Saturday, October 16, 2010

DOLGELLAU : Me and My Dog – Doing the Barmouth Walk

The Mawddath Trail was to be the centrepiece of our Welsh getaway. I’d learnt about it from Julia Bradbury’s Railway Walks DVD last year and filed it away for future exploration. The Mawddach (“Mouth-arc”) Estuary lies to the side of a disused railway line between Dolgellau and Barmouth, with a fifteen kilometre level walk making it accessible even to those pushing a pram, or being relentlessly dragged by a malamute.

Mawddach Trail Map - Railway Walk from Dollgellau to Barmouth in Wales

When we left our B&B around 9.45 this morning, it was a little chilly but we were very glad we didn’t bring heavy jackets as the sun was warming our backs before we were long on the path.

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PA160446The first section is a long tree-lined path, with glimpses to farmland (lots of sheep) on either side. When it really begins to open up, you see the long bridge crossing the back of the estuary. It was very easy to linger there as everything is so photogenic. Chris would have been quite happy to stay there all day and take long exposures from his tripod mount. Since I’m inevitably chasing Munson around with camera in hand, I have to rely on a steady hand and good image stabilisers. I will link to some of his rather dazzling photos of the day posted on his Flickr photo stream., and if you want to hire him to take abstract underwater photos of your wedding in a Welsh estuary then contact him here.

PA160473I allowed Munson to run around on the bridge ( see also Chris’ picture below)  and then on the sandy estuary floor where he galloped around like a mad pony, swam over to investigate some ducks and was chased off by them (as Bondi experienced with the ducks of Seattle’s Green Lake).

The 65p Bridge

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sunglass filter

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Munson being Munsonly [photo by Chris]

pop-art estuary

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Approaching Barmouth, with a final railway bridge to cross. Black cat ahead!

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Even with all our lingering at many places along the path, we reached Barmouth almost exactly 4 hours later. The hourly bus back to Dolgellau was just departing but we were in no rush and rather keen on getting a pub lunch immediately. I took an immediate right turn at the bus stop into The Last Inn, a five-hundred year old pub on Church Street. They had no problem seating us for lunch with Munson, who soon conked out and splayed himself across the floor for the duration. One thing I love about English pubs and French cafes is that no one objects to dogs in their way on the floor. In Sydney people bitch if they have to walk around a little dog on a wide footpath; in Europe the frail and lame will happily squeeze around a snoozing dog of any size and beg you not to disturb them.

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PA160603As lovely as the staff were, we were a bit mystified when someone came from the kitchen half an hour later to tell us that they were “out of mashed potato” for Chris’ meal, but could offer him jacket potatoes or hand-cut chips. Please tell me that kitchen staff don’t know how to mash a potato!

We didn’t get out in time for the next bus so wandered around the town, which was much bigger than I had imagined. I’d passed it on a drive a few years back without realising the full extent of Barmouth from the main road. The 3:51 to Dolgellau was Munson’s first bus ride ever – and for those back home interested in this – completely free and unremarked upon by the driver.

Barmouth

3 comments:

  1. I am amazed and mystified at the east of traveling with a canine. The U.S. is simply not that dog friendly.

    And, as always, stunning photography.

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  2. Absolutely gorgeous as always!

    We can seriously learn a lot from the way Europe treats it's canine customers!

    Holly

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  3. What a fabulous way to spend the day. Munson's one lucky dog.

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