~Betws-y-Coed to Dolwyddelan~
12th May 2010
The last of three walks from my short stay in Betws-y-Coed. The plan was simple: wander over the forest tracks and woodland paths to Pont Gethin and walk up Glyn Lledr to Dolwyddelan to catch the 12:06 back to B-y-C. Five and a half miles of varied terrrain and a pleasant rail journey back to base.
Today's walk was planned with due consideration to the forecast of heavy showers and the fact that I had no rucksac. Indeed I walked with a carrier bag, containing maps, a drink and a biscuit. Not quite the sartorial elegance expected of a seasoned fellwalker.
Scroll down for photos and a description of the walk....
St.Mary's Church, Betws-y-Coed
Much of the early part of the walk was in forestry - The Gwydyr Forest and this denies me the usual photographic opportunites, but the sights, sounds and smells within make up for that. It's a steep ascent into the woods on the south side of the village, but before too long I came to Llyn Elsi.
Forestry replaced mining, many of the lakes "Llyn pl. Llynnau" are really reservoirs, built by the miners. The woods house many old mines and relics from days long gone.
In the middle of the forest lies this abandoned house. I took a closer look and there could be a development opportunity herein..
Some work needs to be done to restore the range and the floor needs tidying up.
Some time and money needs to be spent on the roof and the guttering is also in need of repair.
Whilst I was in the vicinity, two Tawny Owls jumped from their perch in a nieghbouring tree and swooped low before disappearing, all a bit spooky. I regret disturbing these nocturnal birds, but it was an accident and they were not in the house.
Bridge Over Afon Lledr
I proceeded through the woods to Pont Gethin, which is a railway bridge over the river. This footbridge carries the footpath over the river. I'll see this bridge again later on, but that wasn't in the plan.
One thing that struck me about the rivers in this region as oppose to Lakeland is the size of the riverbed boulders - there are much bigger here than in Cumbria. Must be something to do with geology and glaciation.
After leaving the scene at Pont Gethin, I made my way along the river towards Pont-y-pant. This is another very interesting stretch, there is an adventure club's route along the river which looks really exciting, via ferrata, narrow planks, ladders, ropes and some folk were abseiling down a cliff.
Pont-y-pant Railway Station
I keep finding places where I'd like to live. Not far past the station I saw a team of six railway workers in hi-vis jackets. One man was working on the line, his colleagues were supervising; it made me wonder if the trains were running.
It's raining and my dwell time at Pont Gethin has left me a little behind schedule, so I quicken the pace to my destination. I've not seen any trains and the flourescent workforce has left me in serious doubts as to the operation of the railway.
I was up there yesterday, here is Dolwyddelan - pronounced "Doll-witha-lan" - say it quickly. I'm on time, but are the trains?
Dolwyddelan Railway Station
The train is due at 12:06, it's just about noon now. The electronic sign indicates that the next train is the 14:12 to Blaenau Ffestiniog, which means that my train isn't running, consistent with the railway workers being on the line. The advice is that the rail replacement buses, if running, will pick up on the main road - 300 yards away. So off I go to the main road because if I wait here, I'll miss the bus. As I wait for the bus, I spot a train moving away from the station in the direction of Betws-y-Coed.
Next Train 3pm; Next Bus 2pm
Things to do in Dolwyddelan for 2 hours?
Have a brew at the Spar?
Have a pint at the pub?
Visit the War Memorial?
Imagine trains at the other platform?
Look at how cross I am?
Take photos of churches?
I did 5 out of 6 and it occupied about 20 minutes.
Ah well, best foot forward, I studied the map and chose a different walk back to Betws-y-Coed, after all it is a walking holiday. The rain was on and off and the alternative route was a longer distance, but with no significant ascents, mainly on forest tracks.
The one thing I didn't do in Dolwyddelan was visit the pub. The design of the Methodist Chapel is classic and is very similar to our "local", Brierfield MC, where my grandfather used to preach. I will take a photo of the Brierfield Chapel and put it on this webpage for comparison purposes.
Pont Gethin (again)
Now close to Fairy Glen, Betws-y-Coed. Throughout most of the return walk, I was in the forest and kept the camera in my pocket.
The bridge in the former photo is in the background.
That's the train I would have taken if I'd waited around in Dolwyddelan
This is the B&B where I stayed, welcoming and very comfortable. Their website.
Walkers: Just Me
Time taken: 6hrs 20 mins over a distance of about 12 miles.
Route: Betws-y-Coed to Llyn Elsi, Pont Gethin, Pont-y-pant, Dolwyddelan Station. Spar shop, bus stop, Dolwyddelan Station, Quarry, forest tracks back to Pont Gethin, Afon Lledr to Fairy Glen, back road to Betws-y-Coed.
Weather and conditions: Bright turning to showers.
Greetings Count: No one on the way out, one man and his dogs on the way back.
Richard's Refreshment Review: I had a cup of coffee outside the Spar Shop in Dolwyddelan, just the job to calm down a frustrated traveller.
All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2010 ©