Sand On The Tracks

The weather is unseasonably cool today, it’s overcast and to borrow a phrase from Christopher Robin ‘Tut-tut it looks like rain”. After my early morning stroll with the boys it is time to settle down to do some work. So it is early afternoon when we hop in the car and drive to the car park at Morfa Mawddach Station to then walk to Barmouth.

The enveloping cloud has ensured that our walk is at a low level, it would be far too hazardous to contemplate wandering up into the mountains and a walk across Barmouth Bridge is stunning whatever the weather conditions. To me it feels a bit like cheating to start our walk from the car park. Last year we walked from Abergwynant Farm alongside the Mawddach Trail (see the blog of our walk here http://twodogsandanawning.co.uk/barmouth-bridge/ ) but shortage of time today means that we have to be a bit more pragmatic.

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To walk across Barmouth Bridge is a wonderful experience. Last year when we crossed it we had a clear day with stunning views of the Snowdonian Mountains, in particular Cadair Idris. Today low cloud restricts our view but it is still spectacular.

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The bridge is Grade II listed and is said to be 764 yards long and contain 113 wooden trestles supported by iron piers.

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It was opened on 10 October 1867 to form part of the Cambrian Line that connected Aberystwyth with Pwllheli. When first built it had a lifting drawbridge at the Barmouth end to allow tall ships to pass. In 1899 the drawbridge was replaced by a swing bridge, but apparently this has not been opened since 1987.

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At the start of our crossing we see that sand has blown from the beach onto the track. I commuted for years but never heard the excuse for a delayed train as “sand on the tracks”.

I have read that in 1946, in stormy weather a live naval mine washed ashore near the bridge. Apparently the mine came close to one of the pillars, but did not explode. I am nervous enough about bridges without the thought of one blowing up whilst I am crossing it!

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Once over the bridge we wander down to the beach for the boys to chase a ball. If there is one thing that Dexter and Crosby enjoy it is chasing a ball across firm sand near the water’s edge.

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It’s not particularly beach weather, which makes it more enjoyable for us as the beach is deserted and we can appreciate the tranquility and beauty of this spot.

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As we make to return across the bridge we hear the sound of a train heading our way. We have yet to be on the bridge when a train is crossing. That must be something worth experiencing.

Back at Abergwynant it is time to catch up with a bit of work before heading out for an evening stroll. This site has to be one of our very favourites.

17th June 2015

[To follow our walk you will need Ordnance Survey OL Map 23 – Cadair Idris & Llyn Tegid]

© Two Dogs and an Awning (2015)

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