usually do a long weekend in Spain but wanted to try something different and a little cheaper so I sorted them out with a 3 day trip in the middle of Welsh mountain biking heaven. The cottage is brilliant too, a converted welsh longhouse lovingly restored with loads of space secure bike storage and plenty of off street parking.

I arrived early on Thursday to set up the accommodation, sneak in a ride then get cracking with the cooking. We were having a roast chicken and pea risotto for dinner followed by a cherry and dark chocolate cheese cake. So got the chicken in the oven and made the cheesecake then popped out a for quick blast on the trails behind the cottage. Got back in time to greet the guests with a cup of tea before they dashed off to ride the Cyflyn Coch trail at Coed-y-Brenin while I made some flapjacks for the packed lunches. Dinner was served at 8, food went down well with most people having seconds.

Friday morning and the weather looked a bit iffy but after a hearty plate of Wales finest cooked produce and packed lunches all the guys were super keen to hit the trials. The joy of a trail centre is that you can ride them in most conditions so a little rain did not bother them in the morning as they tackled the Minor Taur and then the sun came out for the Dragons Back in the afternoon. I managed to ride the dragons back too, ending the afternoon with a cappuccino on the terrace at the café. Got love the trail centre facilities!

Tea and cake (banana and walnut loaf) was waiting for the guests while I made dinner. Thee courses tonight: Pea and ricotta macaroni, slow roast pork with summer vegetables (onion tartin for the veggie) and then a strawberry tart. Proved very popular, clean plates and seconds all round!
Saturday and the weather was looking good. After another fine breakfast the guys decided to drive 45 minutes to ride the Marin Trail at Llanrwst in the morning and then Penmachno in the afternoon. The Marin split the group but the all loved Penmachno. It’s worth saying that the Marin has a lot of scope for longer days out including the Llyn Cowlyd loop and Gwydr Woods has loads of amazing trails for those prepared to explore.

After getting back the chaps squeezed in a few beers at the George III pub across the Mawddach river before dinner. Cake was on off too, cinnamon and almond this time. Big days out need big feeds: Cheese and leek toasties; roast lamb, minted pea puree, potatoes rosti and rosemary gravy followed by chocolate and hazelnut cake hit the spot.

Sadly all good things come to an end and after breakfast on Sunday it was time to check out. Some went straight home but some rode some more trails at Coed-y-Brenin, four days straight – impressive! All the guys had a great time and were already taking about booking again.

Look forward to welcome them back any time.

Looking for some accommodation for a large group at Coed-y-Brenin? Have a look at our Old Ski Lodge or luxury cottage.  

New venue at the Long Mynd in Shropshire

We have just created the web page for our new mountain bike friendly accommodation in All Stretton, Shropshire – perfect for riding the Long Mynd.

The Long Mynd is an awesome area and fantastic for mountain biking with loads of bridleways dropping in an dout of steep valleys. The singletrack is amazing and the pub is half a mile away – PERFECT!

Check it out here – Long Mynd Mountain Biking Accommodation.