|My daughter Sam walks the old tramway towards Conglog|
Nowadays, most people hurry by the four daylight chambers of the quarry on their way to Rhosydd, or to the summit of Moelwyn Mawr. We had stopped to have our lunch near the weigh house at floor C adit and an endless cavalcade passed by. There were assorted tourists, some in full Ranulph Feinnes gear, others in flip flops. There was a sweating, galloping army platoon and a large troop of Duke of Edinburgh Gold award teenagers. None seemed to give the place a second glance, which is a shame, since it is a fascinating spot, worthy of at least an hour or so of mooching. Of course, it could have been the smell of my pickled onion sandwiches.
|Looking south east towards Cwmorthin.|
Meanwhile, nearby Rhosydd had been extracting slate up the hill since 1853 and their spoil tips and buildings began to encroach on the Conglog sett. They, Rhosydd, had built their manager's house, Plas Cwmorthin, on land to the east of Conclog, just outside the leased territory. But in a later, possibly aggressive move, they built a barracks on Conglog land, next to where the mill would be in 1865/6. From then on, there would be frequent disputes about land . Rhosydd had also built stables near the Conglog mill. From this distance in time, it all looks a little like intimidation. Standing at the launder pillars near the Conglog mill and gazing up at the vast floor 9 tips of Rhosydd there is certainly a feeling of “big brother”.
And yet...Conglog were to have the last laugh. Cwmorthin had stood in the way of Rhosydd when that company had wanted to take their produce down to the Ffestiniog railway. The wayleaves and tonnage charges proposed by Cwmorthin were prohibitive, forcing Rhosydd to build the famous, vertiginous incline down to Cwm Croesor. But when Conglog suggested the building of a tramway down to the railhead at Tan-y-Grisiau in 1873, Cwmorthyn rolled over and let them do it, much to the chagrin of big brother up the hill. Things had changed at Conglog, though. The quarry had gone through several rounds of personnel and that year was managed by a Devon man, W H B Kempe. It is speculated that he was related by marriage to the manager at Cwmorthin, Joseph F Sims, also a Devonian. Perhaps it was a case of blood being thicker than water, who knows? The upshot is that we were left the lovely tramway from the old Cwmorthin mill all the way to Conglog to walk on, bounded by those beautiful slate slab fences.
|Tan yr Allt, the Rhosydd barracks, built right in the middle of Conclog's land|
|The remains of Plas Cwmorthin, the Rhosydd quarry manager's house.|
"Conglog Slate Quarry" Celia Hancock and M.J.T.Lewis, adit publications 2006 ISBN 0 9522979 4 9 (currently in print)
"Rhosydd Slate Quarry" M.J.T.Lewis and J.H. Denton, 1974, the Cottage Press. Like hen's teeth I'm afraid, but occasionally copies come up on Ebay or Abe books.
|Looking towards the collapse in Level C adit. The workings are in an extremely dangerous condition and should not be entered.|
|Rhosydd's stables, close by Conglog's mill area. I'm standing on the tramway to take this shot.|