Beasties Meet Beastie on the Welsh Highland Railway - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Paddy and Plunkett – The Railway Less Travelled

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?
Beasties Meet Beastie on the Welsh Highland Railway - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThat’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.
Paddy and Plunkett, off the rails - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesNope, definitely not.
Beasties, behave! Welsh Highland Railway - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesFortunately, Plunkett has got some sense into his woolly head – juuuuuust in time, by the looks of things!
Plunkett's Train Arrives - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

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!
Trains of the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesI 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.
Paddy and Plunkett at Gelert's Grave - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“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!”
“Bad dog!”
“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.”
“You mean…”
“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!”
Paddy, Plunkett and Some Owls - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesHanging out with all those owlets certainly put a smile back on Paddy’s woolly face.
Owls on the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

And later on, in the Anglesey Transport Museum, his woes are completely forgotten.
Paddy and Plunkett at the Anglesey Transport Museum - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Plunkett! PLUNKETT! Can you see the keys for these anywhere? I think I’d like to take one of them for a spin!”
Don't let Paddy drive! H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Oh dear. Join us next week to see if Anglesey has declared a state of emergency… Or at least sent the lads packing!

On The Trains

Hello there everyone! Well, after a hiccup-y couple of weeks, we’re back on our regular timetable. And how apt, because Paddy and Plunkett have been out and about on the trains again! They’re really getting around this summer, aren’t they?

Now, let’s check in and see where they’re off to today!

Oooh, nice view from here…
Leaving Fortwilliam - Paddy and Plunkett - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThis beautiful beach with its tempting turquoise waters greeted the boys as they set out from Fort William. Paddy was all for stopping for a quick paddle, until Plunkett reminded him how very un-tropical that water was likely to be. Fortunately, there was something else to catch his attention a little further along the line…

Paddy and the Harry Potter Viaduct - On the Trains - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Plunkett! LOOK!”

Famous Trains - Paddy and Plunkett - CrawCrafts Beasties
Image on the right sneakily borrowed from

“It’s the bridge from the Harry Potter films… We’re going to HOGWARTS!”

From his extensive reading of the guidebook, Plunkett knows this place is Glenfinnan Viaduct. He also knows that by letting Paddy think that he’s going to be joining Harry Potter Beastie and Hermione Beastie at Hogwarts this term…
Harry Potter and Hermione Beasties by CrawCrafts Beasties… He will be able to admire its 21 soaring arches in relative peace.

And Plunkett was able to keep Paddy practicing his spellcraft all the way to the end of their journey, at Mallaig Harbour. Entranced by the boats and the fresh sea air, Paddy forgot all about his wizarding ambitions!
At Mallaig Harbour - Paddy and Plunkett Trains - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThe port at Mallaig is the gateway to the Western Isles, and although Paddy would happily have traded in his rail ticket for the chance to be captain of a pirate ship, Plunkett gently reminded him that this post is supposed to be about trains. Speaking of which… We’ve another one to catch! Don’t be late!

“GASP! Plunkett, is this our train? It looks just like the Hogwarts Express!”
Paddy Finds the Hogwarts Express - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesPlunkett reckoned that it was close enough – this still-active steam train is the Jacobite, and it’s a dead ringer for Paddy’s beloved Hogwarts Express. Better still, it runs an almost daily service from late April to early October. All aboard!

And while Paddy kept an eye out for marauding Dementors and supporters of He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, Plunkett settled back to enjoy the wild beauty of Rannoch Moor.
Rannoch Moor - Scotland Trains - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesA few trains later, the boys were back in Glasgow… And because travelling Beasties know how to have a good time, they invited themselves into an empty penthouse suite in a nearby hotel for a little R&R.

“Paddy, come and look at the view!”
Plunkett Admires the View - Glasgow - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Can’t talk! Eating!”
Paddy Snacks - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Finally, several sandwiches later…
Paddy and Plunkett in Glasgow - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Not bad at all! Hey Plunkett, where are we off to next?”

“I don’t know… Pass me that train timetable, and we’ll see!”

We’ll catch up with the boys again in a couple of weeks… I’ve some new Beasties to share with you all first, so be sure to join us again next Tuesday to meet them! See you then!