Probably the oldest slate quarry on the mighty, but much-exploited Manod Mawr, South Pole is an intriguingly named quarry. Local legend has it that the quarry was named because working there was so cold in the winter months that it " froze the snot in your nose". I can believe that, having explored the site in all weathers- even in summer, the wind comes up the cwm like the Polar Express. It's thought to have been first worked in the very early years of the 19th century, when it could well have been without the permission of the landowner, Lord Newborough. Later, having gone "legit", it became a satellite of the famous Bwlch Slaters operation, but never produced enough slate to figure as more than a blip on the records.
|The winter view, with the barracks on the shoulder below.|
Because Manod is a working quarry, it is best to approach South Pole from the public footpath on the Graig Ddu side, from near the Hughes transport depot in Manod. It's a steep climb, but it does at least let you appreciate the superb inclines and views. The vista from the saddle of Manod is also a sight well worth working for. And those old miners- did they stop and stand occasionally to savour the view from the pit? Let's hope they had their scarves over their noses.
*Apologies for going on about this again, dear patient readers of this blog. Why Welsh slate re-named Manod after my favourite quarry not two miles down the road escapes me.
|Heading up through the Manod workings to South Pole on the horizon.|
|Looking down the incline from the adit, down to Bwlch Slaters/Manod and across to the real Cwt-y-Bugail in the far distance.|