Alasdair Stewart An aerial view of the Aberglaslyn Pass
The Welsh Highland journey As you can see from the map, our railways follow three river valleys. From Caernarfon, the Welsh Highland Railway ( WHR) starts its climb from alongside the Afon, or River, Seiont, before heading east from Dinas to follow the Afon Gwyrfai valley through Waunfawr to Rhyd Ddu, at the foot of Snowdon. There are paths from our Halt at Snowdon Ranger, and from Rhyd Ddu, to Snowdon's summit. Snowdon, or Yr Wyddfa in Welsh, is 3560 feet ( or 1085m) high – making it the highest mountain in Wales and England. Its part of a range of mountains, three of which are over three thousand feet high. Next to Rhyd Ddu station is Llyn Cwellyn, a beautiful lake which supplies water to Caernarfon and district. In 2009, we open a new part of the railway. Heading south, the railway climbs a little further, breasting the watershed at Pitt's Head – a large rock next to the railway, said to resemble the late Prime Minister's head! From here it's downhill all the way, crossing several minor rivers, such as the Afon Meillionen, which gives its name to the campsite where we have a Halt. The railway twists and turns through Beddgelert Forest, sometimes heading back the way it's come! After passing through a deep cutting it turns back again and heads south to Beddgelert. This is where the railway joins its second river valley – that of the Afon Glaslyn. Leaving Beddgelert, the line passes through a short tunnel and swings across the river on one of the replacement bridges built in 2007 by the Brunswick Ironworks in Caernarfon. Roger Dimmick The railway now follows the river closely through the Aberglaslyn Pass, named recently as the most beautiful landscape in the UK. The railway then passes through several tunnels and the village of Nantmor before reaching the estuary, or Traeth. The railway then crosses the Afon Nanmor and the Afon Dylif, before it makes a sharp right hand turn passing the RSPB osprey nesting site. Another new bridge is crossed at Pont Croesor over the Afon Glaslyn, before the line reaches the outskirts of Porthmadog. Passing the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway on the right, the train then rattles across the Cambrian Coast main line and threads its way into the town itself. On the left is a view across the Llyn Bach tidal reservoir towards The Cob and Boston Lodge works. Trains usually wait here before joining a tramway section across the Britannia Bridge on the A487 and into Porthmadog Harbour Station.