Olympic Torch Relay

The torch relay has stirred up a lot of polarised opinions locally, this is after all Gwynedd, where everything from across the border is perceived as evil and even more so if it’s London based! Despite that it is something that isn’t going to happen here again in our lifetime so for that reason I think a lot of people who don’t necessarily support the Olympics turned out for the parade. It was also a beautiful sunny day which probably helped! 🙂

My day started off in Blaenau Ffestiniog, no sign of the usual rain here, I even got sunburnt! (Aside: I got sunburnt in Blaenau last year too!) I’ve never seen Blaenau look so good! I didn’t get as much time as I’d have liked in Blaenau, my own fault I was running late so it was straight off to the FR station to see the torch pass onto the railway.

Hugh Napier Belly of the beast

I spy Press Pit

Hugh Napier was in steam as an advert for the National Trust. Alongside was the official torch bearing train headed by David Lloyd George.

Olympic Relay Train Olympic Torch Relay

Olympic Torch @ Blaenau

Elin Owen from Llanrug took the torch onto the footplate for official press shots. These were perhaps a little ill conceived – the overhead lunchtime sun casting awkward shadows across her face. Perhaps the official train should have been across the platform in the space ocupied by Hugh Napier? No matter, I was able to pull off a couple of shots thanks to the Fuji’s excellent dynamic range, however the best photo went to Rory Trappe, who caught the moment perfectly!

Anyway,  En route back to Pwllheli I stopped off at Gysgfato catch the train en route, not my finest photo but no one else was bothering…

Olympic relay train in action

And then it was off to Pwllheli, to enjoy a little more of the spectacle in the glorious afternoon sunshine. The whole Llyn peninsula must have been packed into Pwllheli, the place was heaving. Far busier than I ever thought possible!

Keeping up with the younguns  Olympic torch relay @ Pwllheli Coca Cola Getting in the swing

The Crowd
Got your Number

Torch Relay @ Pwllheli

Everyone enjoyed themselves I think, and I’m glad I went!

Dinorwic on Ektar

The last couple of rolls of Ektar seem to have missed the processor!

Here’s a few examples. Have to say I’m loving this film under blue skies, not so much under my favourite conditions of cloud cover with sun spots though, it always comes out flat and doesn’t pick out the sunspots at all. Not to worry, I have Velvia for that, and the newly acquired S3 of course 🙂

Transformer Ceiliog a'r Wyddfa
Ceiliog Harriett Tested

Contrasts on the FR

A study of Merddin Emrys in monochrome on a sunny day at Penrhyn…

Merddin Emrys

…vs a wet, gloomy day at Tanygrisiau, again with Merddin Emrys.

Merddin Emrys

I love the Festiniog, it’s a very characterful line with plenty of opportunity to get close up. Expect to see more of it in the coming weeks as I fully test out what my new Fuji S3 can do!

A day out on the Ffestiniog

Well not on it exactly, but around it! Starting off at Gysgfa, waiting for the 11.35 from Port, and here it is, arriving just in time to be met by a burst of morning sun. Not bad eh?

Lyd at Gysgfa

Then cue showers. Annoying showers of a few drops from nowhere, or a full on 10 second blast of torrential downpour, followed by disaster – batteries! They always die as a train approaches! Fortunately they held out long enough for this shot of Merddin Emrys passing on a down train, at the far end of Gysgfa.

Merddin Emrys at Gysgfa

Then the big decision, hang around for 2 hours for the next trains here, or head off? Well the warm and damp conditions decided that, Mozzies everywhere! So off for a walk up the Vale of Ffestiniog to Dduallt instead. This started well, after a longer shower and I got a little curious and headed fr the top of the Garnedd tunnel. Not an easy place to get to at all and I don’t recommend you try, but It’s a grand view from the top! Unfortunately it now rained non stop for an hour. Great. Still…

Lyd exits Garnedd tunnel Garnedd Tunnel South
Approaching Garnedd Tunnel

The rain cleared completely after Merddin Emrys’ train had made it not a hundred yards past the other side of the tunnel! Most annoying but I’m still very happy with the results achieved in the rain. It really is more of a location for morning trains anyway.

Coed Maentwrog Dduallt Manor

So I carried on up to Dduallt, noting several possible viewpoints along the way. By now the weather was glorious sun, good, I can finally dry out!

Merddin Emrys aproaches Dduallt
Passing Through On the Way Down

The plan had been that there would be shelter at Dduallt if it started raining again, but since it had now become so clear overhead I decided to head back to the Garnedd tunnel and catch Lyd on the up run, since on the down run it completely obscured itself in smoke and steam!

Lyd above Llyn Mair Lyd, Garnedd South

And that was that! The light had now become so harsh I decided not to bother waiting for the return train, and headed off home.