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Conquer the Climb: Melin y Wig

This is a series in which I choose a well-known climb, notorious for its difficulty and vicious gradients, and plot three routes of different lengths so you can tackle the climb yourself.

Fans of Simon Warren’s 100 Climbs book series will no doubt have come across the Melin-y-Wig climb in either the Another 100 Climbs book or the Cycling Climbs of Wales book.

Before we take a look at the three routes I have plotted, let’s analyse the steep gradients of the climb…

About the Climb

melin y wig


Length: 1200m (1.2km)

Height Gain: 100m

Average Gradient: 7.5%

Strava KOM: 4 minutes

Strava QOM: 6 minutes


The foot of the climb is situated in a settlement called Melin y Wig. Melin y Wig is barely more than a community base with its residents either living within the small hamlet or in the beautiful countryside nearby. It is traditionally part of the Gwyddelwern parish in Denbighshire.

Sections where tall trees overshadow the road are notoriously steep in North Wales; and the sharp start of this climb is no exception. Continuously steep gradients follow for 500 metres before a malicious 25% hairpin bend.

Continue for about another 500 metres once you think the climb is over if you are fussed about a good time on the Strava segment.

Short Route

Base: Ruthin, Wales Distance: 32km / 20mi Climb: 500m / 1640ft

melin y wig_short

This will no doubt be a solid workout. At the A494 roundabout in Ruthin (near the rugby club), take the B5105 road towards Cerrigydrudion – a steady 7km (4.5mi) climb to test the legs at the start.

When you reach Clawddnewydd take the first left exit signposted Bryn Saith Marchog and Derwen.

After climbing to Bryn Saith Marchog you will descend to the foot of the climb in Melin-y-Wig (remember to turn right into the village when signposted). Ascend for a kilometre then enjoy the long descent back to Ruthin via Clawddnewydd.

Figure 8 Route

Base: Y Bala, Wales Distance: 76km / 47mi Climb: 1400m / 4600ft

melin y wig_8

Lots of climbing in this challenging route – not for the faint legged or hearted!

Exit Bala towards the Berwyn and Llangynog via the bypass. Follow signs for Pale Hall and make your way to Cefnddwysarn via Llandderfel. Take the back road towards Glanrafon before reaching Maerdy. Continue to Betws Gwerful Goch, Melin y Wig and Clawddnewydd.

Take the B5105 road to Cerrigydrudion via Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr and take the back road to Glanrafon again. Return to Bala via Bethel and Llandderfel to complete the figure of 8.

Bucket List Route

Base: Y Bala, Wales Distance: 94km / 58mi Climb: 1500m / 5000ft

melin y wig_bucketlist

Certainly on my bucket list and is perfect if you are training for a 100km sportive / event.

Exit Bala via bypass and follow signposts for Llandderfel. Continue to Bethel, then on the backroads to Melin y Wig via Maerdy and Betws Gwerful Goch. Eventually reach Clawddnewydd and find your way to Cerrigydrudion on the B5105 road (Llanfihangel G.M.).

Choose the back road or the busier A5 to reach Pentrefoelas then follow signposts for Ysbyty Ifan. Climb over the Migneint and then you will be greeted by a long descent via Arenig, Llidiardau and Rhyduchaf.


Yet another great climb to be explored – hopefully these routes will be helpful. If so, click the like button down below!

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