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.





6 comments:

geotopoi said...

Great stuff, Iain. Nice to see you blogging again. That blondin pylon makes a wonderful and fascinating silhouette.

Iain Robinson said...

Thank you, Graham. I'd been looking at Pen yr Orsedd from Fron and wondering whether any pylons were still standing, you can't really see them from a distance. It was nice to be able to have a look.

geotopoi said...

Just had to check my archives to see when I went to have a look at them. I knew it was a while ago, but was a little surprised that it was back in July 2010. Where does all the time go?

Iain Robinson said...

I had been looking at your post about Pen yr Orsedd on your Geotopoi blog, wondering what to expect after 4 years and re-opening. As usual, I discover new places to go from your photos :-)

workbike said...

The Blondin is remarkable, not least because a 'temporary' structure has stood for so long with no maintenance.

There was a quarry local to us which used a similar ropeway to transport rock to a railhead, but there seems to be no trace of it now, which is remarkable as it was on a massive scale.

Good to see you writing again...

Iain Robinson said...

Thanks very much, Andy. I will get back to my huge backlog of non-work emails...sorry for the radio silence. It is amazing how nature and the scrap man consign everything to oblivion given time.
All the best to you and your family for 2015.

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