Friday, 26 December 2014
Last Man Standing
The last of the Blondin towers at Pen yr Orsedd, against a cold December sky. It's fellow towers lie on the ground where they have fallen in fascinating disarray. As someone who has difficulty working out how to lace my hiking boots, my hat goes off to the folk who constructed and operated these fascinating contraptions.
Much of the equipment on-site is listed as historically significant and information on it can be found on the Coflein database. While it is not being actively conserved, the quarry operators are not disturbing it either, an attitude we should be thankful for given what has happened elsewhere.
Activity at the quarry is going on constantly at the moment, due to a new vein of beautiful rich green Nantlle slate being found deep in the sinc. Blasting is carried out regularly and access is extremely sensitive- we were very lucky to be able to view some of the site, but it is normally strictly off-limits.
I managed to take some photos of the winders, quite similar to the example in the open at Blaen-y-Cae, further down the valley. These were powered by electricity, with all the fascinating associated equipment. They have had visits from vandals and thieves, but are intact enough to interpreted by the knowledgeable. (i.e. someone other than me!) For a glimpse into how the quarry used to look, Graham Isherwood has a wonderful set of photographs here on AditNow, taken in the seventies.