Michael and Pam's Travels

Slate Mines and Train Rides, Wales. 2017

Travelled: 74 kilometres from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Nant Gwynant, Wales

Visited: The Slate Mines at Blaenau Ffestiniog ยฃ10pp and the Snowdon Mountain Railway ยฃ29pp

Stayed: Lookout carpark at Nant Gwynant, free just off the A498. N53.06782, W04.00445 . (fabulous views)

 

We don’t normally stay in truck stops, but we just couldn’t find anything else. ย We parked next to the only other vehicle a HGV. ย We wake in the morning about 5.30 as he starts up. ย There is still only the two of us. ย He departs about 6am and I think thanks for not leaving at 3am.

 

A full touristy day today. ย Pam has booked us in for the 10am tour of the slate mines, why so early you may ask ? ย Because the 10am tour is half price. ย Long time readers and our children know Pam loves a bargain. ย We are down at the slate mine early to have breakfast in the carpark before putting on something warm and some boots. ย I have been down mines before and are yet to see a dry mine. ย Especially as Blaenau Ffestiniog has the highest rainfall of any town in Wales. ย You may wish to note that piece of trivia for your next apperance on ‘who wants to be a millionaire’.

 

Center map
Traffic
Bicycling
Transit
Google MapsGet Directions

 

 

Here we are, you have no idea how much time we spent trying to find just the right coloured helmet, so as not to clash with the scarf. Not sure what that means, so I said let’s just go as twins and here we are.

 

We go down in a cable car about 400′ and wander through several large chambers that were mined back at the turn of the century. There were several interactive presentations as well as some video displays done as holograms like this one. We found it really interesting and well worth the visit.

 

Back on he surface we have some time to kill and the area around Blaenau Ffestiniog has many paths winding through the National Park. ย Yesterday we were chatting with a local who told us about a walk that starts just a mile north of town. ย Apparently it leads around a mountain to an old railway ventilation shaft, he talked about the wonderful views across the valley. ย After a coffee in the parking area we don the boots and head off.

 

Pam gets to master fence ladders as we have to negotiate several over the next couple of hours.

 

This panorama should open full screen width, if you click it. We get some great scenery as we walk along.

 

After a 50 minute walk, this is what we find. Apparently the top of an old air shaft. I offer Pam a leg up to get a better look inside but she declines.

 

After almost 2 hours walking we return find the Hymer is still in the carpark, but he has another motorhome to keep him company.

 

Time to hit the road again, we have tickets for the 5pm departure of the Snowden Mountain Railway in Llanberis about 40 miles away. ย We arrive with half an hour to park-n-pay the Hymer and make our way to the train.

 

So here we are, the carriage is full, the conductor tell us to remain seated at all times and off we go. The seats are just hard fibreglass and the trip up the mountain takes almost an hour. Important tip: take a pillow to sit on !

 

Center map
Traffic
Bicycling
Transit
Google MapsGet Directions

 

Passing trains on the way down is one of the interesting things about the trip, other than sheep attempting suicide by running across in front of the train.

 

We do get some wonderful scenery on the way up and back.

 

 

Well here we are on top of Mount Snowdon in near whiteout. Actually within a couple of minutes its much worse and getting down required some care. You cannot buy the weather.

 

Anyway its been a long day it’s 7.30pm by the time we are back in the Hymer and we need an overnight stop. ย We passed a lookout carpark that looked a likely candidate about 15 minutes back, so we’ll give it a go.

 

Our view for tonight. The sharp mountain in the middle background is Snowdon.

 

 

2 thoughts on “Slate Mines and Train Rides, Wales. 2017

  1. Brett Johnston

    I was looking forward to seeing the pictures from the summit of Snowdon as we hung around there two years ago and had two days of zero visibility so did not go up. The train looks similar to the Great Orme Tramway in Llandudno. Did you see those oversize Welsh seagulls in llandudno?

    1. mickpamg@bigpond.com Post author

      Well Brett as you can see Snowdon was in whiteout during our visit. As the train neared the summit you could see the cloud forming as it rolled up the mountain to the summit. If Snowdon was 50 metres lower we would have been OK. It actually got worse during our 30 minutes on top.
      The train to the top is a cog railway engine which are noisy and fairly bumpy.
      Didn’t do a train on the Great Orme as we walked it. Didn’t see a train either but I am not surprised as there are steam trains everywhere in Wales as you would be aware.

      Hope you and Sharon are well.

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