The ancient Llangollen Bridge 700 meters from start of climb
We begin this climb soon after passing over the wonderful LLangollen Bridge. At about 400 meters into the climb we come in sight of the 13th century Valle Crucis Abbey.
Valle Crucis Abbey at 400 m
“Valle Crucis Abbey (Valley of the Cross) is a Cistercian abbey located in Llantysilio in Denbighshire, Wales. More formally the Abbey Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Valle Crucis it is known in Welsh both as Abaty Glyn Egwestl and Abaty Glyn y Groes. The abbey was built in 1201 by Madog ap Gruffydd Maelor, Prince of Powys Fadog. Valle Crucis was dissolved in 1537 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and subsequently fell into serious disrepair. The building is now a ruin, though large parts of the original structure still survive. Valle Crucis Abbey is now under the care of Cadw.” Wikipedia - Valle Crucis Abbey.
At kilometer 1.7 we pass the 550 year old Britannia Inn
The climbs namesake “Horseshoe” (Welch name is Bwlch yr Oernant) is at kilometer 4.1 just after the 20% grade sign.
Just before the horseshoe.
Looking back half-way through horseshoe at km 4.5
Steepest kilometer begins at km 1.3(11.4%)
“Horseshoe pass (Bwlch yr Oernant) is a 4 mile climb in North Wales near Wrexham, averaging 5% – climbing 311 metres to finish at 1,200 ft (404m). It’s a challenging hill climb, with a few steeper sections of up to 12%. On a good day, it provides a beautiful backdrop for a hill climb..
As it name suggests, there is a 180 degree horseshoe curve towards the top. This means that you can see the road snaking up above you as you climb. It also means you’re likely to face a mixture of headwinds and tailwinds on different parts of the climb. . . .
Fairly soon after the start of the climb, there is the steepest section of perhaps 12%. This is within a wooded area so is relatively sheltered from the wind. You want to go as hard as you can without blowing up for the remaining couple of miles. I took most of the climb seated down, only briefly getting out of the saddle for a short 12 % section in the trees. Then it was head down, and try and maintain the pace. After the wooded section the gradient eased off, but here there seemed to be a strong headwind for a considerable straight section. I was relieved to reach the horseshoe and begin the long bend around the ‘horseshoe’.” More