National Trust Cymru and Welsh Highland Railway have restored the Fisherman’s Path at Aberglaslyn Pass in Beddgelert, Snowdonia.
After winter storms and high river levels washed away a 100m section of the Fisherman’s path, the Welsh Highland Railway swapped its cargo of tourists for stone, reverting to its original purpose for a day.
Back in the early 20th century the trainline would’ve carried slate quarried at nearby Rhyd Ddu to Porthmadog, however on 14 February it moved over 30 tons of aggregate and stone to within meters of the damaged footpath.
Helping the National Trust Cymru footpath team to carry out essential repairs and improvements to this iconic path, in time for the main hiking season.
The Fisherman’s path is an exhilarating route tread by thousands of walkers each year, it follows the Afon Glaslyn closely and its proximity to the river is no doubt part of the appeal.
As part of the repairs the Trust will be upgrading the drains along this section to help minimise the risk from floods again.
Footpath Ranger, Jack Peyton said: “We’re used to working in hard to reach, wild places and often rely on helicopters to move in the stone required for footpath maintenance and repairs.
“Eryri is a wet place, so erosion is an ongoing issue for us.
“The effects of climate change will likely increase the impact, making the maintenance and repairs of footpaths ever more important.
“A good footpath helps minimise the impact of erosion of soils and fragile upland habitats as well as allowing thousands of visitors to enjoy the area safely.
“It’s been great to work with Highland Railway and we’re especially grateful to them for donating the time and resources to help us repair this special footpath.”
The trainline runs parallel to the path and provides the only vehicle access on the East bank of the river at Aberglaslyn.
Once the restoration of the line from Caernarfon to Porthmadog was completed in 2011, a special gate was installed near Bryn y Felin to allow the train to help with the upkeep of the path.
Chris Parry, marketing officer at Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways said: “It was a pleasure to be able to assist the National Trust with improvements to the Fisherman’s Path.
“Access there is always a problem when heavy equipment or material is needed, so a steam train was the ideal solution.”
The stone, which was loaded onto the train by digger 4km downstream, was unloaded in three hours by a team of Highland Railway and National Trust Cymru staff and volunteers.
The footpath team will use motorised wheelbarrows to carry the materials for the final leg of the journey.
It’s estimated that the footpath team of four will take a few weeks to complete the repairs in time for the busy spring months, when Beddgelert is a bustling hub for walkers exploring the fantastic network of paths in the area.
Thanks to donations to Apêl Eryri, National Trust Cymru’s footpath team can care for a network of over a 100km of footpaths in every corner of Eryri, helping thousands of visitors enjoy the nature and beauty of this dramatic landscape each year.