Friday, 20 September 2013

Bwlch y Ddeufaen - part the second.

Following on from our exploration of the old slate quarries on the southern side of the Bwlch y Ddeufaen last spring, we made a second visit and walked a little further over towards the seaward side.

Of course, the bwlch is well known for it's Bronze Age standing stones and the Roman Road, probably built atop an earlier drove road. The route still exists, thankfully without (much) vehicular access. The way is blighted somewhat by the progress of several skeins of power lines which elbow themselves into any photograph you might try to take.

A boundary wall runs straight down the middle of the tip.

We discovered three more quarries, one (at least) an underground working. This was Bwlch-y-Ddeufaen west, which boasted a fine powder hut and an opencut to a run-in adit. The cut was high above the bwlch and afforded very fine views down to the Menai Straits and Penmaenmawr.

The Powder Magazine
We carried on westwards, then struck up to the summit of a small outlier, where another quarry opened up. It was May, and yet here there was a considerable quantity of snow, probably two feet, still lying in the pit where the sun rarely troubled it. Along the way, we had noticed wild horses running along the horizon; I remembered reading of the farmer here trying to feed them in the depths of the winter.
Wild horses, caught by the long lens a couple of miles away.
Walking back down, a battered Land Rover approached, the driver seemingly careless of the suspension on the deeply rutted trackway. He stopped his vehicle and asked us where we had been walking. When we mentioned the mines, his expression darkened and he asked us if we had encountered any dead ponies. When I replied in the negative he looked visibly relieved.

Despite the power lines, the pass is a wild place, with a remote feel.  Beaumaris is visible in the distance across the straits and the workings of the Penmaenmawr quarry can be seen a few miles away, yet up there in the shadow of the Carneddau it feels like a different world..

Bronze Age Standing Stones:
South of Tal-y-Fan, Gwynedd. Wales OS Map Ref SH71467183
OS Maps - Landranger 115 (Snowdon), Explorer 17 (Snowdon)


Anonymous said...

Pesky pylons, eh?

Like your top shot - nice tonality.

Iain Robinson said...

Thanks for your comment about the top shot...I wasn't sure about the composition or whether it was actually level, so that means a lot!

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