Monday, 19 September 2016

Autumn Thrills in Snowdonia - Day 3


Porthmadog Ffestiniog Railway



Snowdonia                                                                     Wales

Monday 19th October 2015

This morning I woke up a lot later which to be honest was no surprise giving the fact I did a lot of walking yesterday. I could feel slight pain in my legs too which was not a good sign but not severe as I headed down stairs with smudge. I took her on a small walk around the farm area trying to find the pathway leading to Mt. Snowdon. I headed south towards the back of the farm passing a huge red tractor until I came across a small wooden gate with a small track leading away. So I headed to it and up the slight incline alongside a small group of trees until the land opened out into huge farm fields and golden valleys. It was very beautiful but I didn’t want to go too far so I headed back to our cottage.

Snowdonia

I could tell my mother was awake as the lights were on when I returned. We helped ourselves to breakfast passing the time by playing cards and going over what we were going to do today. Smudge wanted to join in too so the next game we dealt her some cards and it was game on; she ended up winning the game. Anyway, my mother had the idea of visiting a place called Porthmadog and possibly the surrounding areas too. We packed the car for the journey as we wouldn’t be walking there due to the fact it was 10 mile south of our location. My mother decided to head off with Smudge down to the metal gate 200 yards from the farm ready to open it for me when I made my way down there.

A while passed until I left the cottage making my way down the track towards my mother. However, it took me a very long time to cover 200 yards in the car du to the fact I was slowed down by two stubborn sheep who wouldn’t get off the track. I tried beeping my horn and shouting “MINT SAUCE!” out of my window but still they wouldn’t move. Eventually I passed the sheep with my mother and dog in the car making our way to Porthmadog. We were heading towards the village of Beddgelert quite rapidly taking us a few minutes to arrive there compared to yesterdays 2 hour walk. We quickly left Beddgelert and once we did the roads were exceptionally breathtaking. They were narrow winding roads completely overtaking by autumn forests with leaves blowing across the whole road. I thought this was definitely the right time to come to Wales with all the beautiful autumn colours of reds, browns, yellows and oranges. My mother loved the views too and then they became even better as we gained height along the Snowdonia mountain range.

Beddgelert

Further down the road bypassing Pont Aberglaslyn, the land suddenly became flat still going along farmer’s fields and a beautiful river called ‘Afon Glaslyn’. Then after passing a place called Tremadog, we came across the welcome signs for Porthmadog. Following the signs for the town centre the first place we came across was the large supermarket ‘Tesco’ which would be good for essentials later on. We came across a huge area for parking right next to the sports centre laden with empty spaces. So we parked up, grabbed our small rucksacks and dog ready to explore this coastal town. 

Approaching Porthmadog

Bypassing Tesco we walked straight onto the high street full of unique novelty shops and charity shops too. There was an abundance of cafes and bakery’s along the stretch of road which were great should we want to stop and rest. We walked into a few unique shops and walked straight back out with some of them as they were really expensive. We were focusing more on finding the beautiful harbour and train station further down the main street so we continued walking as Smudge was getting admired by locals and travellers. We came across a Costa coffee shop so we decided to sit and relax with a good coffee. We were also trying to enjoy the peace of the town but smudge had other intentions by barking at anyone getting too close to her. A long time passed before we headed off again approaching a familiar shop called ‘Edinburgh Woolen Mill’ which sold the best novelty items and good clothing to keep you warm. Speaking of clothing, I walked out of there with a good warm jacket as they had a big sale on.

Porthmadog

As we moved on we realised we arrived at the harbour area and train station we were looking for. It was everything we thought it would be; majestic and quiet. The sound of the rigging on several boats hitting the metal masts was very soothing and relaxing as we drew nearer to it. I could sense peace in my mother’s heart too staring out over the harbour whereas smudge was more concerned about sniffing a nearby tangled rope. We moved on and headed for the train station next to the harbour. 

Porthmadog Harbour

As we got closer I could see a billow of steam and then caught sight of a very beautiful green and gold locomotive being filled with water for its journey across Snowdonia. The hissing sound was immense but enjoyable to witness and as I looked over to the rustic train station, I could see a few carriages full of people waiting for the incredible journey with eager faces from the children and some adults. It looked very inviting but we stayed where we were as the ticket prices were a bit out of our range.

Green Steam Train

Porthmadog Train Station

We headed away from the harbour area to the opposite side of the road laden with train tracks and what welcomed us next was absolutely beautiful. With the large stretch of water in front of us, there was a picturesque view of Snowdonia mountain range far in the distance which truly took my breath away. 

Snowdonia Mountain Range

As it was dinner time at this point we decided to grab something quick to take with us so we headed to a baker shop called ‘Jessie’s’. The workers of the shop were all admiring Smudge as they were trying to focus on making our sandwiches too. We eventually headed back to the car wolfing our food down and figuring out what to do next. We scanned through the road map and finally made a decision to head for a place called Harlech. It seemed like a pretty area to visit and it was only a short drive along the coast. So off we went passing through the town of Porthmadog along the coastline enjoying the beautiful views along the way.

We passed a small place called ‘Penrhyndeudraeth’ which was a mouthful and head banger to try and say the name. We quickly arrived to the coastal area of Harlech and the first thing we could see was a large castle upon the hilltop. It seemed as though there was hardly anything to see around this area as the castle was the only main thing so my mother went into a nearby newsagents and asked where to go for the sea view plus to grab some food essentials. She came back and told me to head west on the quiet road we were on.

Harlech Castle

Along the way we came across a golf course hoping any golf balls weren’t going to hit the car and then we arrived at the very quiet car park. It was nice to get out the car again as we all headed towards the high sandy dunes to the west. At the moment we were walking on a tarmac pathway and then it suddenly faded away underneath the golden sands making the walk to the beach harder. We were completely surrounded by dunes but behind us was a most beautiful sight of the mountain range once more which to be honest was a first vision for me to see being on a beach.
Smudge was enjoying the fact she was off her leader too running around frantically feeling free as she was kicking sand everywhere. 

Harlech

Harlech Sand Dunes

We eventually emerged out of the huge sand dunes and long grass to the colossal sized stretch of beach spreading as far as the eye could see with absolutely no one on it. It felt as though we were the only people and dog on the planet. The beach was all ours to explore so I joined Smudge by running around frantically which got her more excited and happy. My mother was just enjoying the views and peace without a care in the world. The seafront was still quite far away so we took the walk together to the waters edge. The water was very calm with faint waves flowing towards us which were very therapeutic. We spent a very long time here still with nobody to be seen until we headed back to the car.

Harlech Beach

Me and my Mother at Harlech

We took the drive back to Porthmadog and did an hours worth of shopping at Tesco before setting off back to the farm 10 mile away. Again I would enjoy the scenic drive through the autumn forests and valleys for the next 10 mile until we pulled up outside the farm 30 minutes later. It was still a beautiful sight to slowly approach the farm looking pretty as it was below Snowdon. We eventually emptied the bags of shopping and my mother had quite a shock when she looked out of her bedroom doors. Sheep were surrounding the area and we definitely thought they planned an ambush on us. So I retaliated and scared them off shouting “MINT SAUCE!” As I was outside anyway I decided to grab some wood for the wood burner throughout the small forest.

Snowdonia

As I reached to the higher area I could hear the sound of sheepdogs barking away in the distance. I soon made my way back inside the cottage as it was becoming dark and cold outside. I spent then next hour or so lighting the wood burner with numerous failings along the way until the flames we billowing out from the wood. I also felt like a caveman jumping up and down with excitement at the sight of fire. Everything became very cosy and warm at this point of the evening and we then received word from the farmer that our Jacuzzi was ready to be used. So I relaxed whilst my mother went into it for the next 30 minutes. She came back in feeling happy and relaxed so it was my turn to head to it.

I entered the small barn through the big wooden doors closing them behind me just incase a sheep decided it wanted to join me and I was eager to get in. I had the area all to myself and as I got into the Jacuzzi, I felt so relaxed enjoying life and feeling at peace once more drifting off at the thought of this incredible place of Snowdonia.

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