Friday 24 June 2022

Sherpa'r Wyddfa (un)

The Traditional Steam Ascent

Rack and pinion steam locos push their single coach steadily (but slowly) up the UK's only proper mountain railway from a terminus at Llanberis. 
But diesels now appear with posh new coaches which offer the same glorious ride but, somehow, without that warm glow inside - inside the passengers as well as the engine's firebox!
Diesels? New-fangled things, they'll never catch on!

There is a well-worn saying that if you cannot see the summit of Snowdon, it will be raining up there.
On the other had, if the summit is clear ...
... it will be thick cloud and driving rain by the time you get up there. The weather was, at best, varied when Tim Dunn rode the very first train of the season.
Did you spot that the returning staff train and the train delivering water were both diesel hauled.

Everything has to be taken up to the Summit caff ...
... which is a great improvement on the old terminus facilities.
Timmy's video may be from a previous year as the visitor centre and caff are closed until 2023 with trains terminating at Clogwyn.
There is building work in hand at the summit!
Or mayhap Timmy's staff trains were supplying the building staff? He doesn't say!

fbb has ascended by train twice. Once when he was a little lad, with mum, dad, grannie and sister; and once with Mrs fbb and the three younger fbb sprogs. 

When a spotty oik, fbb remembers approaching via the Llanberis pass ..

... and spotting three teensy-weensy little trains chuffing wearily, one behind the other, atop that escarpment as seen above. It was utterly exciting to think that he and the family would soon be all the way up there! No one seems to have captured such a view, but imagine it to be something like this ...
... but viewed from the valley floor to the right and very much below.

The mountain ride is expensive, but should be experienced at least once in a lifettime - and, even better, once when the sun is shining all the way!

But the fit will be keen to walk up the monster.,. fbb has never felt that sense off keenness and potential achievement!

There are SIX possible routes ...

... of which the easiest parallels the railway (BLUE) from Llanberis. The Pyg Track (LIGHT BROWN) and the Miners Track (MUD GREEN) leave from Pen-y-Pass ...
... which is very easy to get to by public transport. The other routes, Snowdon Ranger (DARK BROWN), Rhyd-Ddu (GREEN) and Watkin (GREY) are also all accessible by bus.

As our astute readers will know (and maybe some non-astute readers?) the Watkin Path is named after Edward Watkin ...

progenitor of the very first "High Speed One", namely the Great Central Railway. There is no evidence that our Ed trekked up Snowdon with great regularity, or even planned a standard gauge line spiralling round the peak to its summit, but he did have a house nearby!

Had Watkin succeeded, trains could well have been running between Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester and Rugby (for Birmingham) then on via his tunnel to destinations in Europe by 1900! No one seems to have worked out what they would do with the smoke!

An earlier 1802 version would have had chimneys for ventilation!

Less of these digressions : tomorrow fbb will look at the Snowdon Sherpa bus network as recently revised.

Meanwhile the leaflet for the fbb's July Fellowship meetings has been prepared, so below is a fairly easy quiz section from page 1.
Easy, innit!

After carefully checking and printing 55 copies, fbb has just noticed some laughable errors above. It should read "A God-like entity, nemesis of Jean-Luc Picard".

Why do you only spot them after you have printed the whole batch?

Puzzle Picture
Where is this?
And a clue:-
Answer tomorrow - if fbb doesn't forget!

 Next mountaineering blog : Saturday 25th June 


  1. Andrew Kleissner24 June 2022 at 09:51

    i find it amusing that the SMR says that its carriages are "pushed by traditional diesel locomotives from 1985". Two actually were replaced in 2020 by diesel/battery hybrids.

  2. I would guess that the puzzle picture is Tower Bridge (London).