We were assigned the only mooring deep enough to hold us and twice a day we could watch the surrounding boats coming to rest on the mud and sand around us. Most of the yachts in the harbour were bilge keelers specially designed to stay upright while sat on the bottom.

The first day we rowed across to the harbour wall and walked the hundred meters to the Ffestiniog Railway. This is a narrow gauge railway that heads up in to the hills and ultimately to the town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. The trains are driven by steam engines and the route very scenic. This was Heidi’s chance to see something else of Wales than sandy beaches and holiday homes. Blaenau used to be a center for slate production so we headed into the hills to look at the post industrial landscape above town and explore a bit. The town itself is doing its best to become a tourist location but there is only so much you can do with piles of grey slate and 200 days rain a year. We broke the return journey half way to take a walk through a Welsh rainforest.

Blaenau Fffestiniog
Blaenau Fffestiniog

On the second day we caught another more conventional train to Harlech and visited Harlech Castle. Since Neill’s last visit thirty years ago they have built a visitor center which explained the building and history of the castle. A quick course in British history for Heidi. Norman conquest, War of the Roses and English civil war all in 15 minutes.

The next morning we planned on leaving but revised our schedule because of Storm Hector. With gale force nine forecast we stayed hidden in Porthmadog. Even so we saw over 20 knots on the anemometer so we were both glad to still be in harbour. The dinghy ride from the yacht club to the boat was exciting.

The next day we left on the high tide to continue our journey south.

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