Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Llyn Morwynion

What's this? A post about a routine bit of scenery?  Not to worry, I haven't gone all National Trust on you. Not until my knees finally go, anyway!

We had spotted what looked like a trial adit on Google earth; near to Llyn Morwynion.  Very dangerous, I know, to wilfully “interpret” satellite photos, as it is just as likely to be a ditch or a dyke as far as Google Earth is concerned. But this one had a slaty little tip outside it- always an encouraging sign.  A rummage through the Mines Gazetteer revealed that there had indeed been a Morwynion mine, although no more information was forthcoming. As it is only a short hop from our little studio, we went and had a nosy around.

This Llyn Morwynion mustn't be confused with the slightly more rugged number nestling in the Rhinogs...our one is a purely man-made confection, but no less charming for that. We parked in the trusty Rheadr Cynfal car park on the B4391 from Llan Ffestiniog and walked a little way to the Welsh Water track up to the Llyn. It's an easy walk.
The View from Foel Gron
We mooched around the dam at the end of the road for a while. There was a troop of Martens putting on an air show over the Llyn, swooping low, skimming the water for insects. It was mesmerising. Petra was filming them, so we stood perfectly still...when without warning they swooped close to our heads, then round and round us so that we could feel the draught of their wings. It was just for a few moments, then they settled on a power line further up the hill. A wonderful experience, especially since I have always loved these birds, and I sorely miss them when they go off to Africa at the end of the summer.

We walked around the Llyn towards what we could see was obviously a mine. It was a tricky walk, through the usual bog, but before long we made it to the tip that we had seen on Google. The adit was rather lovely although very deeply flooded with muddy water and obviously very old. After Cwm Prysor, I didn't fancy washing mud off my gear again, so we passed on the explore. Shining the torch in, it looked like this adit was a trial, and only continued for twenty yards or so.
The mine, with Foel Gron looming behind. The adits are seen as depressions in the hillside above the water line.
Further along was another, larger adit, sadly run-in. The tips were quite extensive, but completely grass-grown. A little dig around on one of the tips revealed some moss-slates, very roughly shaped. Probably this was a very early slate mine, processing the slate outside the adit and carting the produce down to Llan Ffestiniog by pack horse.

The grass-grown tips.
There were also a couple of ruinous huts to the north shore of the lake. These look like the remains of dwellings, possibly very old indeed. Last year, Petra and I found a hidden valley between here, Drum and the Gamallt, a magical place, littered with the remains of an ancient settlement.Llyn Morwynion has that feel too, sheltered and lonely, even if it is only ten minutes walk from the road.

As we headed back to the car, a pair of Ravens took off. I waited for their burbling cries and was surprised to hear almost a chime-like sound come from one of them. Petra caught it on film, so it may be on here in due course. Perhaps these were the “Clochdy” ravens, as that Gamallt peak is only a couple of miles as the Raven flies. Who knows?


Anonymous said...

Another interesting investigation - keep up the good work!

Your description of the encounter with the martens brought some Hitchcockian images to mind ;-)

Iain Robinson said...

Thanks, Graham! Yes, I can see what you mean about the Hitch association. I'd agree, except that it felt very safe...just glad the Ravens didn't decide to do the same, though!

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