Monday, 22 October 2012

Hafod Boeth Lead Mine

 A tale of big cats and broken tripods...
The passage leading on to stoping

We first visited this mine a few years ago; it was a difficult mine to access and is even more so now - because the trees have grown up alarmingly since. Apart from staggering about around felled trees and falling down gopher holes, the climb to the adit was accomplished with only a few cuts and bruises. We climbed the big wall that protects the site and found the adit, now almost submerged in vegetation. At this point, I managed to completely snap the head off my tripod. Much basic anglo-saxon ensued, whilst the roadside engineer (Petra) tried to fix things. She eventually came up with the elegant solution of a hair band, securing my camera to the tripod base. The whole point of coming back to the mine was to get some better photos and drive farther in than we'd been able the first time, so I was very grateful for the dear girl's efforts.

Evening sun streams through the trees near the adit, which is at bottom left.
Petra negotiating the lower adit
Degrees of flooding witnessed by the walls
 The lower adit was as inhospitable as ever, showing signs of having flooded well up to the roof. The floor was deep in slimy mud. The upper adit was more inviting and I crawled in, to find more bones and the skull of a sheep. The creature that was using the mine as a den was still in business and Petra started immediately speculating about whether it was a Puma, when bizarrely, I found a golf ball on the floor of the adit. So now the mystery was solved, it was indeed a big cat- Tiger Woods! Seriously though...a golf ball in a mine adit, well off the beaten track...what the?

We headed inbye, whilst the narrow adit corkscrewed north and then west, coming out into some stoping with a false floor. After some considerable shuffling and holding of breath, the bad point was passed and we emerged into a spectacular area where stoping continued down below and up above us, presumably leading to daylight. There were also passages filled with stacked deads...the main adit was too narrow for any significant removal of product through to outside, so I am guessing the ore was thrown down to the lower level via the stoping.

Inside the stoping- sorry about the blurring!
 The hair band tripod held up well, considering everything, although I can't make out why some parts of the photos are sharp and others not. They were all taken at 8 seconds with F7.5, and me holding my breath!

It was late when we emerged from the adit, and moonlight was in charge outside. The walk back to Rhyd, once we were out of the forestry, was enchanting, the fields painted with an eerie light. I did, however,  keep looking back to see if the dark shape of the phantom golfer was lurking in the trees...

Looking outbye through the stoping, light from Petra's cap lamp at top left.
Stacked deads in the main tunnel.
A view of Snowdon from the adit mouth.

A view of the processing area a few years ago, before the place became infested with conifers.






6 comments:

workbike said...

Question from the clueless: What's a "false floor" in this context?

Thanks for the report once again...

Iain Robinson said...

Thanks Andy! You won't like the explanation...a false floor is where the miners jammed baulks of timber across an area they had mined out vertically (a stope) so that they could work on a platform or so that a tunnel could cross the stope. False floors are often difficult to detect, being covered with rubble and could give way any moment due to their age...in this case from 1870! So you see why we held our breath!

geotopoi said...

A veritable Fortean feast - ABCs, phantom golfers and a wonderful pareidoliac ogre lurking in the adit (Reverse+stoping+(1000x750).jpg, top left)!

Iain Robinson said...

LOL!! When I pointed the face out to Petra her response was "To think that I was standing in there!" I reckon it was definitely a mine troll...that explains the fallen trees everywhere :-)

Manuel said...

Felicidades por su interesante blog, son preciosas las fotografías de las grutas y cuevas.
Un saludo.

Iain Robinson said...

@Manuel- Thank you very much!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...