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Walks from the Welsh Highland Railway

The Welsh Highland Railway, running between Caernarfon and Porthmadog, where it connects with the Ffestiniog Railway, is the longest heritage railway in the U.K. and a major tourist attraction in North Wales. Using powerful narrow gauge steam locomotives it offers a spectacular 25 mile journey through the heart of the Snowdonia National Park, past lakes and beneath Snowdon, then through picturesque Beddgelert.

 

It owes its origins to several separate narrow gauge railway initiatives during the 19th and early 20th centuries, primarily to serve local slate quarries. In 1922 the Welsh Highland Railway was formed from the merger of two companies and work began to construct missing links, which enabled the opening of the railway between Dinas, just south of Caernarfon, to Porthmadog in 1923. It faced difficulties from the beginning. The slate industry was in decline and passenger traffic was competing with new road transport. The Ffestiniog Railway took over its management in 1934 but by 1937 all traffic had ceased. Most of the railway was dismantled during World War 11.

 

However the trackbed remained and there began a long and controversial campaign to restore the railway and extend it to Caernarfon. Eventually the Ffestiniog Railway Company took responsibility for the restoration and the line was completed in 2011.

 

This book provides the opportunity to explore on foot the stunning scenery and history of the varied landscape the railway passes through. It offers 32 circular or linear walks from or between stations, which can be combined with a train ride. The routes, which range from a simple riverside stroll to an exhilarating mountain ridge walk, follow public rights of way, permissive paths or cross Open Access land. They include Lon Gwyrfai and Lon Eifion recreational trails, and the former Bryngwyn Branch railway line.

 

There are walks along the coast, around the fortified walled town of Caernarfon, a World Heritage Site, and the former slate port of Porthmadog. Others take you through the beautiful Aberglaslyn Pass, hidden upland valleys and woodland, past old slate quarries and across foothills offering great views, including Snowdon itself. Many walks are never far from the railway, sometimes alongside it, offering great views of the steam trains.

 

 

 

 

 

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David's books are available from local tourist information centres, all good bookshops, outdoor shops and other local outlets which vary from area to area. Alternatively any book can be ordered direct from Kittiwake