However, until last week's visit with Alan Rainford I'd never ventured underground in the area. A busy few days of research and some invaluable help from our good friend Dave Baines led to a "to do" list of: Wrysgan Slate Mine; Pant-y-Wrach Copper Mine & Bwlch-y-Plwm Lead Mine - a cluster of venues to the south/east of Bedgellert.
|Alan Rainford Looking Down The Incline Plane On Craig-y-Wrysgan|
An early start from Sea View on Thursday morning saw us parked up & eating lunch in Tan-y-Grisiau with plenty of time for a good look around Wrysgan Slate Mine. However, the best laid plans & all that led to us spending ages looking for the mine entrance (basically we parked in the wrong place & the grid reference we had for the mine entrance was incorrect). However, we were offered some very kind help from Tegid who lived in the area & very much went the extra mile to ensure we had a good visit - big thanks Tegid if you read this!!
Eventually we arrived at the entrance to number 1 floor of the mine & ventured into what can only be described as a vast underground environment.
Our mine tour was effectively an internal ascent of Craig-y-Wrysgan with much marvelling at the dimensions of this type of mining technology which is very different to our usual experiences in the North Pennines and Lake District.
A final scramble saw us emerge to snow as we exited number 6 floor!
It was a straightforward walk back down the mountain via a look at the incredible incline plane (see photo above). Its hard to imagine that such an engineering undertaking might ever be embarked upon in the British mountains again. A drive back to Llanberis & an evening at Pete's Eats bunkhouse concluded the first day.
Breakfast at Pete's and a concerned eye on the weather resulted in a later start but in the end we decided to have a go at getting to Llanfrothen, our next destination, all fears were unfounded and it was no more than a wet drive. Today's metal ore mines were much more familiar territory in terms of their technology. Pant-y-Wrach copper mine was a gem, short but very enjoyable. Just up the road, Bwlch-y-Plwm lead mine was altogether more extensive - we explored three of the five levels (Deep Adit; Roman Level and number 3 level). There are a few photos below:
There are a few more photos on flickr