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Walking the Vivian Trail in Llanberis

My legs feel surprisingly good, after yesterday’s trail run. A good reason for Sara and I to go out for another walk. A little one, the Vivian Trail in Llanberis, but still, it’s a walk and it has more than 250 meters of altitude.

Plus it gives us the chance to walk by the event village of Ultra Trail Snowdonia one more time to see the last runners coming in. Yukihisa Nakamura is the last one to finish the 100 miles race. It took him 47 hours and 30 minutes. Imagine; walking for 2 days straight, without any sleep. I have so much respect for that. I don’t think I could do that. 


Llanberis Lake Railway

Compared to that, our walk this morning is nothing, but after yesterday’s race it’s enough. It’s good to move the legs and make my blood flow again.

It took us a couple of minutes to find the start, as the original starting point of the Vivian Trail – the hole in the wall – is closed. Luckily, with help of the AllTrails app we found an alternative route, walking alongside the train track and then over the wooden bridge to pass the Llanberis Lake Railway.

Once this railway took the slates to the port at Y Felinheli on the Menai Strait. From there they traveled to Liverpool for export around the world. The waste of the slate was thrown in the lake.

From the Quarry Hospital, at the top of the wooden bridge, it was just a little climb up to the path we’re walking on now. This will take us to the Anglesey Barracks, where once the quarry workers lived, who came from far away.


Carpet of blue flowers

That’s for later. Now we’re enjoying nice views over Lake Padarn, the beautiful forest around us and the carpet of little blue flowers that seems to go on and on and on.

When we pass the barracks we have a nice view over Lake Peris, the smaller twin of Lake Padarn, and Castell Dolbadarn. Sara has set her eye on this castle ever since we’re in Llanberis, so we take the zig zag path down to the lake. This path was once made by quarry workers. It is a piece of art, with the high walls that will shelter you from the wind when you have to climb up the mountain.

Castle Dolbadarn

We leave the Vivian Trail behind us. The trail was named after Walter Warwick Vivian, who was appointed manager of Dinorwig Quarry in 1884. On the other shore we find the little path up to the ruin of Dolbadarn Castle. Once this was a vital link in the defenses of the ancient kingdom of Gwynedd. From here the Welshmen could watch over the strategic route inland from Caernarfon to the upper Conwy Valley. Historians guess that the castle was built in the late 12th or early 13th century by Llywelyn the Great. He united most of native Wales under his rule.

What remains today is the 15 meters high round tower. As good as it goes, as the small steps and my shoe size 47 aren’t in sync, we climb up. The top is caged in, but we can just peek out over Lake Padarn, which is bathing in the sun. Five minutes later we climb down again and walk back to Llanberis. It’s time to pack our bags and start thinking of the journey home and of the next race: the Dolomiti Extreme Trail.

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