Friday, 31 March 2017

Deliveries to Campbell's Platform

Easter is approaching and the railway will be busy so it’s time to make Campbell’s Platform look its best. A quick mow of the grass. A new hanging basket or two. And a lick of paint on the signal box. Not any old paint – it needs to be the Ffestiniog Railway platform specification.

The friendly person in charge of paint agreed to send up a tin on the next train.

I waited for our delivery at the platform and the train came into view with the wind whipping up the steam. But as it approached there was no slowing down and it steamed straight on to Blaenau. Surely they hadn’t forgotten?

No, they dropped it off on the way back down. It’s more energy efficient to start when you’re pointing downhill.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

The Snowdonian on Grand National Day

At about the same time as the horses and jockeys race around Aintree on Saturday 8th April I'll be looking out for The Snowdonian.

It's a triple marathon covering the 80 mile round trip starting from Porthmadog at 08:45. Breakfast is served on the train en route to Caernarfon, with lunch at The Goat in Beddgelert on the return to Harbour Station. Then it's up and down the Vale of Ffestiniog and back to the starting point at 18:15 if all goes to plan.

The very few first class tickets cost £400 but if you don't mind slumming it in 3rd class it's a mere £180. Booking details are here. 

The last time I watched it going past it was running a bit late as it rounded Tank Curve and past Campbell's Platform.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Trains over the Roof

There’s something really relaxing about water flowing through the garden; the stream, various ponds and waterfalls. But the best water feature of all is steam – steam trains gliding over the roof of the house. Running water and running trains. All the mod cons at Campbell's Kingdom.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

One Swallow does not a Summer Make

Merddin Emrys marks the start of summer
Yes, but the first train at the end of March marks the start of the summer timetable and from now until autumn there will be trains every day.

Next week we’ll have some ‘blue days’, that’s the colour coding on the timetable for four trains a day, and then over Easter we’ll ratchet up to yellow with six – that’s a dozen times I’ll be waving to people as they trundle past Campbell’s Platform.

Somehow the novelty of waving never fades.

Depending on the direction of the wind you can hear the whistle of the train from way down the line, but the first train managed to sneak up the valley, and I had to make a dash for it ..... as you can see in this short film!

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Spring in Ancient Woodlands at Dolmelynllyn

Rhodri and one of his helpers
Spring is here and it’s time for ancient oak woodlands to wake up and burst into life. One of my favourite woodlands is Dolmelynllyn, half way between Campbell’s Kingdom and where the Colonel used to work in Dolgellau.

The Dolmelynllyn estate was the one-time home of William Maddocks, the MP and entrepreneur, famous for building the Cob which established the deep-water harbour at Port Maddock i.e. Porthmadog. For many years Dolmelynllyn has been owned and managed by the National Trust, but what exactly does it mean to ‘manage a woodland’? 

My assignment from the National Trust was to try and bring the subject to life by making a film with Rhodri the ranger. We recorded the activities that corresponded with each of the four seasons and then joined them together to create ‘A Year in the Life of a National Trust Woodland’