Advantages A chance to see beautiful scenery from the top of a mountain, fun and educational
Disadvantages A relatively expensive excursion considering it costs nothing to walk up Snowdon!
The Snowdon Mountain Railway, when I realised what I'd signed up for, wasn't the thing I looked forward to most about my trip to North Wales. A double-trouble fear of heights and anxiety regarding train journeys made me slightly nervous, let's put it like that. I do, however, love the views in Wales - a bit of an uphill walk can lead you to the most amazing places, and where better than Mt Snowdon? A compromise (read: challenge) was struck up - we'd catch the train up and walk down, after running it by the kids it was decided and I made a telephone booking for the Sunday of our trip. We'd actually hoped to ride the train on the day before but it was fully booked; it's possible to turn up and hope for the best on a weekday but I'd recommend you book if you want to visit at the weekend, especially if you are travelling a distance.
When our turn to embark the train arrived I was surprised to see how old the trains looked, a quick flick through the guide book told me that this was one of the original 1895 trains - a fact that made me sweat a little considering how nervy I am of trains at the best of times! Inside the carriages are obviously 'of the age' too - hard benches and sitting literally shoulder to shoulder with other passengers. It's not a particularly comfortable ride, but once you get going the beautiful scenery will take your mind off the fact that you're sitting so close to a stranger!And the scenery certainly is beautiful, from the moment the train begins moving you can feel the upwards gradient and once you're clear of the station (around five minutes into your journey) the whole of Snowdonia seems to open out in front of you. The incline is fairly steep to begin with with a few hair-raising drops to the side of the train tracks - not great for a height hater like me, but the landscape and way the track has been designed means I can just look the other way when I spot something scary on one side or another!
You'd think the best scenery would be when you get towards the summit of the mountain, but you'd be wrong. On the first section of your journey you'll see a stunning waterfall, plenty of beautiful greenery, sheep (of course!) and even a small disused chapel built on the mountain which was in use until the 1950s. The clear commentary on board the train tells you where to look to see the various sights on your trip up Mt Snowdon; I felt there was a little too much anecdotal history in this commentary, but it has apparently been the same for years so most passengers must enjoy it!
|Is it worth visiting?|
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