Thursday, 30 May 2019

A Week on The Llyn Peninsular #3 - Llanberis & The Snowdon Mountain Railway

Hi there everyone ๐Ÿ˜€

We are still in North Wales for today's post ... and going on a very big adventure.

Finally ... it was the day I would get to tick 'Go up Snowdon on the mountain railway' off of my list of 50 things to do before I'm 60.

It's something that I've wanted to do for years and we'd booked tickets for the 1.00pm Heritage Steam Experience ... after all, if we were doing it we definitely wanted to be doing it under steam. We had hoped that by booking it for a bit later in the day we would have more chance of good visibility at the summit and we all had our fingers well and truly crossed.
What a day we had. We were up and out bright and early and on our way to Llanberis where we managed to snag a parking spot in the railway car park. We picked up our tickets for the train, delighted to find that it looked like we were on the front four seats, and decided to have a bit of a wander.

We started with a good look round the station, which is a treat in itself. We arrived just in time to see one of the earlier diesels heading off ...
... and the next steam getting ready for the off ...
We were reliably informed by our railway expert that it was a rack and pinion system ...
... and I think we were all quite secretly excited ๐Ÿ˜€

We had plenty of time so took a wander through the woods, passing more exciting railway track defects, a VLS don't you know ๐Ÿ˜‚ ...
... to Dolbadarn castle ...
It's a beautiful spot and, even with grey skies, the views of the mountains and the quarry are pretty impressive ...


From there we wandered back down through the woods ...
... to the station alongside the Llanberis Lake Railway, where we just happened to see the train coming in ...
It was time to make our way back to the station and we picnicked on the benches out front whilst waiting for our train ...
We were soon boarding and, as we'd thought, we were right at the front. We were all well chuffed and I was dead excited to finally be making my way up the mountain.
I took lots of photos on the journey, but pretty much all were taken through the glass, so apologies up front for any reflection or glare that I couldn't manage to avoid.

It’s a five mile trip on the train and takes an hour. You then get to spend half an hour at the summit, before making the hour long journey back down. There was plenty to see on the way up starting with the waterfall just outside of the station after the train goes over the viaduct. I did try and take some photos but it was just too bumpy.

Travelling by steam and we could really sense how hard the old Hunslet was working on the rack and pinion up the steep incline, which was 1 in 5 in places.

The views were spectacular, even though it was a pretty dull day, but at least the visibility was good.
We passed loads of walkers, who were putting in the real effort to get to the top, making us feel a little guilty about taking the easy option but with our creaking joints and levels of fitness it was really our only option ...
We had to make a couple of stops along the way to allow the passing of engines on the downward trip.
 
 
The train pulls in at the cafe at the top ...
...and, though it was a little hazy, the views are amazing ... you can see right out over to the coast in one direction ...
... and mountains and more mountains in the other ...
The cafe at the top was heaving with people and we quickly passed through and out the other side to make our way to the summit ...
Visibility at the top was good, though there was a distinct drop in temperature ...

We followed the throng up to the trig point, the official summit, and were pleased that it wasn’t as busy as we’d been told it had been the day before, where some had waited 20 minutes to climb those last few steps ...
We touched the trig point, apparently if you haven't touched the trig you didn't make it to the top ...
Of course there were the obligatory photos ...
... before making our way back down the steps ... for plenty of photos of the view ...
  ... and the less attractive, but sturdy and practical cafe building ...
It was time to make our way back through the cafe ...
... to make sure we were back in our train in good time ... we certainly didn’t want to miss it as there was only one other way down and we certainly were not up for that ...
Passing the waterfall again on the way down, the guard gave us directions on how to get there on foot. As it didn't sound that far we decided we would have one last push and go and have a look.

We passed the most beautiful wisteria on the way ... in full bloom, with a fragrance that assaulted the senses when passing ...
The clematis was in abundance too ...
We made our way under the viaduct to the path alongside the river ...

The footpath alongside the river was a real treat ...
... with a new cascade around every bend ...
We finally came to the foot of the waterfall ...
I scared my husband half to death by doing a bit of scrabbling up the rocks to try and get a better view ...
In spite of my efforts I still think the best shot was the first taken from the train on the way up. We made our way back along the river and managed to hit the viaduct just as the 4.30pm train was making an appearance ...

... which just about ended our day in Llanberis perfectly.

We decided to head back via Caernarfon where we had a bit of a wander before finding somewhere to eat. We ended up in the Four Alls, where we had a very nice meal to top of a day that had been practically perfect in every way.

I'm so glad I have finally been able to tick this off my list of the 50 things I want to do before I'm 60. Now, I really want to do it again, but with blue sky and sunshine ๐Ÿ˜

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