Tuesday 24th August 2021
Liz and Martin again gave us a lift to Porthmadog but this time they were joining us on the 10:15 Glaslyn Venturer from Porthmadog to Beddgelert.
This time there was no need to position Matilda as gatekeeper of the carriage as we had pre-booked a premium spot in one of two observation compartments.
There are panoramic windows, plush seats for six with small tables and, even at this hour in the morning, Matilda and Liz felt they should be sipping champagne wearing 1930s cocktail dresses. It seems not everyone was buying into the experience with the same enthusiasm.
Instead of traversing The Cob, this time we set off in the opposite direction, through Porthmadog itself.
We started the journey at the rear of the train with uninterrupted views back down the track.
And being at the back of the train provides the opportunity . . .
. . . to see the engine and the train as they curve around bends in the track in front.
Hot air rises. We know this. But it was nevertheless eerie to see the steam emerging from an uphill tunnel behind us as though a Welsh dragon lurked within breathing smoke.
The construction of the track . . .
. . . and the views of the surrounding countryside . . .
. . . were impressive. Beddgelert itself is also picturesque with the River Glaslyn running through the centre.
Liz had recommended the ice cream shop in Bedgellert.
This did not disappoint and Matilda was pleased to see the ice cream cones featuring Welsh dragons. again.
Beddgelert translates literally as Gelert’s grave. In the thirteenth century Llywelyn was Prince of North Wales and owned a faithful hound named Gelert. The story goes that the Prince returned from a hunting trip one day to be greeted enthusiastically by a blood-stained Gelert. When the prince looked for his infant son the crib was empty and the sheets bloody so he mortally stabbed Gelert, thinking his dog had killed the young boy. The dog’s dying yelp was answered by a cry from the young child whom the father found unharmed with the body of a mighty wolf nearby.
LLywelyn then understood how cruelly he had rewarded such devoted service and is said never to have smiled again. He buried the faithful Gelert here with honours.
On the return journey, of course we were directly behind the steam engine.
Our departure was initially delayed by several sheep grazing by the rails in front of us and the driver herded them very slowly along the track until they could escape up the embankment . . .
. . . so we could enjoy the scenery in reverse.
We took a stroll around Porthmadog before driving back to the campsite for a BBQ [see dish of the day].