Friday, 10 February 2017

Blaenau Ffestiniog going downhill? You’ve got to be crazy!

Blaenau Ffestiniog, about four miles up the railway line from us, is famous for its slate - it wouldn’t exist were it not for the slate. But its industry has almost all gone and instead Blaenau is repositioning itself as the adventure capital of North Wales.

Downhill with a difference
On the mountain above Llechwedd slate quarry is the start of the downhill biking track, created and run by Antur Stiniog. Riders pay £29 for a day’s pass (£32.50 at weekends) which gives them up to 20 ‘uplifts’ to the top of the mountain where they have a choice of six trails to descend. They are graded black, red and blue - a bit like a ski resort and the sort of colours you might become. It’s possibly the best competition track in Britain and is used to host international competitions.

Sharing the same route to the top of the mountain is Titan Zipworld, four parallel zip wires that take you to the bottom in three stages with the first being about 900 metres. It’s £50 a go and so exciting that words can’t do it justice. Best to take a look at their little video:

The same company also runs a series of other adventures within the massive caverns of the slate mine. One of them is an epic journey on zip lines, rope bridges, via ferrata and tunnels. A perfect pastime on a rainy day.

They also run Bounce Below which is another cavern with a series of massive interconnected trampolines. An hour in here is an excellent workout – the moment I first stepped out onto the trampoline, with the ground about a hundred feet below, I felt like a child once more. It’s recently been redesigned and upgraded and the film link below, prior to that upgrade, is an energetic and acrobatic approach to enjoying the experience.

Blaenau going downhill? You’ve got to be kidding. Blaenau is definitely on the up!