Sep 152013
 

Bangor to Aberystwyth

Day four of my Welsh steam adventure took me from Bangor to Aberystwyth, stopping on the way to take some line side shots of the Welsh Highland Railway and the Ffestiniog Railway.

Our first stop was Rhyd Ddu station at the foot of Snowdon where the two trains from Porthmadog and Carnarfon crossed. We had an hour to kill here, so there was plenty of time for everyone to choose a spot to get their shots.

English: K1, The first Garratt locomotive to b...

K1, The first Garratt locomotive to be built, preserved in use on the Welsh Highland Railway, on passenger train entering Snowdon Ranger railway station on 19 October 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the trains departed, we raced the train to the Aberglaslyn Pass, south of Beddgelert. Here we were able to take photos and video as the train crossed the river and headed down the pass on its way to Porthmadog.

A steam train on the Welsh Highland Railway he...

A steam train on the Welsh Highland Railway heads into Rhyd-Ddu. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After a break for lunch in the pretty village of Beddgelert, during which I visited Gelert’s Grave, we set off for Minfford to photograph the Ffestiniog trains crossing.

Today brought plenty of happy memories back to me of seaside holidays on this coast when the kids were little. More memories came flooding back as we left Minfford on the main line service to Fairbourne, passing through Llandanwg, where we holidayed about thirty years ago.

English: Golf Halt, the Fairbourne Railway, Fa...

Golf Halt, the Fairbourne Railway, Fairbourne (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On arrival in Fairbourne, we took a return trip on the miniature railway, which was fairly unspectacular, though there were some good views of Barmouth and the mountains at the end of the line.

After Fairbourne, we returned to the main line to continue our journey over the spectacular Cambrian Coast line to Machynlleth. At Dovey Junction station, we caught a glimpse of ospreys nesting in a man-made nest near to the line.

Our bus was waiting for us at Machynlleth to take us on to our accommodation for two nights at Aberystwyth University. The halls of residence are set on a hill and there was a steep climb from the reception and café up to our rooms, which were a major disappointment. They were smaller than Bangor, and resembled prison cells, with plain breeze block walls.

English: View of Aberystwyth from Constitution...

View of Aberystwyth from Constitution Hill (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After settling in, we journeyed by coach to nearby Constitution Hill, which we ascended by the funicular railway. At the top, there were spectacular views over Cardigan Bay and the town below. We admired the views for a while before dining. The food was excellent, but the service was very slow, and the Peruvian Pan Pipes cd on repeat was a major annoyance.

More complaints were aired when there was an hours delay between main and dessert. As a result of this, we didn’t finish the meal until 22:30, and the weary party boarded the coach for the short journey back to the University.

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