Sunday, 21 June 2015

Rural Decay #2: Tal-eithin uchaf

Continuing our study of the deserted farms and dwellings around the ardal Nasereth/Nebo area is this look at a slightly larger structure, Tal-eithin uchaf. It's to be found off the road, but on a public footpath below Maen-y-gaseg. This area is a fascinating post-industrial landscape of quarry tips, scrub and birch re-colonisation - and of course, ruined farms and dwellings. Because of the stunning views and the rural nature of the former industry, the scene is never less than picturesque. An excellent map can be found on the Visit Snowdonia site here . Footpaths can be hard to locate and are often impossible to follow without local knowledge- I found this really excellent blog, "News from the Big Field"which has a handy description of the paths around Tal-eithin uchaf.

The farm lies a mile or so above one of the quarry pits in the South Nantlle series, Fron Heulog, later incorporated into the Nant-y-Fron operation, which was working in 1840. It was a source of the famous rich green Nantlle slate.

The ruins are obviously the remains of a proper farm rather than a simple smallholding or "Tyddyn". The house was an imposing structure, surrounded by steadings which included a pig-sty and a cow byre. A look at the NLS database and the Caernarvonshire XX.SE sheet for 1880 shows the farm clearly- but according to the parish records of St Rhedyw. Llanllyfni,   a William Williams was born in the house, (1759 - 1834) and married Margaret Roberts (1756-1832). They had five children and the last entry for the house that I have found gives 1953. The WLS census archive shows two sons working at the quarry in 1881.

As always, exploring and photographing a place like this is a bitter sweet experience. You are only too aware that each stone of the crumbling walls was placed by someone impossible to trace or record. There are still echoes of habitation; the fireplace, a window seat, some slate slabs from the kitchen.  Overall is a sense of blankness and loss, not just for the house, but for the stories, hopes and lives of the folk who lived there. I looked out on the stunning view from the front window and imagined others looking out in the same way.  It always reminds me of how insignificant my own life is- but also how lucky I am to have seen this place and been able to appreciate it.

Yr Eifl, framed in a window.
Looking towards Cilgwyn


Anonymous said...

Lovely work, Iain. My favourite shot here most definitely has to be the one of the corroded iron scroll work.

But hold on a minute... no interior red décor?

Iain Robinson said...

Thank you, Graham, glad you liked the photos. Don't worry, there's more interior decor notes to come soon!

Anonymous said...

Great that you dug-up some family info on this. So often we pass by or venture into these poignant ruins and we have a sense and a wonder of people once living there without being able to put a name to them.

Really enjoy your posts.

Iain Robinson said...

Thank you, Alex, that is most kind of you...I always hope the posts are of interest, but it's hard to say from where I'm sitting :-) I am fascinated by these things, but I often wonder if it's just me! I have managed to dig up a little more human interest from a couple of other sites, so will be posting that soon.

Ray P said...

Very evocative photos Iain, I can see where you get a lot of your modelling inspiration from.

Ray P

Iain Robinson said...

Thank you, Ray. Yes, it's hard not to be inspired by these structures.

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