The long and the short
Day three was another day that I had looked forward to, and it didn’t disappoint. Today was the day that I got to ride the length of the Welsh Highland Railway, and in style too.
After breakfast, we boarded the coach which took us to Carnarfon in plenty of time for the 10:00 departure. We had been booked in third class, so I paid an extra ten pounds to upgrade to the observation car, and it was worth every penny.
The line runs for a marathon 25 miles and winds its way from coast to coast, via the foot of Snowdon. The route takes in farmland, rivers, lakes, mountains and forests as it makes its way south to Porthmadog.
I had previously ridden from Carnarfon to Rhyd Ddu at the foot of Snowdon, but since then, the line has been extended through the delightful village of Beddgelert, before joining up with the Ffestiniog Railway at Porthmadog Harbour.
The ride was amazing, and the scenery stunning as we made the two-hour, 25 minute journey. The passengers in the observation car had waiter service all the way. The last part of the journey took us through the streets of Porthmadog arriving at a packed terminus dead on time.
Our coach was waiting for us, and after photos were taken, we made the short journey to the Welsh Heritage Railway at the other side of Porthmadog. This three-quarter mile long route was in complete contrast to the Welsh Highland, but it was still interesting, as was the tour of the sheds and museum.
After travelling back to the Harbour, we boarded the 16:00 Ffestiniog Railways train to Blaenau Ffestiniog. I have travelled this route many times, but it is still a pleasure to ride it, even if the end of the line is the depressing slate mountains of Blaenau. I again upgraded to the first class observation car for an extra six pounds.
Our last train journey of a long day was down the Conwy Valley to Llandudno Junction. This is another journey that I have done several times, but I enjoyed seeing the wading birds in the river and the clouds rolling in off the sea.
I was shocked to see that the invasive weed Himalayan Balsam has even spread to this pretty valley. Introduced by the Victorians, this plant has escaped into the wild and is out-competing the native plants. It was very clear along the Sheffield to Manchester line, and in Cheshire, but it seems that nowhere is safe from this plant that has no natural enemies.
The coach was waiting for us at Llandudno Junction, and it took us back to Bangor University for our last dinner before we departed for Aberystwyth on day four.
- Up into the Hills (forwardmotion1.wordpress.com)
- My First Time In Wales – North Wales, United Kingdom (travelpod.com)
- Outdoor Adventures in North Wales (epicatravel.com)
- North Wales Travel | Daniel Nwikpo (danielnwikpo.wordpress.com)