Dolgellau, Snowdonia Aug/Sept 2016

HF Holidays - a week riding on eleven of the famous narrow gauge railways of Wales.
Also my first on-foot ascent of Snowdon.


Photo Gallery

[1: Talyllyn Railway]
We board at Abergynolwyn where there is a tea shop, head to Nant Gwernol at the end of the line and return along the line to Tywyn Wharf (Day 1)
Our locomotive is No.7 Tom Rolt, here seen approaching Abergynolwyn.
A view showing some of the coaches being hauled. At Nant Gwernol the loco changed ends to pull us back down to Tywyn.
[2: Fairbourne Miniature Railway]
South of Barmouth on the Mawddach Estuary. The short ride took us from Fairbourne to the Barmouth Ferry for our short crossing to Barmouth to meet up with the coach.
We waited on the beach for a boat to ferry us across the estuary. The smallest ferry I've been on so far.
[3: Welsh Highland Heritage Railway]
A very short stretch of line in Porthmadog. It has a museum, tea room etc. The red locomotive called 'Russell' is on display here in one of the sheds.
Day 2 - Monday
[4: Vale of Rheidol Railway]
One of the best and most scenic of the railways we rode on. Going up the valley from Aberystwyth we pass the dam at Cwm Rheidol Reservoir.
Further along the sun lights up the flat bottom of the valley.
A shot from inside one of the carriages. The gauge is 1 foot 11.5 inches. The line climbs 666 feet in a bit less than 12 miles on its journey to the famous Devil's Bridge.
Our loco was 'Prince of Wales' No.9 here preparing to swap ends after we arrived at Devil's Bridge.
(11) Devil's Bridge is actually three structures built over several centuries, the last one strengthened with iron girders in 1972.
[5: Corris Railway]
A small railway which used to carry slate down to Machynlleth.
The locomotive they have (No.7) is a 0-4-2 saddle tank completed in 2005.
Day 3 (Tuesday)
[6: Snowdon Mountain Railway]
This is the most spectacular railway, with a single carriage being pushed by either a diesel or steam locomotive from Llanberis to near the top of Snowdon.
Our loco was No.2 (Enid), which huffed and puffed up the gradient. Unfortunately because of high winds we were only able to go to Rocky Valley, just over half way.
Here we are stopped, outside was windy with low visibility.
Back down in Llanberis. A better view of the locomotive Enid - this was one of two original engines and has been running since 1896!
[7: Llanberis Lake Railway]
A straight section of track between Llanberis and Penllyn. Before taking the train most of our party wandered round the Slate Museum at Gilfach Ddu. Note in the photo the open fire visible at the rear of the small locomotive.
Day 4 (Wednesday 31 August).
Our free day and an ideal opportunity for me to climb Snowdon on foot at last. Parked at Nant Peris, bus up to Pen-Y-Pass and around 9:30 am I set off up the Pyg Track. Fired up, I soon pass above Llyn Llydaw Reservoir and its distinctive causeway.
Looking south across the reservoir to West and East Peak and Lliwedd Bach.
Looking across Glaslyn (in Welsh means blue-green lake).
A steep zigzag climb towards the railway track follows, as Glaslyn shrinks below.
I reached the railway and headed up to the summit and touched the trig point on Snowdon. After a nice cake and coffee in the restaurant and viewing building (Hafod Eryri) I headed back down the way I came. I diverted down onto the Miner's Track which skirts Glaslyn and Llyn Llydaw.
Only one hour 48 minutes after leaving the summit I finally approach Pen-Y-Pass for a coffee in the Youth Hostel and a bus ride down the pass to rejoin my car. Finally, I've scaled Snowdon the 'proper' way.
Day 5 (Thursday)
[8: Welshpool and Llanfair Railway]
Built in 1903 to link farming communities to the town of Welshpool. Below is locomotive No.12 (Joan).
Our train was hauled by The Countess (formerly number 823 GWR). The trip takes about 45 minutes for the 8 mile journey to Llanfair Caereirion.
[9: Bala Lake Railway]
Bala to Llanuwchllyn. Here we view our train hauled by the little cabless saddle tank called 'Alice', originally built at Hunslet in 1902.
The end of the journey (Llanuwchllyn) where we rejoined our coach for the trip back to Dolserau Hall.
Day 6 (Friday)
[10: Ffestiniog Railway]
About 13 miles from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Porthmadog. The station is shown with the famous Ffestiniog slate workings and waste slopes towering in the background.
Having enjoyed the trip down to Porthmadog, I wandered into the town over the bridge with the marina in the background.
[11: Welsh Highland Railway]
The longest and biggest of the railways we were to visit during the holiday. Here in Porthmadog at the start of our last ride, our locomotive is a Beyer-Garratt (no.138).
At Beddgelert (where I've been before) we saw the green Beyer-Garratt (no.143) coming the other way.
Heading north towards Caernarfon. There was a good drinks and even hot meals service on the train.
Another opportunity to see the loco as we head round one of many curves. The coach awaited us at our final destination. A really enjoyable week in Snowdonia!

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