Well, after a quick New Beastie break last week, the boys are back… And this time they’ve left the island of Anglesey and headed to the Welsh mainland to explore Snowdonia! Oh yes, and guess how they’re travelling?
That’s right, it wouldn’t be a Paddy and Plunkett day out if they weren’t wreaking havoc on a train somewhere… And this time it’s the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway that’s getting the Beastie treatment. Luckily for them, the railway has a monster of its own to keep these two under control – the legendary Welsh Red Dragon!
That said, there’s still some silliness afoot as the boys wait for their train to arrive. Lads, that’s probably not a good idea.
Nope, definitely not.
Fortunately, Plunkett has got some sense into his woolly head – juuuuuust in time, by the looks of things!
Oh, how cool! All the trains on the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway are restored vintage diesel and steam engines, and they transport their lucky passengers along a short route between the town of Porthmadog and Pen-y-Mount junction a few miles away. The line is staffed almost entirely by volunteers, and the trains are clearly their pride and joy… So much so that many of them have names and profiles on the railway website!
I tried to ID Paddy and Plunkett’s train, but I didn’t get too far… Are there any locals out there who can help?
Then, on the return trip, the train stops off at Gelert’s Farm, so the boys hop out to investigate a well-known local landmark – Gelert’s Grave.
“This Gelert must have been a pretty important person!” says Paddy.
“Hmmm… Well, he wasn’t exactly a person…”
“He was a dog.”
“What? A dog? But look at this thing! It’s, like, 5 Beasties tall… With headstones in English and Welsh!”
Plunkett has no choice but to launch into the sad tale of Gelert. Let’s listen in, shall we?
“According to local legend, Gelert was the prized hunting dog of Llywelyn the Great – a prince born in the late 12th century, who eventually became ruler of all Wales. One day, he went out hunting…”
“Wait… Without his prized hunting dog?”
“Apparently so, yes. Gelert was left behind to look after Llywelyn’s baby son. But when Llywelyn returned home, he found the baby missing, the house in a mess, and Gelert covered in blood!”
“That’s what Llywelyn thought. He drew his sword… And killed Gelert on the spot!”
“But then he heard a baby cry out from underneath the overturned cradle…”
“…And he saw his son there safe and sound, lying beside the body of a wolf.”
“Yes… Poor Gelert had not only NOT killed the baby, he’d also dispatched the wolf that had tried to attack them both!”
Paddy is uncharacteristically speechless.
“That’s… The saddest thing… I have EVER heard!”
Plunkett, seeing how touched Paddy is by the story, decides not to elaborate on the prevalence of the “faithful hound” motif in European and Asian folklore.
Or to mention how the grave mound might have been built in the late 1700s by the enterprising proprietor of the charmingly-named Goat Hotel, in an effort to encourage tourism.
Instead, he knows exactly how to cheer Paddy up.
“Hey Paddy – I think your letter from Hogwarts might be here!”
Hanging out with all those owlets certainly put a smile back on Paddy’s woolly face.
And later on, in the Anglesey Transport Museum, his woes are completely forgotten.
“Plunkett! PLUNKETT! Can you see the keys for these anywhere? I think I’d like to take one of them for a spin!”
Oh dear. Join us next week to see if Anglesey has declared a state of emergency… Or at least sent the lads packing!