Amser Spar??

Days off for Vicars??

It’s an old an very hackneyed joke that Vicars only work one day a week. Actually people that know us well are always anxious that we get spare time and go away – yes they’re very pleased we go away!!

Accepting that it is joyous work in the Lord’s vineyard what do we do for our down time? Well two of us at any rate are most anxious that the peak of God’s creation is alive and well – the Preserved Steam Railway Line (what else did you think?).

At the end of the school term Fr David (yes another one) and I headed to the north and the little port of Tywyn – the home of the Tal-y-Llyn Railway. It is a narrow gauge railway and was originally constructed to bring slate from Nant Gwernol to Tywyn. Now, sensibly, it carries people and Vicars. Mind you amidst the romantic haze of yesteryear and how happy our forebears were it is interesting to think how our quarrymen forefathers lived v how the “boss” lived, then to think how romantic you really want to be? Did God create bosses and workers and mean them to live in such different circumstances?


Certainly God created North Wales and waterfalls and 2/3 of the way along the line is a hamlet called Dolgoch. I am told that you should pronounce it Dol-goch. It means according to my translation “Red Meadow” and perhaps its coincidence but you can you see red water coming out of the hills from the iron ore. In the far land of the Gogs the Lord also decided to make waterfalls and Dolgoch is one of those famous places where he really succeeded. Fr David could not believe that I walked my wife up here – but it was thirty years ago!

After chips in Sunny Barmouth (anything but) and a night in Dolgoch the intrepid explorers headed north and east past Cader Idris and Y Bala. In both places I regaled my friend with the legends. Where were we heading? Why Carrog of course. Would you believe that some people have never heard of Carrog or that its the western terminus of the Llangollen Railway? This time we saw a standard gauge line with impeccable time keeping. The train was due in at 11.31 hauled by an 0-6-0 tanky (tanci in Welsh). It was enough to make a grown up Eastern Valley boy like me cry as the driver blew the whistle and wheezed quietly into the station.

So after a quick, rainy but thoroughly wonderful trip to Llangollen it was curry half and half then back down Telford’s A5 to Shrewsbury, all points south and into the arms of my everloving ……