Two Hundred and Fifty Miles through North Wales: Day 3, Part 4

At 2 o’clock the group head for Harlech where they describe Harlech Castle and Cardigan Bay and spend the night at the Clogwyn Temperance Hotel. Due to the poor weather, the group spent the evening playing cards.

Plan of Harlech Castle

DD/DM/1113- Plan of Harlech Castle from the original diary 'Two hundred and fifty miles through North Wales on a wagonette'

At 2 o’clock Tommy was again ready for off, our destination this time being Harlech.  We were first getting into the wagonette when Righton turned up to wish us a pleasant journey, soon after it commenced to rain awfully hard, it came down in bucketfuls.  After sheltering near some shops for a time we decided to make progress and off we went.  We soon reach Llanaber over a mile distant.  We pass the Old Church built about the 13th Century, had it been fine we should have had a fine view across the sea towards the coast line of Carnarvonshire [Caernarvonshire] the land scenery about here is very tame indeed.  We pass on with the railway on our left past Egryn Abbey to Llanddwywe and Llaneddwyn [Llanenddwyn] and Dyffryn on to Llanbedr famous for its fishing.

We drive on past Pensarn Station to the left is Llanddanwg [Llandanwg] where there is a long since abandoned Church, which dates from the 14th Century, the graveyard only of which is used. It contains a few slabs of slate dated 1600.  All the covering of the roofs has vanished half the timbers have fallen into the sacred enclosure, the sand has drifted about the graveyard wall and re interred a thousand dead, and a lovely carpet of verdure has veiled the stones.  Wild herbs, brambles and shrubs encumber the chancel and aisles, no door or glass remains.  A fisherman dries his nets on the alter tombs, and these memorials slope at all angles, letting their slabs inscribed with old Welsh names and prayers, slide to the earth to be half covered with wildflowers and herbage.  We pass on to Llanfair when turning the road we come in sight of the beautiful old ruin of Harlech Castle, as we approach Harlech the Cardigan Bay lies before us (on a fine day the Castle of Criccieth on the Caernarvonshire coast and the town of Pwllheli can be seen from here) on our left we have the railway immediately below us with about a mile of flat marshy land extending to the sea shore. 

It is now 3.30 and being very wet we decide to “anchor” for the night. We put Tommy up at the Lion (or Blue Lion Hotel)- a place where the people are too slow for a funeral. We decided to hunt for diggings elsewhere. We found a very clean and comfortable house with Mrs Rees Evans, Clogwyn Temperance Hotel, the only drawback was waiting so long for our food, “slow and sure” appears to be the motto of people here. The rain still continuing we had no other alternative but to play cards and amuse ourselves indoors the best way we could. We had some amusement from the sitting room window, watching the efforts of two dirty looking Welsh women trying to get two pigs out of a garden into the sty from where they had escaped. One of our party drew attention to a picture in the fire and grate of what she thought was a Persian or Russian cat. Something has mesmerised our lady friend as the picture represented a barn door owl, the mesmerism had extended to more than one of the party who mistook potatoes for peas. The weather having put the damper on, we retired to rest in good time ready for the next day’s journey.

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