Another day out in Wales.

Yesterday, we had another excursion to Wales, this time offering a choice of venue which were to visit either Betws-Y-Coed or Blanaeu Ffestiniog. I hadn’t a clue as to what either venue offered and hadn’t really made up my mind which one to choose until we arrived there. In the end we decided to remain on the train and not alight at Betws-Y-Coed, although in hindsight we may not have made the right choice. It’s now blatantly obvious to me that I certainly miss the detailed information that used to be supplied to every passenger on the GreenExpress Railtours and which helped you to not only be able to find your way around a venue that you were unfamiliar with, but in cases such as this where you were offered different venues to visit, helped you to decide which one seemed the more interesting.

Scene through the train window

Unfortunately, CompassRailtours  don’t provide a detailed information sheet and brochures about the venues that you are travelling to , so you are completely in the dark about the interesting places that each new venue offers unless you have visited before. All you are given is a simple synopsis of each venue.  Someone else on the train stated that Betws-Y-Coed was just a small village and that Blanaeu Ffestiniog was bound to offer more. After all, it had the Ffestiniog narrow gauge railway and a slate mine so surely it would be the venue of choice. We had just three hours to explore Blanaeu.

When we arrived, it was about 1.00pm or lunch time to my sidekick Kerri,  and all my readers will be well aware of what that means. First priority then was to find somewhere decent to have some lunch. Hmm.  Exiting the railway station, it looked as if the whole place was being completely overhauled. Areas were cordoned off with bright orange fencing surrounding road works and building works making the whole area look unkempt and messy. Right outside the station was supposedly a Hotel which also contained a restaurant called the Queens Hotel. We entered and then quickly beat a hasty retreat. According to the signage outside it was up for sale despite its obvious advantage of being right outside the famous Ffestiniog railway and I would have thought a veritable money spinner owing to its position and a prime choice for tourists to either stay at or eat in.

SAM_0088

As the current owners were obviously vacating the premises, it was run down and didn’t look terribly well looked after, in fact during the short time we were there, there was no member of staff around to ask about meals. Using my mobile and the Local Scout tile, I did a search for somewhere else to eat.  One of the choices was the King’s Head Hotel, so we set off using my phone as a map guide in a similar way to using a Tomtom in a car. It was quite a trek, and at one point we actually crossed the narrow gauge railway and saw the train pass us by.  However we were to be bitterly disappointed when we finally arrived at the King’s Head Hotel as it appeared to be closed!  What sort of place was this? Was nothing open for visitors?

We made our way back to the railway station and entered the fish and chip shop that we had spied earlier. I had been reluctant to choose to have our lunch there but in hindsight we would have been better to do so, as by now it was past 2.00pm and the cafe area where you could sit down to eat your fish and chips was now closed! We had to take them outside and eat them as best we could sitting on a nearby bench in a blustery wind.  Not only that, but at precisely 2.00pm, the ice cream parlour across the road also closed.  Didn’t these people want to encourage visitors and tourists to their town? What on earth was wrong with these people?  The whole place resembled a roadwork’s and there was little or no services provided for visitors! Where were all the gift shops etc.?  Where was all the hospitality and encouragement to return for another visit in the future? 

Note all the work taking place.

I have since learned via the web that our visit was actually ill timed as a ‘regeneration’ of the town was begun as recently as May this year, so we can probably put the whole experience down to bad timing, and hope that once the regeneration has been completed then things vastly improve.  I would have loved to have paid the Llechwedd Slate Caverns a visit whilst we were there, but wasn’t sure how far they were to walk to and therefore whether or not we had enough time.  An ideal opportunity would have been to provide a bus service that picked up visitors from the railway station and took them to the Slate mine.  If we ever return to Blanaeu Ffestiniog in the future then I will make sure that we pay the slate caverns a visit.

The only upside to our visit was that luckily the weather was kind to us as we ventured around the town, and the rain, although always threatening to put in an appearance judging by the dark ominous clouds, thankfully stayed away.  Enjoy my photos album of our day and as always just click on it to see all the photos and also as slideshow if you prefer.

TG

A trek down to town

After an early morning discussion following breakfast and with due regard to the weather, we decided to walk down to town and enjoy a lunch at Wetherspoons. It had been raining earlier so we erred on the safe side and wrapped ourselves in our raincoats just in case. We set off at about 11.30, and were in no particular hurry to arrive at our intended destination, hence the rather long chat with one of our acquaintances on the way. We journeyed in a rather haphazard fashion, not walking directly down to town, but taking in our local library so that I could take some photos of the building and the surrounding gardens.

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Yesterday’s Trek in the Snow.

What a morning we had yesterday! I should have known to stay put when it took me an age to get my boots on. Fastening laces and squeezing thick sock clad feet into boots is not my idea of a blissful start to the day. The boss had beaten me to it in her eagerness to stock up with food and was patiently waited downstairs ready to exit the door.  I was therefore in a bad mood to begin with.  We planned to walk through the cemetery (all flat ground with no hills to struggle either up or down) and thence across to a local shop. However, on reaching the road a bus passed us as the road had been cleared.

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A Tour Around Town.

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I had to go down to town this morning, so I thought that I would take you all on a tour around our little town.  It only has two shopping streets and these are mostly filled with charity shops and strangely enough, travel agents. We do have a Boots, a Wilkinson’s, a Sainsbury’s and of course our monstrosity of a Tesco’s.  (Which by the way most of us didn’t want built.)  We have a river running through the town at the southern end, and also a canal which in Victorian times would have been the main thoroughfare for goods arriving to the factories, and one of the old factories that stood right at the side of the canal to enable goods to be easily loaded from the narrowboats  has since been converted into luxury flats.

Now of course, the canal is used mainly for those who prefer to live in a narrowboat and also for canal cruises and pleasure rides.  We do have a boat builders yard though that builds new narrowboats, and at great danger of someone suddenly coming out of the builders and confronting me about why I was loitering on their premises armed with a camera, I managed to sneak a shot of their latest creation.

We also have our own park, one of the nicest I think, in Calderdale. Not too big, not too small,  it has a lovely play area divided sensibly into three, a toddlers area, an older children’s play area and a Skateboard and Bike area for the teens.  At the frontage, we have a lovely flower bed area where folks can go and sit down (weather permitting of course) and while away the time whilst they admire the handiwork of the councils gardeners.

Across the bridge is an open field area that is used every year for our annual Gala. It’s also used by the numerous football teams as well.  It is fringed by the wooded bank rising up steeply at one side, and the beck meandering through the park at the other.  At the opposite end of the park to the Play areas, is the Bowling Greens for the older residents, a Crazy Golf for families to enjoy, two tennis courts and the resident wood carved figure. ( I can’t state a name for him as I am not sure he has one.)

Last time I took a shot of him, he looked very sorry for himself, as he had been left on his side laying prostrate on the floor. (must have fallen over, or been pushed.) However, I was delighted to see that someone has taken pity on him and he is now upright, albeit propped firmly vertical by surrounding stones.  He is also now facing the new swimming baths, whereas originally he faced the other direction. Perhaps someone feels that he should be party to all the fun and games that no doubt will be ensuing there soon.

I shall have other photos to add later, as it was drizzling with rain and so I missed taking any shots of the river and also our lovely train station, nor have I included any photos of the streets in town either.  Enjoy my slideshow and I’ll be back soon.

TG

A Return visit to Cayton Bay. 1. We set off and arrive.

Case all ready packed the day before, we set off via our local bus following a morning where I very nearly drove myself insane with indecision. All over the route to take and method of transport to use. Taxi all the way to Huddersfield Railway station? Catch the bus down to town and then catch another bus to Huddersfield? Bus down to town and then a taxi to the railway station? Bus down to town and then walk up to our railway station and catch a train to Huddersfield?

The decision rested (for me at any rate) on the inclement weather outside. If it continued to rain, then a taxi straight to Huddersfield would be preferred, whereas as always, K’s criteria concerned the fact that she wished to call into her favourite bakery in town in order to buy something to eat for lunch on the train.

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