Today was a cool overcast day. We drove to the town centre and walked to the attractive estuary and harbour where there are many boats moored. Just past this is the railway terminus for two of Wales’ finest narrow-gauge train journeys; The Welsh Highland Railway which runs to Caernarfon and the Ffestiniog Railway, the world’s oldest surviving narrow-gauge railway which runs from Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog. Today we saw the 150-year-old steam locomotive and monogrammed wooden carriages with passengers ready to depart on its journey. There was steam rising skywards as it departed the station. It was a great sight to see.
We then drove to see Portmeirion Village consisting of a collection of colourful buildings with a heavy Italian influence. On the road back, we drove past Castell Deudraeth.
We continued to Dolgellau, a charming little market town with the highest concentration of heritage-listed buildings in Wales built in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. We walked the streets and along the estuary at the edge of the town and had an informative chat to the local policeman for at least 15 minutes. So helpful and friendly.
Leaving Dolgellau we called into the remains of the Cymer Abbey which was built in 1198. The abbey was never completed because of funding and so they built a wing with a tower. Today all that is left standing is the remains of the main section and an outline of the abbey walls. We continued to Barmouth along the Mawddach Estuary. As we entered the town the Barmouth Bridge spanning 700 metres of the Estuary dominates the landscape. It was built in 1867 for the new railway and is one of the longest wooden viaducts in Britain. It has a swing bridge to allow tall ships to enter the estuary. You certainly can’t miss this landmark. At the end of the estuary it opened to a lovely sandy beach. This town is a seaside resort with Georgian and Victorian architecture and a very busy place. Driving along the seaside road it reminded us of Highway 1 in California.
As you drive into Caernarfon, the majestic Caernarfon Castle dominates the landscape. It is one of the most complete and impressive castles in Britain. We walked around and through the walls and towers and along the Victorian Docks. The lanes within the castle walls are cobbled stoned and many of the buildings have been converted into apartments. A great place to wander aimlessly.
We continued to Snowdonia Park Campsite for the night.