Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Welsh Weekend

Stunning - just stunning... our views of the Mawddach Estuary on Saturday as we walked to Barmouth over the amazing rail bridge.

Mawddach Estuary
Barmouth Rail Bridge
We parked at Morfa Mawddach (no charge) a small railway station on the south side of the estuary. The station was once the third biggest in Wales known as “Barmouth Junction” with 5 platforms linking the railway to Dolgellau and the Cambrian Coast. The route is now a well trodden trail, Mawddach Trial, which is enjoyed by many walkers and cyclists.

Barmouth Bridge is the northern end to the trail. The wooden viaduct stretches 900m across the tidal Afon Mawddach estuary connecting Fairbourne, Arthog and surrounding villages to Barmouth. It's finale is a cast iron rail bridge with dual arches, quite an experience when the Arriva train trundles past. There is a small charge of 70p for an adult and this includes your return walk.

Cader Idris stands guard over the southern edge with the Giant Idris sleeping peacfully amongst the foothills. The mountain has many myths and legends; if the giant wakes it is said Wales will fall and anyone sleeping on the mountain overnight will awake as either a madman or a poet!

Sleeping Idris
Barmouth is the northern stop of the trail. It's a typical seaside town; amusements arcades; fish and chips shops; seaside rock shops; all fill the small flat area between the mountains and the sea. Many of the houses climb the hillside with stunning views across the estuary. Barmouth is a hive of activity throughout the year; motorsports on the beach; music festivals; Three Peaks yatch race.

Arriva arriving in Barmouth
Walking back across the bridge the noise can be deafening; not trains but oyster catchers. They squeak and squal constantly in their search for food. It amazing to watch then suddenly dive their beaks into the sand and emerge with a mussel, tightly shut against it's foe. But the oyster catcher is unperturbed, hammering away with it's beak until the mussel is defeated and satisfyingly consumed.

Walking over the bridge on Saturday we were treated to a fly past, no the usual RAF jets who use the area for training but a flock of geese - honking their way up the estuary.

Fly Past
The weather was perfect for visiting Wales. The autumn colours displayed the mountains and estuary in it's full glory. It can be quite different and walking the bridge is not so enjoyable on a cold blustery day at high tide - much nicer then to sit indoors and watch the waves crash against the harbour wall.

We ended our trip with a quick visit to Dolgellau.  It's a small narrow streeted Welsh town at the head of the Mawddach estuary with a good choice of inns and cafes. Our favourite is T H Roberts, once an ironmongers the amazing building is now a cafe with many of the original Victorian fixtures and fittings, inclding the 'office' where you can enjoy your coffee and cake in peace. The variety of teas, coffees and homemade cakes are amazing; our favoruite being the warmed scones served with jam and fresh cream.
T H Roberts
An amazing area of West Wales with activities for all, however active you feel like being.

1 comment:

I'm so pleased you're enjoying my travel and wine ramblings - I love reading your replies too, thank you for posting a comment