Two Hundred and Fifty Miles through North Wales: Day 4, Part 1

On day 4 the group continue to explore Harlech Castle after paying a four pence admission fee. After breakfast they leave Harlech, heading towards Blaenau Ffestiniog at 9.30am.

Forth Day

Thursday 18th September 1890

Harlech to Ffestiniog and Betws y Coed

Up pretty early to have a look at the town of Harlech, which is not very attractive. The sea is about a mile distant in the hollow below the Castle. The Castle is very old and very pretty. It is supposed to have been built in 1286 by Edward the first on foundations of an even older building. In 1404 Owain Glyndwr got possession of the fortress in the time of Edward 4th. The Earl of Pembroke laid siege to the fortress when 6000 men were found killed at the entrance gates. This was the siege which is said to have produced that fine Welsh Melody “The March of the Men of Harlech”. The Castle again played its part during the Cromwellian Wars being the last fortress in Wales that held out for the King. There is a walk along the walls of the building with a magnificent outlook to Snowdon. Visitors are admitted to the Castle on payment of four pence each. The Castle is all covered with ivy which affords a fine covering for the numerous crows, jackdaws and other birds which infest the place. From the Castle hill we get a pretty view of the rainbow and return to an enjoyable breakfast and prepare for off.

At 9.30 once more in the wagonette we started in a drizzling rain for Festiniog, 14 miles distant. We had not proceeded far before we came to a nice stretch of country where wild pigeons and hawks were pretty numerous. Beyond Harlech the bases of low hills are skirted with the flat track of Morfa Harlech. On the left, stretching to the sandy shore and across the bay is seen the coast from Port Madoc [Porthmadog] past Criccieth to Pwllheli and the Lleyn promontory. There is also a noble display of mountains including Llwyd Mawr, Moel Hebog, Snowdon Cynicht and Moelwyn. Soon the road descends to flat ground and is not interesting until we get about four miles from Harlech proceeding onward and we got into a narrow road or lane where a youth was driving half a dozen cows. We made various efforts to pass them and the cows kept running on. The more we tried, the faster they ran and eventually the youth was pumped out with running. This continued for about two miles when we stopped in order to let the youth get up with us, and to enable him to get before the cattle, in order to drive them into a field ahead of us. No doubt the youth came quicker that day than he had ever done before. If he only went back at the same speed his employer would have been surprised at his quickness.

For more images of  Harlech Castle please follow this link

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