|Deviation | Dduallt|
Rhoslyn = Moor lake. Also called Rhoslyn House. A rather derelict property that has (per 2007) only recently come under FR Co. ownership. A small amount of remedial work including boarding up has taken place to secure the property.
Boyd states that this substantial house ... was once intended to become an hotel managed by the Festiniog Company.
The eponymous lake lies behind the house and extends a considerable distance under the apparent edges - the surface has largely grown over in recent years. Be careful, there are accounts of cows being drowned here and it is another of those places where water monsters are alleged to come out and grab passers-by. These tales sound unlikely, unless you are there on a dark night with the wind blowing, as was the case with the Deviationists....
Somewhere in the history of the Deviation, there is a story of hippies inhabiting Rhoslyn Cottage. Now, some forty years later, the truth has been revealed. Bob Le Marchant had been around whilst Rhoslyn Bridge was being built and stayed on to work on the boring of the New Moelwyn tunnel.
Here is Bob's own account.....
Hippies? Well - not really, although I am learning to become one in older age.
I, and my then wife, Chrissie, lived happily at Rhoslyn for the years it took to blast the New Moelwyn tunnel. It was previously last lived in in 1952, and so was a little primitive, but a happy place. Boyd tells of former inhabitants going a bit potty, but I felt that if anyone was haunting, it was me looking out of the upstairs window at folk creeping past early or late in the day, illegally walking the line.
It was very handy for the job, and Chrissie would walk back down to where we kept my Willies Jeep that enabled her to drive back down a hairy track to Maentwrog where she worked for the Snowdonia National Park. The day for me would start when a bleary-eyed Bunny Lewis would roar into Dduallt station driving Mary Ann and towing the 2 ton battery electric mine loco (the "Grogan"- don't ask!) which had been charging up over night at Tan y Bwlch. On, up, around the spiral with me and Dave Payne and Martin Duncan to meet up with Robin Daniel and Peter Hughes. But that is another story. Choosing to live in such a remote place could only have been possible with the kind help of others, and the two I have in mind are Ralph Taylor, who quickly took us under his wing and gave us a surreptitious 13 amp plug in the house, and Norman Gurley who was always helpful with a works train after hours for moving things such as beds and fridges up the line. How else did we live you may ask? Well, water came down all the way from the old Moelwyn tunnel, initially to feed the toilets that used to be on the station. We branched off that. In cold weather it was vital to keep a small trickle running, otherwise ice crystals would clog the tap and all would be frozen up for a week or more. Just caught it in time, on many occasions, and sometimes too late. Toilets?? It was a trip across the line to the drafty wooden platform loo. Truth is, I saw more sputniks and shooting stars during that period of my life than before or since. I remember one occasion at 6am on a bright morning watering the grass wearing nothing but a pair of wellies, only to notice a red faced couple of hikers showing an unusual interest in the timetable on the platform.
Yes, they were happy days, and made all the more poignant when I visit the old place now. I think I could haunt it when I go!
Bob Le Marchant, April 2011