|Cefn Clawdd, with Foel Penolau behind, seen from Wern Fach.|
Well, I'm older, wiser and a lot uglier now, which makes it all the more surprising that Petra wanted to accompany me on this jaunt- perhaps it was because there was the promise of two slate mines- hey, one was even near a road!
The drive up the Cwm was easy, taking the turning off the A470 after the power station at SH7105034535 We drove past the waters of Llyn Trawsfynydd with me taking cheap shots, pretending that I could see the water glowing. We did actually see a purple coloured sheep, but it was the result of the farmer using some odd kind of dye. Strange, concrete lined canals run over the landscape here, rather incongruously, since even at the valley floor level, the country is pretty wild. They aren't the remains of some scheme by Telford to tap the slate wealth of the region though, rather a sign of the voracious appetite that the decommissioned power station has for cold water to cool it's spent reactors.
|The exit adit was completely blocked by the rubbish. Obviously the concept of recycling hasn't reached this part of Wales yet.|
|The view across the tips to the Moel-y-Gwartheg mine, on the horizon at top left.|
|Moel-y-Gwartheg, looking towards Trawsfynydd. No dead fridges or settees here!|
After what seemed hours in the freezing sleet, we made it to the quarry. On any other day it would have been very interesting; there was a blocked adit, some opencuts and a very nice keyhole shelter with alcoves, where we cowered and had lunch. After a desultory recce, we reluctantly headed off back to the car park. Had I been warmer, I might have had a go at the adit, wet as it was, but the warm autumn weather had made me soft. I was glad my son wasn't with me, he'd have told me to "man up". For the record, the quarry is at SH68106 31947, and seems to have been worked entirely by hand. There's no evidence of sawing or a tramway, and Richards reckons that slates were taken away on the backs of the men that quarried them. I would have thought they might have used mules, although the terrain is hopelessly boggy.
|Petra in the keyhole shelter. Quarry pit in the background, with an adit over to the right.|
We returned to the car as the skies began to resemble a scene from Mordor. I opened the gate for Petra to drive the mighty minemobile out, and noticed that someone had emptied the contents of their car's cabin at the side of the road. A Costa's cardboard coffee cup, some energy drinks, crisp bags, etc etc. Pretty much what had been in our car too...but I got rid of ours in the bin at home. So let me get this straight. These people came all this way to walk in and enjoy the beautiful scenery, yet they have such little respect for it that they decide to dump their junk as they leave. Here I go again, I'm becoming middle aged. I'll be buying slippers from the Radio Times next.
|On the gate towards Graigddu ichaf|
|The remains of an interesting shelter at Cefn Clawdd.|
|A warning sign at Cefn Clawdd. Quite eloquent, really.|