Pontcysyllte Aqueduct Challenge

A non-competitive cycling challenge over 170km and climbing 3000 metres.

   2010 Event  Route & Profile  Information  Accomodation  2009 Report,Results & Photos 

Outline arrangements for the event. These will, necessarily, be revised as the day approaches. Final details will be notified a few days before the event.

Start and Finish

Start at the southern end of Telford's Aqueduct. Finish at the Froncysyllte Community Centre at the nothern end of the aqueduct.
View on Google Maps.

Just off A5. Easy access from Midlands (Shrewsbury & M54/M6) and North-West (Chester & A483/M56).

  • Turn up, sign-on, start.
  • Sign on at the start (the Froncysyllte Community Centre) from 7:30am on the day. Start at any time between 8:00 and 9:00. Times may be extended, both earlier and later, if circumstances demand.
    Also, sign on between 6pm and 8pm at the Froncysyllte Community Centre the day before (Saturday, 22 May).
  • Riders will be started singly, in quick succession. If you wish to start as a group (small groups only), let the timekeeper know and you will all be given the same start time.
  • Numbers are allocated in order of entry and, to benefit those who enter early, low numbers will be allowed to the front of any queue that forms.
  • The first few junctions will be marshalled (although, officially, we can't stop the traffic). Riders may be held briefly at the start if any backlogs form.

  • The time limit for classification as a finisher is 10 hours.
  • Time is recorded from when you start until you finish; no credit is given for stops, compulsory or otherwise.
  • You will be given a certificate showing your individual time. A list of finishers and their times will be published on this website.

Maximum Number of Entries

The maximum number of entries is 300.


The full Challenge route is 170km and 3000m ascent. Details, map, routesheet, GPX download can be found on the Route page.

Llangollen Panorama and the Telford Route

The final climb of the day to the Llagolen Panorama, is hard at the best of times. With close to 100 miles in your legs, it will be a real test. But that's why the event is a challenge.

However, experience tells us that some riders will have seen quite enough hills by this point. Accordingly, you have the option to follow the River Dee for a slightly shorter and relatively flat run thru Llangollen and on to the finish. You will be classified as finishing the 'Telford' route.

Directions to the Start

By Road

From A483/A5: leave at Llangollen exit (A5), down hill to straight over at roundabout. Continue on A5 to Froncysyllte, right at sign to Trevor Basin and Aqueduct. Marshalls will direct you to the appropriate parking areas.

By Rail

Nearest railway station is Ruabon, approx. 5km away. Then mostly downhill.
Leave station and R onto Wrexham Road (B5605); SO@O, 0.5; R, sp Country Park, 3.3; L@T (Queens Hotel), 4.5; L in dip, 4.6; L@T into New Rd, 4.7 to Trevor Basin.


Parking is at, and near, the Trevor Basin (start). Marshalls will direct you to the appropriate car parking area. Please park where directed.
The Community Centre will be open from 7:30am. Tea/coffee will be served. And there is a McDonald's on the A483 junction with the A5 (Halton).
Public toilets are near the start (Trevor Basin).
A sag wagon will travel the course after the event and recover any stranded riders to the start. Please inform the organiser using the 'phone number on your timing card should you require assistance.
Control points have some basic tools and essential spares (e.g. inner tubes). A charge may be made for any spares supplied. Marshals and assistants are not permitted to work on bikes.

Food and Water on the Route

Food and water is supplied at both feed stops. Food is simple: bread, cheese, fruit, maybe some cake. We make no promises that supplies are vegetarian, free from nuts etc. However, those with special dietary needs may leave their own food at the start to be taken to the feed stations.

Additional water only stops will be provided at marshalling points. Locations to be advised.

For those taking a more leisurely approach to the day, the route passes several cyclist friendly cafes. The cafes will be identified on the route card and you are welcome to stop at them but please keep the time limit in mind.

Feed stops will close when the latest starting rider can no longer reach them at the minimum speed of 17kmh-1. Feed stops are also check points. You must visit them within the times specified and have your time recorded to be classified as a finisher.
You will not be allowed to use the facilities at the feed stops without showing your timing card.

At the Finish

Tea on the terrace at the Froncysyllte Community Centre. All riders will recieve a beverage of their choice (tea/coffee/coke etc.). Other fayre will be available to purchase; they do very nice cakes. In addition, supplies from the feed stops will be brought to the finish.


In general, the roads are well surfaced with excellent visibility. But be aware that:
 · some of the descents are steep
 · there may be loose gravel in turns
 · the road surface is uneven in places
 · sheep are loose on some hill tops

All in a day's ride and nothing you can't anticipate. But, if you are riding in a group please alert following riders who may be unsighted.

Otherwise, read the road and have a good day out.
Sheep - Sheep have no reverse; if you encounter one, aim for it's back-end.

It is probably worth noting that this event attracts a large contingient of local riders, some of whom can be presumed to know the roads well. Please bear this in mind before chasing someone you don't know down a steep descent.


Helmets must be worn. It is a condition of our insurance that we require all participants to wear a hard-shell helmet while riding. In view of the the terrain and the speed of some descents, this is probably for the best.

Tools and Spares

If you still use tube tyres, you are advised to at least carry two spare inner tubes and something to inflate them with. There are very limited service facilities at the controls.


Please do not discard your energy bar wrappers on the road. There are rubbish bags at the controls.


Insurance cover for the event organiser is arranged through Cyclosport.org. No cover is provided for riders, who are advised to make their own insurance arrangements. Remember, you are deemed to be on a private excursion and responsible for your own actions. Membership of CTC, Cyclosport.org or British Cycling provides third-party insurance cover and legal assistance should you be involved in any incident whilst riding your bike. Including participation in events of this type.

Points of Interest

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct was built by Thomas Telford between 1795 & 1805. It carries the Llangollen branch of the Shropshire Union canal 38 metres above the River Dee. The aqueduct was named a World Heritage Site in 2009.
The canal was constructed to carry slate from Llangollen. The slate quarries, or rather their spoil heaps, will be seen during the climb of the Horseshoe Pass. more...

The Horseshoe Pass features in the National Hillclimb Championship. Record for the 3.75km from just below the Britannia Inn to the lay-by stands at a shade over 9 minutes.

Your Questions

  • What equipment do you recommend?
    The roads are generally excellent but there are some short (up to 100m) sections where the surface has deteriorated over winter. Depending on traffic, it's usually possible to chart a smooth course through. You'll be fine with 23 or 25mm wide tyres inflated to the correct pressure.

    In light of a comment from previous years, it is advised that you may prefer to leave those ultra-light/expensive climbing wheels behind in favour of something sturdier. For reference, I ride these roads, year round, on Easton EA90 wheels and 23mm Hutchinson Fusion tubeless tyres.

  • Where are the details of the short route?
    A shorter, and easier, route option was planned but has been dropped due to lack of interest.