The Capper Nomads Europe Adventure travel blog







































We decided to take the Ffestiniog Railway. This is one of the many volunteer run railways in Wales. The narrow –gauge rail line twists and loops up 650ft to the former slate mine town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. Chugging up the steep gradients the small train gave us great views of the Vale of Ffestiniog but as we got nearer to the upper terminus the hills changed to grey with clear evidence of the former slate mining industry.

The line opened in 1836 and carried slates from the mines down to Porthmadog with the help of gravity, horses riding with the slate so they could be used to haul the carriages back up again. Steam was introduced in the later part of the 19th century when Blaenau Ffestiniog was producing over 100,000 tons of slate per year. In between the wars when the slate roofing market collapsed and then the railway carried passengers until the line was abandoned in 1946. It was only through volunteers that the line reopened in 1982.

We arrived after a very enjoyable journey in Blaenau Ffestiniog. We explored the town but it felt that it was dying on its feet. We decided we liked the look of the valley and according to our guide book there was a good trail so we started walking. We made our way down the valley keeping the rail line in sight. Most of the walk was by the lake with great views of the surrounding hills. We arrived at our destination rail station, about half way down the valley, in the middle of nowhere with 15 minutes to spare .When the train came we waved it down as we were at a request stop and enjoyed the return ride to Porthmadog.

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