Two Hundred and Fifty Miles through North Wales: Day 4, Part 2

The group continue towards Blaenau Ffestiniog describing the route and view along the way. They arrive at 11.40 in the Abbey Arms Hotel.

Pengwern Arms Hotel

DD/DM/1113- Picture of the Pengwern Arms Hotel from the original diary 'Two hundred and fifty miles through North Wales on a wagonette'

A little further on the mountains appeared in front.  Glyn a residence of Lord Harlech is on the right, a little distance from the road stands the village of Llanfihangel y Traethan where there is an old Church built in the twelfth century, five miles from Harlech, to our left the Hamlet of  Tal y Sarnau is passed, one  mile further through a toll gate the road winds between low rocky hills and brings us to the side of the estuary of  Traeth Bach just where it narrows and becomes known as the River Dwyryd which descends from Maentwrog. As we proceed by the side of the river, the Manod mountains and the Maentwrog and Festiniog villages appear about one mile before arriving at Maentwrog a brook is crossed which issues from a glen on the right.   Up this dell is a cataract known as Rhaiadr Ddu or Black cataract where the water flows over rocks for a few feet into a deep wooded dell, a little higher up the dell is the Raven fall where the scenery is of a wilder character, returning to the road the Valley becomes more beautiful at every step.  The river flowing through the meadows with hills on either side the lower slopes of which are wooded and above on the north peers the rugged height of Moelwyn.  We get a good view first of the Dog Kennels and then of Oakley House which is a prominent object standing on high ground in the midst of woods on the opposite side of the river, we enter Maentwrog and find it a pleasant village at the head of the finest reach of the Vale.

On the south bank of the river at the base of a low hill partly clothed with timber where the little Church is half hid by yew trees. We pass on over an Ivy mantled bridge where a stream issues from a densely wooded dingle on our right. We come to two cross roads, here we enquire from a boy the way to Festiniog he directs us to the right;  we also enquire from an old man, he not understanding English looks at us in wonderment, the boy comes up, the two chatter together in Welsh and we finally take the road to the right.  The lower road bends to the left and runs up the Vale to Blaenau Festiniog we have then to go up a very steep hill which necessitates our getting out and walking.  On looking back from this hill we get a most lovely view of the water and Valley, many hundred feet below us lies the fairy looking vale of Maentwrog with its winding river encircled by well wooded hills and crowned with the bare rocks of the still higher mountains and stretching in the direction of Trawsfynnydd.  We soon pass the Pengwern Arms Hotel and on our left and arrive at Festiniog at 20 to 12, having had very little rain after leaving Harlech.  We passed through a delightful country, at times we had the water in the lake on our left whilst high above us on the rocks were thousands of sheep, some standing on pieces of jutting rock on which it seemed almost impossible for anything living to gain a footing.  We put up at the Abbey Arms Hotel kept by a very nice old lady, who was very obliging, here we partook of anything that came to the net (mouth) and got into conversation with a tourist from London, who gave us some hints as to the best road to take for the next stage of our journey.

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