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

Ffestiniog is described as a ‘nice, clean looking place, elevated and surrounded by much charming scenery’. They visit the slate quarries and describe the place as ‘a hive of industry’.

The Welsh Pony- Ffestiniog Narrow Gauge Railway

DD/DM/1113- Picture of The Welsh Pony, Ffestiniog Narrow Gauge Railway, from the original diary 'Two hundred and fifty miles through North Wales on a wagonette'

Festiniog [Ffestiniog] is a nice clean looking place, it stands in an elevated position and is surrounded by much charming scenery, there is very little to be seen there except the water falls and views of the dales and mountains in the neighbourhood.  In this neighbourhood there is a narrow gauge railway, the engines are so small they are called Welsh ponies.  After staying at the Hotel about an hour we started by the lower road opposite the Hotel for Blaenau Festiniog which is only a few miles distant.  We soon pass Pengwern and Manod, there is nothing very attractive in the drive, we found Blaenau Festiniog a much larger place than Festiniog, in fact one of the largest places we had passed through. The chief occupation of the inhabitants is slate quarrying.

One of the quarrys is known as the Palmerston Quarry, the quarries employ about six thousand men and boys, and give the place quite the appearance of a hive of industry.  We saw mountain after mountain of slate with miniature railways drawing the trucks by rope here, there and everywhere, up and down the hillside.  We pass a reservoir and soon get to a large hill where we are met by boys desiring to sell us Crystals. Here, again the light weight members of the party dismount, the heavy weight riding when we get to the top of the hill. We come to some very wild looking moor land entirely bare of trees and covered with heather rock and grass, we proceed on in this wild country, mile after mile, past thousands of sheep grazing on the moors and at last we come in sight of the River Lledr where there is excellent fishing.  We pass the Roman Bridge Railway Station as Great Britain could produce, on past Penrhiw and come in sight of an Old Castle, which we found to be Dolwyddelan Castle. It is perched on a small height some yards form the road, there is now only a square tower and part of an old wall which looks quite perfect having been repaired some years ago.  The stronghold formerly occupied the entire summit on which it is built, it was never very large, it is said to have been the birthplace of Llewellyn the Great and it was also the last stronghold in Wales the resisted Edward the first.

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