The NW400 is a bikepacking route around North Wales, designed by Tom Bruce as a training route for the Highland Trail 550. It is a difficult route, with over 10,000 metres of climbing in just over 410km. The route is designed to start and finish in Mold, Flintshire, which is very accessible but it can be started and finished at any point on the loop. The loop is to be ridden anticlockwise.
The NW300 has over 7,000 metres of climbing in just under 300 km and follows much of the same route as the NW400, also ridden anticlockwise. The purpose of suggesting this shorter route is so that it can be completed within the bank holiday weekend for those who do not feel they can complete the 400km within the time limit and to make the event more accessible – that being said, it is still a brutal route and should not be taken lightly.
The intent is to ride either route as fast as you are able while adhering to the standard self supported rules. It is an unofficial challenge that is not sanctioned in any way, with no organisation, and no support. A maximum time limit (for both the NW400 and NW 300) is set at 72 hours for your ride to be included in the register of successful completions on the website (although this time limit should not discourage you from entering the event as more leisurely route attempts are encouraged!).
Highlights of this stunning route include:
– The Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB
– Many of the most beautiful lakes in Wales
– Trails through the UNESCO World Heritage Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales
– Snowdonia, including an ascent of Snowdon
– The Snowdonia coast between Cricceith and Porthmadog
– 5 world class mountain biking trail centres on the NW400 at: Penmachno, Gwydir Mawr, Coed y Brenin, Dyfi Forest, Llandegla
– Bwlch y Groes, the second highest road pass in Wales (NW400)
– The Berwyn Range
The route takes you over some very challenging terrain including an ascent to the top of Snowdon, at an altitude of over 1,000 metres, which can provide a very challenging climate. There are hike-a-bike sections and some technical descents, so the use of a mountain bike is recommended.