Passengers on the Snowdon Mountain Railway burst into a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday to a woman celebrating a special milestone with a bucket list trip.
It was the icing on the cake for Rhian Jones, who was born and raised in the small village of Cwm y Glo at the foot of the mountain, as she marked her 80th birthday by fulfilling her ambition to go up Wales’s highest peak.
The journey was made possible by kind-hearted care practitioner Kate Waters and student nurse Amy Rowlands who work at the Bryn Seiont Newydd care home in Caernarfon where Rhian now lives.
The Snowdon Mountain Railway is not only the highest in Britain but is the only rack-and-pinion track and is able to climb the steep gradients on the five mile route from the station at Llanberis to the summit of the 3,560 foot mountain.
The railway has always been an engineering masterpiece and after more than 100 years of operation it remains a popular tourist attraction, carrying more than 130,000 passengers annually.
Rhian said: “I’ve lived in Cwm y Glo all my life but never been up the mountain. My parents had lived in the area as well but they had never been up Snowdon either. Living so close it wasn’t something that we did and I never thought I would get to do it.
“But I’ve been now and I don’t suppose I’ll go again and I’m really happy.”
Kate and Amy took Rhian on the train which was full of other excited passengers from Llanberis on a bright and sunny morning.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic preventing its engineers from carrying out essential maintenance of the track near the summit, the Snowdon Mountain Railway has only been running three quarters of the way up the mountain this year.
Terminating at Clogwyn station, the passengers are allowed off the train to admire the stunning views down towards Llanberis and on towards Anglesey to the north and Caernarfon Bay and the llyn Peninsula to the west.
Kate said: “The weather was really good, really sunny and clear which was a relief to me and Amy because the weather during the previous week had been awful with heavy rain and strong winds.
“Rhian enjoyed the journey going up the mountain looking out of the windows as we climbed hight and higher.
“On the way back they all burst into song, singing Happy Birthday which really made her day.”
Rhian said she never expected anyone to sing Happy Birthday to her let alone a trainload of people she had never met.
“Everyone was really kind and friendly and I enjoyed the trip,” she said.
After returning to Llanberis, Rhian watched a short film about the railway on a very large screen.
“It was like being back on the train,” she said.
They then went around the gift shop where Rhian bought a money box in the shape of a Snowdon Mountain Railway steam locomotive as a memento of the trip.
Kate said to round off her day they visited the lakeside to admire the recently installed 20-foot sword sculpture which commemorates the life and times of the Welsh princes, some of whom lived in the nearby Dolbadarn castle.
“It wasn’t there when I lived in Cwm y Glo. We used to come to Llanberis and see the swans on the lake and play on the swings in the park,” added Rhian.
Bryn Seiont Newydd manager Sandra Evans was pleased Rhian had fulfilled her wish.
“She’s always said this was on her wish list. Kate and Amy do a lot of work with Rhian and were happy to arrange the trip and accompany her.”