Bwlch-y-Groes is one of Britain’s toughest roads

Bwlch y Groes (Pass of the Cross) is a mountain pass at an elevation of 545m (1,788ft) above the sea level, located in the county of Gwynedd, in Wales. It’s one of the highest roads of the country.

Set high in the Aran Mountains on the edge of Snowdonia, the road to the summit is totally paved but very narrow and steep, hitting a 25 per cent of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. Brutal is a word used often in cycling, but there isn’t a better one to describe the climb. In fact, it’s one of the steepest, toughest and most spectacular climbs in the country. It’s one of the truly definitive climbs. It was used between and after the wars by the Austin Motor Company and the Standard Triumph Motor Company to test prototype cars and their performance during hill climbing.
The pass, also known as Hellfire Pass, is 19.79km (12.3 miles) long, running south-north from Minllyn to Llanuwchllyn. The length and the gradient of the climb stand out as one of Britain’s toughest.

Wild and remote, to drive the road without stopping will take most people between 30 and 45 minutes. It’s a road of outstanding beauty – rough, weathered and remorselessly steep. The view from the pass encompasses the plain of the Dyfi valley, Cadair Idris and a close view of Aran Fawddwy. The road is unsuitable for heavy goods vehicles.



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