Last week we undertook our yearly (For 3 years anyway)trip to Wales for a music festival and en route we could once again marvel at the wonderful Welsh countryside. North Wales,Snowdonia in particular is a wonderfully rich mountainous region with snow covered peaks,glorious valleys and fast running rivers.Snowdonia National Park covers 823 square miles and boasts some of the highest peaks in Wales, reaching to 1085m at the top of Snowdon.
Mount Snowdon has a railway taking people almost to the summit.
The Snowdon Mountain Railway (SMR; Welsh: Rheilffordd yr Wyddfa) is a narrow gauge rack and pinion mountain railway in Gwynedd, north-west Wales. It is a tourist railway that travels for 4.7 miles (7.6 km) from Llanberis to the summit of Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales. The SMR is the only public rack and pinion railway in the United Kingdom, and after more than 100 years of operation it remains a popular tourist attraction. The line is owned and operated by Heritage Great Britain plc, operators of several other tourist attractions in the United Kingdom.
The railway is operated in some of the harshest weather conditions in Britain, with services curtailed from reaching the summit in bad weather and remaining closed during the winter from November to mid-March. Single carriage trains are pushed up the mountain by either steam locomotives or diesel locomotives. It has also previously used diesel railcars as multiple units. The SMR was the inspiration for the fictional Culdee Fell Railway, appearing in the book “Mountain Engines”, part of the “The Railway Series” written by Reverend W. Awdry.
As well as its impressive mountains, the Park boasts a range of other natural features – rivers, lakes, waterfalls, moorlands, forests, glacial valleys and a stunning coastline.Mining was once a major industry in the area, nowadays these former slate quarries and gold and copper mines are popular visitor attractions.Walking is the most popular activity in the Park but climbing, white water rafting, pony trekking and wind surfing are also available.
Several small railways run through the park and provide a great way to take in the scenery including The famous Ffestiniog Railway, Snowdon Mountain Railway and Bala Lake Railway. There are 17 National Nature Reserves in Snowdonia, more than in any other National Park in England and Wales and some 56 Sites of Special Scientific Interest.In all our trips to Wales we’ve yet to visit the mountains and the sights but we will hopefully one day soon as it is just spectacular.