Lake District


North Yorkshire

North Wales



About Summiteer

~A "Ffestiniog" Walk~

5th July 2017

Ddualt Station

Dduallt Station

Scroll down for photos and a description of the walk....

Penryddian Ucha Betws y Coed Railway Station
Penrhyddion Ucha
Betws y Coed Railway Station

On the left, the view from a cottage we were staying in, close to Capel Garmon, Conwy. On the right, the start point for our rail / walk adventure. The station is very attractive and clean, only on closer examination do you realise that there are no railway staff here - all parts of the original building have new uses - mainly retail and cafes etc.

The Conwy Line

Thirty miles of wonderful scenery from Llandudno to Blaenau Ffestiniog. Here the 10:56hrs service to Blaenau Ffestiniog arrives on time and we join a modestly populated carriage for the 34 minute journey.

Ffestiniog Railway

The Ffestiniog Railway

The standard guage train connects with the narrow guage one, with just a few minutes to spare and so I didn't get the chance to photograph the engine. Here the train is on the way out of Blaenau Ffestiniog en route to Porthmadog. We will leave the train at Tan-y-Bwlch.

Mountain View - Manod Mawr

The line is unique, of that there is no doubt. And the views from the open carriages or pulled-down windows are fantastic. Worry not about the cost of the tickets, you can't do this anywhere else in the world and on a day like today it's such a treat!

Earl of Merioneth

Earl of Merioneth

The engine is one of the Double Fairlie locomotives and the many curves on the line allow travellers to see the head of the train.


Merddin Emrys

Merddin Emrys

Another Double Fairlie is hauling the train heading in the other direction. The trains pass at Tan-y-Bwlch.

Tan y Bwlch Station

Tan-y-Bwlch Station

The plan, albeit one with a tight schedule is to walk back as far as Tanygrisiau for a short rail journey back to Blaenau Ffestiniog.


The walk takes us down to Llyn Mair, so Molly has a swim and we eat our sandwiches. Then we start the walk back up to the line and in the direction of Tanygrisiau.

Llyn Mair

Llyn Mair

Walkers follow the length of the lake and then find an obvious forest track.



It really is a wonderful walk through beautiful and remote countryside. It is waymarked in many places, but a map in your pocket offers reassurance every now and again.

Molly the Collie

Happy Molly



Dduallt Railway Station

I often refer to unstaffed and remote railway stations as soulless places. This feels different, it is here because of the initial purpose of the railway as a slate line for the finished product to get to the sea. Latterly it became important as the line was reinstated and elevated via the curve, known as the "deviation". A lot of important work has taken place here and the station can be used as a "request stop".

Dduallt The Deviation
The Deviation

Signs here state that Tanygrisiau is one and quarter hours away - we need to be there in 40 minutes! I told Karen "I think they mean one and a quarter miles, but we need to keep moving...."

Old Line

The Disused Trackbed

The line had to be lifted as the "old" tunnel was flooded by virtue of the hydro-electric scheme and Lake / Tanygrisiau Reservoir.

Full marks to Karen for keeping up a good pace. The returning train due to pass ours at Tan-y-Bwlch is at least five minutes late and this is good news as the train we hope to catch cannot leave until this one arrives and any passenger wishing to do so, can jump from one train to the other.

Tanygrisiau Reservoir

Tanygrisiau Reservoir

We have 25 minutes to get to the station, which is the little white dot on the far side of the reservoir.

Hup! Two Three Four

Only motivational songs and the thought of having an unwanted additional two hours in Blaenau Ffestiniog could keep us going. This corner of Wales is a beautiful place with much to offer, but the book of "Things to do in Blaenau Ffestiniog" is a short one and the options reduce if you are somewhat fatigued after a route march.

Tanygrisiau Station


In the event, we got there bang on time and the train was about six minutes late. The Earl of Merioneth hauls the same set of carriages which we travelled on earlier in the day.

Blaenau Ffestiniog Railway Station

Blaenau Ffestiniog Railway Station

There aren't many stations where the standard gauge railway shares space with a narrow guage private railway. Midweek service on the Ffestiniog Railway seem to be well attended by folk of a certain age! Weekend and mid-summer trains fill up with families with their noisy children, you decide....

Walkers: Karen, Molly and Me.

Route: Rail from Betws-y-Coed to Blaenau Ffestiniog and back. Ffestiniog Railway from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Tan-y-Bwlch. Walk back to Tanygrisiau via waymarked route, but keep the map handy. Lots of minor ups and downs, some more major than minor.

Refreshments: There are cafes at both Tan-y-Bwlch and Tanygrisiau, both of which I/we have used on previous occasions, but not this time.

Weather: Sunny and Warm.

Time Taken: About four and a half miles, 2hrs and 25 minutes, including a lunch stop at Llyn Mair.

All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2017 ©

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