Saturday, 9 July 2011
Ghosts at Cwt-y-Bugail
I came across this photo while browsing the web. It was unexpected, as there is so little out there about the quarry. To say that I was rather pleased is an understatement. It shows a group of workers posing in the stockyard outside the floor B mill, with improvised cricket stumps and bats. It's a lovely shot, giving a nice human element to our knowledge of the mine, mostly gleaned from books or dry official documents. Behind the men, on the horizon, is the now ruinous floor A-B incline...you can still make out traces of it in today's photo. Also lurking is (I think) the Hibberd loco used to shunt waggons in the stockyard. Later this would lie on it's side until the scrap men claimed it in the late sixties. I guess this photo was taken in the fifties; when Rhiwbach down the hill was still (just) open. One of the men is a Bill McLean, possibly the middle one on the back row. He seems to have worked at a couple of quarries locally.
This morning, we walked up to the mine to film some ravens and I took the opportunity to fire off a shot in the approximate spot that the earlier one was taken. For a moment, standing there, I could hear the wisecracks and joking of the men as they played cricket all those years ago.
I'm very grateful to the McLean family for putting this photo up there on the web and I hope they don't mind me using it-I couldn't find a way to contact them. A pity, because I want to know more!