First day of another IH roadtrip to Britain (before BREXIT kicks in and all that). This time, I took a red eye ferry to Holyhead (d. Dublin 0155, arrive Holyhead 0530). As it is an overnight, I booked a cabin on the ferry. This was more spacious that I had expected and was complete with own toilet/shower/whb.
I was woken by a cabin announcement that we would shortly be docking in Holyhead, so I left my cabin and made my way back to the reception desk to pick up my car keys.
First stop in Wales was at Blaenau Ffestiniog for breakfast. As I had a couple of hours to kill, I set my alarm and went for a snooze in the car.
I arrived at Llechwedd Slate Cavern about 0845 for the 0930 tour. After wandering around above ground for a while, I headed down to the Deep Mine Tour entrance. The Deep Mine Tour takes visitors into the mine by means of an inclined railway, which drops visitors off at an intermediate level. The tour through the mine is done well with audiovisual projections of historic characters onto the rock face in each chamber.
The tour is taken down to a lower level within the mine via 61 steps. The final point in the tour is adjacent to a flooded stope, where the water table is visible and the mine operators have developed a spectacular audiovisual presentation that is projected onto the rock above the water level which, with the echo in the chamber, makes for an impressive experience. The underground tour ends back at the carriage on the incline which is brought down to the lower level to allow for exit at the end of the underground experience.
Above ground the tour ends with a visit to the slate workshop where our guide (Catherine) showed us how slate was split.
For £10, a visit to Llechwedd Deep Mine Tour is definitely worth it.
My second trip of the day was to the nearby Festiniog Railway.* This is a preserved railway which took over the derelict Festiniog Railway Company and restored the line. As there was no provision in the company’s Act of Parliament to abandon the railway, the original company (formed in 1832) remains as the owner of the line, with this owned by the Ffestiniog Railway Trust. There is an Irish connection to Festiniog railway in that the majority of the investors in the company were Irish and the registered office of the company was 41 Dame Street, Dublin.
*The 1832 Act of Parliament setting up the company gave it the title “Festiniog Railway” (one ‘f’) whereas the town name has two ‘f’s.