Friday, David had planned a day off work. We had intended on visiting the Lake District but the Metoffice‘s weather prediction was as usual, rain…
So after hours of trawling the internet, David discovered an old, abandoned slate mine in North Wales. With the weather forecast looking grim we decided it would add to the desolate atmosphere of the quarry and it’s buildings.
So as Friday dawned we prepared for our journey. It took just over two hours to travel from Liverpool, through the Wirral towards Queensferry and onto the A55 towards Conwy. From there we took the winding A470 south towards Betws-y-Coed and then towards Blaenau Ffestiniog and the village of Tanygrisiau, (please don’t ask me to pronounce them!)
Visiting Tanygrisiau, whose Welsh name means ‘below the steps,’ you can’t help but notice it’s past industry in slate mining. There are many towering ‘mountains’ made of slate in the area. The village, before the industry ended had three major quarries which traded black slate across the world. The village has an exhibition mine, Llechwedd Slate Caverns which hold underground tours.
With all the unseasonal rain we are having here in the UK, Tanygrisiau to me looked like a land of waterfalls. Everywhere you looked there was a raging waterfall booming!
We parked the car just before the Cwmorthin Waterfall and it’s viewing platform. There is a gate saying no unauthorised vehicles and to keep to the footpath. A kindly shepherd later on informed David that if we visited again to park our car at the cafe for safety. We photographed the Waterfall first which was through a gate to the left of the main footpath.
Then we followed the waterlogged path along Llyn Cwmorthin towards the ruin of Rhosydd’s Methodist chapel.
From there we followed the steady incline towards more ruins and past another waterfall.
The mist closed in around us and doggedly we continued to tread on broken rocks and slate towards the top. Luckily for us the rain held off and the only bugbear was the squalling wind. The path seemed to go on and on, but as we took the drop down, the vista opened out and there standing before us, enshrouded in cloud were the skeletal remains of the houses of industry of Rhosydd Quarry.
The low cloud drifted in on the wind which made visibility poor, though it did indeed add to the desolate mood of the area. The ground was soft underfoot but on a dry summers day I am sure there would be more exploring to do.
Our little walk took us around two hours! I think I held David up somewhat with my lack of walking clothes. However, I persevered and my feet didn’t get too wet. We both look forward to visiting the area again in the future and maybe spend more time searching the ruins.
Have you been on any unusual walks?
© 2016. All photographs by Christine Lucas except where mentioned.