|Through a wooden eye: the Nant Maes-y-Gamfa, seen through a crook of fallen timber.|
As we drove up through Aberangell, the dog was sitting in a shaft of sunlight at the side of a barn, surrounded by a sociable flock of hens. It was early, so we decided to photo him on our return. As we parked near Bowley's Mill, a sign stated on the forestry road that the route was to be used for a motor sport rally and was closed. No problem, we were taking the tramway, marked as a footpath. It winds along beside the Nant Maes-y-Gamfa on a revetted shelf. Over the river, the giant waste blocks from Bowley's mill can be seen where they have been tipped. Many have saw marks on the ends. Unfortunately, the tramway had recently been used by a herd of cows, and resembled a quagmire. It reminded me of an above-ground version of the Cwm Prysor mine. I'm sorry, I whinge a lot about stuff on this blog. We do encounter various unpleasantries on our adventures, but are buoyed along nevertheless by the anticipation of the chase, of what we might just find.
|The aftermath of Cow-Rallying|
|The lower buildings|
We headed up the hill. Another building was hiding under more trees, encouragingly this time. Below, a very much overgrown tip was issuing from what looked like a feint suggestion of a run-in adit. So overgrown that it could be almost anything, but my mine senses were tingling. The buildings produced no further clues; no waste, no recognisable features, nothing. A well built track went off north west, revetted along the side of a steep defile with slate waste...but it disappeared once it reached the field below. There was absolutely no sign. Under the revetment there seemed, with a little imagination, to have been a couple of run-in adits, but Petra and I couldn't understand why nature would have taken back the remains with such enthusiasm when up the valley at Maes-y-Gamfa, there was so much left.
|Chimney breast at the upper buildings.|
|View from the upper buildings|
We quartered the ground in an area radiating from the grid reference- not easy, as much of it is at a prevailing 1 in 3 slope and also boggy. We were still keen, and the surroundings were so beautiful. A wistfully lovely bird song, emanating from a Wren, Petra says, accompanied us here. After a couple of hours, our enthusiasm slightly alloyed, we gave up and retreated to Bowley's mill. There we had a look at the tips and struggled with much cursing and laughter through the undergrowth, to find a brick-built building deep in the birch woods. Nature has taken it, and didn't want to let us see it, but after some determined bramble-hacking and pratfalling, we won.
On the way back, Petra noted that there are several brick-built structures in the village made from the same smooth red brick as the one in the undergrowth. Strange, since there is so much slate available for building. Later, we found that there had been a brickworks, served by a branch of the Hendre Ddu tramway, near the village- so that was a mystery solved.
What, you might ask, about the dog? Oh, yes, he was there, waiting in the road as we drove through. Petra had a word, then took a couple of shots; he seemed totally at ease and used to this sort of thing. A passer-by smiled and waved as we moved off...amused at our interest in the hound.
Back home, I made a horrible discovery. I'd found a large scale map of the woods around Talymierin, and a quarry hole was marked, deep in the ravine at GR SH8240811922. Impossible to see on the satellite view, but it was very near to where we'd searched. We had decided that it couldn't possibly be in that particular neck of the woods as the ground was too steep, so we hadn't searched the area thoroughly. The gazetteer description is of "an open quarry with adit below"...this could be it. Darn! My thoughts on the accuracy of grid references in said Gazetteer are unprintable.
Oh well, an excuse to go back again. I'll take a biscuit for the dog next time.