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Thread: Pen-yr-orsedd Slate Quarry [pic heavy], Talysarn, North Wales, July 2020

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    Default Pen-yr-orsedd Slate Quarry [pic heavy], Talysarn, North Wales, July 2020


    1. The History
    Pen-yr-orsedd Slate Quarry is located near the village of Talysarn in the Nantlle valley in North Wales. It was first developed in 1816 as an open working, and subsequently, under the ownership of the Darbishire family, mills were built on three successive levels. The first mill was built in 1860 and two years later in 1862 the first connection to the 3 ft 6 in Nantlle railway was made which extended to all but the highest levels of the quarry. This allowed the carriage of slate to the quay at Caernarfon. A second integrated mill was added in 1870. In 1882 the number of men employed at the quarry had reached 230 men with an annual output of over 8,000 tons. Output further increased in the 1890s when a larger upper mill was built in 1898 as employment increased to over 600 men.

    The quarry consisted of a series of pits and a series of four aerial ropeways known as 'Blondins' and their Bruce Peebles electrical equipment which were installed in 1906. These were able to lift trucks of slate from the pit and bring them to the side of the mills for processing. This film here shows them in action:

    https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/...ng-1946-online

    By 1937, despite the decline of the Welsh slate industry, there were still 351 workers employed at the site. When the Nantlle railway closed in 1963 road transport took over. It also the last quarry in the vale that commercially produced slate until its closure in 1979. The quarry remained in subsequent use, albeit on as small scale, and a lorry road was built down into one pit, rendering the ‘Blondins’ obsolete. After then until production ceased completely in about 2000 and the site has been abandoned ever since, bar the top-level mill which was used for storage.

    2. The Explore
    After the awesomeness of Maenofferen, nothing really could top it, perhaps with the exception of Dinorwic. Hence, I wasn’t expecting too much from this place. I’d seen it on Google Maps and then searched out a few reports and it looked alright so thought I’d give it a look. So early one sunny July morning I set off on the half hour drive north to Talysarn, parked up and walked up the approach road. It was about as big a contrast to my visit to Maenofferen as there could be. And worth the effort it was. Despite the top mill being sealed there was loads to see here. The remains of the middle mill were massive and the tiny winding house at the top of the quarry stunning and the intact ‘Blondins’ a bonus. So not as epic as Maenofferen but highly recommended if you are in the area.

    3. The Pictures

    Nantile 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    One of the first buildings you come to is the bottom winding house:

    img7291 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Nantile 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img7389 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The weighbridge:

    img7293 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img7294 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img7292 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Behind the weighbridge are the remains of the original mill from 1860. It’s pretty far gone but really photogenic:

    img7295 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img7297 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img7299 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img7300 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img7301bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img7303 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Got a bit carried away here:

    img7306 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Looking up to the mid-level:

    img7387 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Moving up to the mid-levels:

    img7308 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img7311 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    It’s pretty extensive:

    img7313 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Nantile 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img7316 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img7312 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Mid-level winding house:

    img7314 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The top-level mill hanging above the mid-levels:

    img7318 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img7321 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    On to the workshops:

    Nantile 09 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img7326 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Nantile 10 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Nantile 11 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img7330 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    This mini turntable was really cute:
    Nantile 12 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Incline up to the top level:

    img7336 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    At the top of the quarry looking over the valley:

    Nantile 13 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And the mid-level:

    img7335 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img7337 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Top level incline winding house:

    Nantile 14 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Sheep exit right:

    img7339 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Not too sure what’s going on here at the gable end of the top-level mill:

    Nantile 15 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Peeking inside the locked up top mill:

    Nantile 16 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    This bit looks like a scene from the Huangshan Mountain in China!

    img7357 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Pylon of one of the remaining “Blondins”:

    img7347 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img7348bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Ey up, secca have spotted me:

    img7349 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Love this slate hearth dated 1909:

    img7352 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    A small quarry hut:



    img7353 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img7354 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And its heater:

    Nantile 18 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Looking over into the main quarry pits:

    Nantile 19 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Some of the quarry pit’s winding gear:

    Nantile 20 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And on to the best bit of the site - the quarry pit’s winding house:

    Nantile 21 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Nantile 23 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Nantile 24 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Nantile 25 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Nantile 26 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Nantile 27 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Got even more carried away here:

    img7372 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img7376 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img7378 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    On the way back down found this amazing banded block of slate:

    Nantile 28 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    There was also one small building that was secured up to the nines with metal sheeting. There was a whole in the roof so used a pallet as a makeshift ladder to sneak a look inside. What was inside? Absolutely nothing!

    Nantile 29 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Nantile 30 by HughieDW, on Flickr

  2. Thanks given by: etc100, Hugh Jorgan, Mearing, MrGruffy, Newage, ocelot397
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  4. #2
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    Nice one mate the place looks mega.

    Bit thin on the ground with pictures, got any more.................... ;-)

    Cheers Newage
    The Newage Traveller gaining entry so you don`t have to.....

  5. Thanks given by: HughieD
  6. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newage View Post
    Nice one mate the place looks mega.

    Bit thin on the ground with pictures, got any more.................... ;-)

    Cheers Newage
    Sorry. Was deffo shirking on the pictures stakes with this one

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