~Dolwyddelan to Blaenau Ffestiniog~
29th September 2012
This was an improvised Plan B on a day when strong winds persuaded me not to venture on to the high grounds of the mountains of Snowdonia.
Scroll down for photos and a description of the walk....
Little Orme, Llandudno
I sped down to North Wales on Friday for some personal and then commercial business, so it seemed like a good idea to stay overnight and see what Saturday could offer. Friday evening , I started an ascent of Great Orme (left, above Llandudno), but got rained off.
Sunrise at Llandudno
Parking at Dolwydellan Railway Station
It was very frustrating to arrive at Llyn Ogwen and reach the conclusion that it was not in my best interests to start the ascent of The Carneddau. It was blowing a gale at the roadside, the mountains were in cloud, it would be new territory and it's an area I wanted to enjoy walking in. Today was not the right day.
This view from the station platform southwards gives some indication that the station used to have two lines, running either side of the platform. Note the reconstruction work on the bridge parapet. What's that all about?
War Memorial and Moriah Chapel
The chapel is/was for sale as an eight-bedroomed property at just over £1m pounds. I viewed the prospectus on t'internet and it is stunning, but who would live in a house like that?
I planned a route from Dolwyddelan to Blaenau Ffestiniog, knowing there are rail and bus services back to the start. The walk goes past the castle, but misses the car park where there is an opportunity to buy a visitor's ticket.
The walk follows the track (right) and eventually between the two peaks, just left of centre. At this point in time, I had the notion of reaching one or other fell tops, as shown, but circumstances conspired against me!
The view of a popular local mountain from the top of the castle. Evidence suggests that the cloud level is rising, but the wind is still quite strong, even at lower levels.
Roman Bridge Railway Station
Following my route and joining a "B" road through Blaenau Dolywddelan, I took this photo of Roman Bridge Railway Station on the Conwy Valley Line. The white building is now a private dwelling, trains stop "by request" only; the water course is Afon Lledr.
Converted Chapel, Blaenau Dolwyddelan
The view of Moel Siabod is taken after I'd crossed the railway line. Soon enough the line will enter the 2.5 mile-long Blaenau Tunnel.
Ummm, the photo above was taken one hour after the prior one. I had a directional malfunction and found myself amongst the hummuckiest, boggiest, bumpiest morass of non-mans land I have ever come across - this view doens't show the worst of it. In hindsight, after about 15 minutes I should have turned back.
Back On The Route
The physical strain of the trudge up the hill, coupled with time lost, now means that I cannot now climb either of the fells in the earlier view.
I walked along the track at the foot of the disused quarry and up to the road (left).
Over The Hill
Over the brow of the hill and the quarry territory of Blaenau Ffestiniog comes into view. The road off to the left is not on my map, is therefore new and is part of the creation of a new cycle trail on that side of the valley.
Tunnel Air Shaft
Blaenau Tunnel South Portal
Earlier photos of this scene (see internet etc.) are much wider, but a mobile telephone mast has been built just to the right of this view and looks daft! Plus all the safety fences, I'm annoyed!
Oakeley Quarry War Memorial
Brothers In Arms
Maybe it's the sunshine, but this place looks a lot better than it did on my last visit.
Lord Street, Blaenau Ffestiniog
Bridge Cafe, Blaenau Ffestiniog
Refreshments at The Bridge Cafe.
The standard guage and narrow guage railways of Ffestiniog share the same station area. Here, my favourite narrow guage engine, the 1879 built Double Fairlie "Merrdin Emrys" runs round the train (out of shot) to take the return service to Portmadog.
The regular service train on the Conwy Valley line is getting ready to head for Llandudno (away from the camera). Business is good, a coach load of tourists joins the service train and another heads for the Ffestiniog Railway train. Largely of a certain age, I thought I saw myself in twenty years time, somewhere in the crowd....
Walkers: Just Me.
Time taken: 5hrs 20mins over a distance of about 8 miles.
Route: Dolwyddelan Railway Station, village, castle, Blaenau Dolwyddelan, Hendre (farm), under the railway, morass, flank of Moel Dyrnogydd, A470 roadway, Llyn Ffridd-y-bwlch, past Llechwedd Quarry, down to Bleanau Ffestiniog. Train back to Dolwyddelan.
Weather and Conditions: Sunny and breezy.
Greetings Count: Nobody else on my walk route.
Richard's Refreshment Review: The Bridge Cafe in Blaenau Ffestiniog is rather good. Plenty of tables and a balcony, if you wish to watch the traffic. There was a hint of optimism in BF that I've not detected before.
An earlier walk in the same area: Betws-y-Coed to Dolwyddelan on 12th May 2010.
All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2012 ©
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I enjoyed your album, it was nice to see you made the most of your time there considering the weather. I would have hated that awful boggy and everything else you called it, terrain lol
Sherran on 2nd October 2012
A great set of photos of your North Wales walk, a well improvised plan B....A shame you couldn't get up high but like you say, it's all about enjoyment and there's always next time.
I don't seem to be able to use your new "contact me" facility. I typed out a message then couldn't find any 'post' button ???
Perhaps it conflicts with Hotmail or my settings might be wrong,,,, don't know.
Enjoyed your holiday albums and it looked like you had a nice break down there.
Bob. on 1st October 2012