Dinorwic Slate Mine, Llanberis, North Wales, September 2020 (PICTURE HEAVY)

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1. The History
The history on this place is well documented but I’ve done an overview of the quarry’s history, mainly to help me get my head around the place.

Dinorwic quarry is located between Llanberis and Dinorwic, in North Wales. It covers more than 700 acres of land and at its peak, was the second largest producer of slate in the world (nearby Penrhyn was in first place). The first attempts to extract slate here commenced in 1787 when a consortium took out a lease on the site from landowner Assheton Smith. The quarry was moderately successful but ran into financial problems due to higher tax and transportation costs resulting through the Anglo-French War in the early 1800s. Post 1809, under a new business partnership headed up by Smith himself, the quarry started to flourish. The slate vein at Dinorwic is almost vertical and at or near the surface of the mountain, which allowed it to be worked via a series of stepped galleries. Quarrying was spread across a number of sites including Adelaide, Braich, Bryn Glas, Garrett, Turner, Victoria, and Wellington to name but a few. This lasted until the 1830s. The construction of a 2ft-gauge horse-drawn tramway, north to Port Dinorwic in 1824, was pivotal in this success. And while this solved the transportation for the quarries above the tramway that came in from the north-west at around 1,000ft, for the quarries below the tram line including Wellington, Ellis, Turner, Harriet and Victoria, transportation of slate remained an issue. This was solved in the 1848 when the lakeside 4ft gauge Padarn railway was built, along with the Padarn-Peris tramway extension. It remained the main transport link for the quarry before closing in 1961.

Map of Dinorwic Quarry:

50313885387_aecb16045d_c.jpg 800px-Dinorwic_Quarry_Map by HughieDW, on Flickr

The current form of the quarry is little changed from that of the time of the World War One, apart from the enlarging of the actual quarry faces, and deepening of the sinks. The quarry was divided into two main sections centred each with their own series of inclines, traversing from the south-west upwards in a north-east direction. The Garret section had nine inclines numbered A1 to A9 with a total of 20 levels coming off them on both sides. At the bottom was Vivian Level at approximately 600ft and at the top Llangristiolus Level at 2,000ft. Gradients varied from a relatively gentile 1 in 4.1 (A3) to a very steep 1 in 2.2 (A6 and A7). South-east of Garret was the Braich section. Here there were 10 inclines numbered C1 to C10 with, like Garret, 20 levels in total. At the bottom, around the 400ft mark was Sinc Fawr and at the top end and, again, at the top Llangristiolus Level at just under 2,000ft. Braich boasted the steepest incline (C8) at a drum house creaking 1 in 1.9. The total of 40 stepped galleries were joined by a vast internal tramway system.

At its peak, in the late 1800s, the quarry employed over 3,000 men and was producing an average of 100,000 tonnes of slate per annum. This was linked to the world-wide boom in demand for roofing slate roofing tiles which were exported all over the UK, Europe, and Northern America. While the quarry’s internal tramways had utilised horsepower up until around the 1860, the quarry then started to use small steam engines. De Winton's of Caernarfon initially supplied five small vertical-boilered steam engines, and from 1870 Hunslet Engine Company also supplied engines and went on to supply over 20 engines, making them the quarry’s main engine providers. The quarry used three “class” of engines. The majority were “Alice” class and worked in and around the quarry. Two “Port” class engines were larger and designed to work at Port Dinorwic. Finally, two “Tram” or “Mills” class worked on marshalling duties on the Padarn–Peris Tram Line that linked the quarry mills to the Padarn Railway. As late as the 1960s the quarry still had around 20 engines, but these were sold off during the decade. The final four engines were sold off when the quarry finally closed in 1969.

Built in 1898, George B working at the quarry in 1966 (now rebuilt and in steam at Bala Lake Railway):

50307904561_c4b2053691_b.jpg 2020-09-05_12-16-34 by HughieDW, on Flickr
© Unknown

Quarrymen with a loaded 'flat car' of slate - 'slediad' - ready to be transported to the splitting and dressing sheds, Dinorwic Quarry, early 1960s:

50307934376_529415cf86_b.jpg Quarrymen 2 by HughieDW, on Flickr
© Emrys Jones

And team shot of Dinorwic slate miners, circa 1960:

50308093312_01cf639126_b.jpg Quarrymen by HughieDW, on Flickr
© Emrys Jones

After World War One the demand for slate had peaked and started a slow decline. By 1930 the workforce employed at the quarry had dropped to 2,000 and continued to fall both pre- and post-World War Two. During the 50s and 60s it become increasingly difficult to extract any more slate from the already sheer rock galleries. This was down, in part, to 170 years of unsystematically dumped slate waste which had begun to slide into some of the quarry’s major pit workings. This and further decline in the demand for slate meant the writing was on the wall for the quarry and the Welsh slate industry in general. The final nail in the coffin for Dinorwic was “The Great Fall” of 1966 in the Garret area of the quarry. It resulted in production almost ceasing permanently. However, production did restart via clearing some of the waste from the Garret fall. Required a new access road from the terraces to the rock fall, the yield was small, and all production stopped in 1969.

The quarry has since been partly reused as part of the Dinorwic power station, a pumped storage hydroelectric scheme. Construction of ‘Electric Mountain’ began in 1974 and was welcomed by the community for its employment opportunities for the area. Opening in 1984, it is regarded as one of the most imaginative engineering and environmental projects of its time. The quarry's workshop at Gilfach Ddu were acquired by the council and leased to the National Museum and Galleries of Wales. It now houses the National Slate Museum.

An interesting video on Dinorwic including archive footage and interviews with ex-slate miners:


This diagram drawn by I.C. Castledine is a useful summary of the different levels and inclines

46668953504_28bba269bd_b.jpg Dinorwic names by INNES, on Flickr

Finally, here’s a really useful overlay for Google Maps to help you find stuff:


2. The Explore
Didn’t have the luxury of a full day to explore here when I was staying nearby on a family holiday back in July and having my interest in all thinks slate piqued, I decided to go for a day trip here. It was a long day. It is just under a three-hour drive from home so with a six-hour round trip it left myself and my non-forum member mate Gazza around five hours to explore.

We’d watched the weather and the day we’d pencilled in was looking OK so off we set. Having parked up it was an easy walk onto the mid-levels. Given our relatively limited time we wanted to get the most out of our trip so we decided to concentrate of the Braich side and make our way up to the Australia level by making our way up the old quarryman’s path (known as The Fox’s steps) that link the Penrhydd Level with Pen Garret. That way, despite neglecting the Garret side, we’d get to see the main ‘tourist’ sites. In the end we stopped at the Australia level and made our way back down the way we’d gone up down the steps. We then popped down the path from the mid-level mills to check out the Anglesey Barracks area.

In the end it worked out well as over the space of five hours we saw a good amount of the main sights. The strange thing was that we’d seen quite a lot of people who’d hopped the fence and were milling around the Penrhydd area. However, once we started up The Fox’s Steps, we didn’t see a soul until we came back down again, bar our constant sheep companions and some rutting welsh mountain goats!

50305443258_2aecde1da4_b.jpg Dinorwic Quarry 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

3. The Pictures
There was quite a lot to whittle down into a report. Apologies that the report is still pretty image heavy. I’ve ordered the shots by level/height and hence into three sections: lower, middle, and upper.

(a) Lower Levels

The base of the quarry and the bottom of the Hydro Electric Power Station:

50305742852_f8859a2a62_b.jpg img8989 by HughieDW, on Flickr

An area of igneous rock known as “Ceiliog Mawr” (The Cockerel) where the slate around it has been quarried away just leaving the rock.

50305745607_882c213a0f_b.jpg img8986 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Bottom right here is the Ponc Wyllt Incline. A "Vertical Lift" that joined the galleries Ponc Wyllt and Ponc Fawr galleries, located in the Wellington District:

50304905238_2a23c241a8_b.jpg img8991 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Looking across to the Wellington (near) and Matilda (distant) areas of the quarry:

50305736562_a1867afdeb_b.jpg img8995 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50304902908_86fc641d17_b.jpg img8993 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50305746802_cf089cc7ea_b.jpg img8985 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Miner’s accommodation near Anglesey barracks on the Bonc Moses level :

50305596986_2a6e587b5e_b.jpg img8984pan by HughieDW, on Flickr

50305750052_c6f8106e95_b.jpg img8981 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Anglesey Barracks:

Many of the quarry’s workers either lived locally or caught the quarry train on the Padarn Railway. Others came from further afield and Anglesey, in particular, and required accommodation at the quarry each week, leaving home early on Monday and returning home Saturday afternoon. Anglesey Barracks on the Bonc Moses level provided them with such accommodation. This barracks consisted of two identical blocks of 11 dwellings facing each other across. Each single-story dwelling consisted of a living room with fireplace and a bedroom for four men. The accommodation was rudimentary as there was no electricity, toilets or running water. In 1948 the local Public Health Inspector condemned the barracks as “unfit for human habitation” and they were closed down, to be left abandoned ever since.

50304918943_a7921d7fa1_b.jpg img8971 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50305601111_2b79d78f40_b.jpg img8978 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50305750827_55c9e810f3_b.jpg img8980 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The slate topped fireplace:

50305602141_3a62016a48_b.jpg img8977 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50305753692_825a1d82c9_b.jpg img8973 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50304920998_cfd32d3f83_b.jpg img8968 by HughieDW, on Flickr

A3 Drum House in the Lower Wellington District:

50304925253_56da24ce26_b.jpg img8960 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50305762067_43de490373_b.jpg img8959 by HughieDW, on Flickr

A double-height rubbish wagon minus its wheels and bearings, sitting at the bottom of the A4 incline on the Pen Diphwys level:

50304734512_7b430fe6d3_b.jpg img8958 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The main thing I missed out on the lower levels was the Ponc Robin Rabera combined compressor/workshop/transformer house. It was built in 1938 to supply compressed air to the galleries on the lower levels. By the time I saw its roof sticking out of the trees I was a long way back up and I wasn’t going back down and up again!

Middle Levels

General View over Garret:

50305593246_313c30724b_b.jpg img8988 by HughieDW, on Flickr

At approximately 1,000ft above sea level, this level was also referred to as the “mills level”.

The massive No 3 Shed Mills opened in January 1927 (although the date stone makes reference to 1925). They were the largest of the three mills with its 60 sawing tables and 60 dressing machines. On a weekly basis, the quarrymen teams would bring and stack their finished slates in shoulder-high piles, into the open area next to No 3 Shed.

50306279582_96d09cc6aa_b.jpg Dinorwic Quarry 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50303172361_799847452b_b.jpg img8723 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50303268638_88642c6b2d_b.jpg img8721 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50303171946_482aa60e11_b.jpg img8724bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

The nearby No 1 and 2 sheds, built in 1906 with a further 58 saws and 36 dressing machines between them appear to have disappeared.

Gable end (with 1921 date stone) of the compressor house/Sub-station for Mills level:

50306264807_92be33dfdd_b.jpg Dinorwic Quarry 56 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Quarryman’s’ steps linking the Mills Level to Penrhydd Level:

50303319862_1392a3ce65_b.jpg img8734 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Looking up the A6 and A7 inclines of the Garret side of the quarry. The slate structures built across the inclines are access points to the buried electric cabling that runs up the incline in the concrete troughing:

50302484198_bc8ff2ef34_b.jpg img8726 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The flooded Sinc Harriet (a.k.a. Dali's Hole):

50302482358_3af956f270_b.jpg img8732 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Tunnel linking Sinc Harriet and Sinc Galed.

50306130031_6788aa8e89_b.jpg Dinorwic Quarry 05 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The tunnel leads to this waterfall then another ‘double’ tunnel which in turn leads to the California area:

50302478753_40a4ac7b1e_b.jpg img8740 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50302478208_8db7b66f2b_b.jpg img8741 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Banksy-style miners picture art by ‘Panik’ (Jack Murray):

50303165736_b57383ae34_b.jpg img8743 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50302477193_15e299f733_b.jpg img8745 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50305441363_173c25febd_b.jpg Dinorwic Quarry 08 by HughieDW, on Flickr


Side views of the Penrhydd incline:

50303321707_521d59c704_b.jpg img8729bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

50303305577_898d2710f4_b.jpg img8786 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50302463198_2f35b2198e_b.jpg img8791 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Brake drum, shoes, and linkage of the Penrhydd incline drum house. It was built to lower slate slab removed from Sinc Penrhydd to the Mills level below for processing and worked entirely on the basis of gravity:

50302473498_af649015b6_b.jpg img8762 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Close up of the steel cable:

50303310147_869f07888d_b.jpg img8773 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The sheaf wheel:

50303313177_fdf84e406c_b.jpg img8761 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50306128446_a280f791fa_b.jpg Dinorwic Quarry 12 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The Brakeman’s control lever:

50303158021_91fa9779cb_b.jpg img8775 by HughieDW, on Flickr

One of the now rusted horizontal incline platforms which would have taken two wagons at a time:

50303310967_2a124d78bc_b.jpg img8764 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The quarryman's steps leading from Penrhydd to Sinc Penrhydd level for the pit.

50305438993_805b83d1e0_b.jpg Dinorwic Quarry 17 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Slate was not extracted underground at Dinorwic; hence all the many tunnels were to provide access to the quarry pits. Dinorwic had a team of rock miners who mined tunnels to provide both access and drainage to the ever deepening sincs, leaving the old ones abandoned. This is why many tunnels appear to end abruptly above sheer drops.

A former tramway route on Penrhydd level skirts Sinc Penrhydd before entering a small tunnel and onto the gallery behind:

50306277427_b736040ec1_b.jpg Dinorwic Quarry 10 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The left-hand fork leads to the bottom of Australia, the right hand is dead-end:

50303315167_4117dd8a8f_b.jpg img8752 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And another flooded tunnel close by:

50305441073_8344c5d535_b.jpg Dinorwic Quarry 09 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Connecting arch cut in order to gain access to a number of galleries:

50304584881_a7c8c00b0f_b.jpg img8946 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50303900648_b176db2468_b.jpg img8945 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Inside the former Compressor House and Workshops for Penrhydd level:

50305439473_d47b1aff02_b.jpg Dinorwic Quarry 15 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50306275742_0104065fd2_b.jpg Dinorwic Quarry 16 by HughieDW, on Flickr

All the compressor houses in the quarry had a small blacksmith forge at one end for shaping and remanufacturing rock drills or drill steel:

50302467343_4df81d774b_b.jpg img8784 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The 422 steps of Fox's path link the north (Garret) side of the quarry with the south (Braich) side. Located to the right of the smithy on the Penrhydd level, they rise 300 feet to reach the Pen Garret level. They were built to enable quarrymen to access the higher workings of the quarry.

50303311732_e75d3eb823_b.jpg img8763 by HughieDW, on Flickr

We were not alone!

50302462473_2f3f6a5bd0_b.jpg img8793 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Looking back across to the Penrhydd incline (near view) and the Garret sector of the quarry (far view):

50306126071_2736c04520_b.jpg Dinorwic Quarry 19 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The zig-zagging path on the Garret sector:

50303149791_27aec5fc96_b.jpg img8798 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And looking back down on Sinc Harriet as we rapidly gain height:

50303300982_9b7a902719_b.jpg img8796 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Drum house in the Matilda district:

50303299482_bab288763d_b.jpg img8801 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Dolbadarn castle:

50303298852_b5eef7a163_b.jpg img8803 by HughieDW, on Flickr

(c) Upper Levels

Pen Garret

The first major place you come to on the Fox’s path is Pen Garret level, approximately 1,450 ft above sea level. Quite a bit has survived since the quarry’s closure in 1969. It was a lovely place to rest so we broke out our packed lunches here.

50303146581_772e5c93d4_b.jpg img8807 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Looking out from the loco blasting shelter towards the caban. Both ends were open at both ends, the loco would be shunted inside the shed to protect it:

50304285631_330d5577bc_b.jpg img8808 by HughieDW, on Flickr

A Blondin carriage still attached to its wire rope. Hovering over Sinc Penrhydd, the wire extends up to the Taylor level where it is anchored to a Blondin tower:

50304439677_63c0680e11_b.jpg img8809 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50304279101_dfeba90534_b.jpg img8827 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Blondin winding drum inside one of the winding houses, pillaged for its bearings on closure of the quarry in 1969.

50303600178_c09ed3ff68_b.jpg img8811 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And another:

50304283186_d831267ab5_b.jpg img8814 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Probably from a Blondin winding line:

50304437842_af60975fc0_b.jpg img8812 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50305436918_8c9f12d301_b.jpg Dinorwic Quarry 23 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Looking across to the Garrat side:

50304436527_70d960a250_b.jpg img8817 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50306273242_80439c09b5_b.jpg Dinorwic Quarry 24 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50306272702_91db92cd40_b.jpg Dinorwic Quarry 26 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Winding house across the Sinc Penrhydd below the old A7 incline on Garrat:

50304435077_c57e9ba6e4_b.jpg img8822 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The infamous iron ladders are here too. Thought I’d give this a mess and take the path this time:

50303597973_03822dd67e_b.jpg img8818 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50304431917_1119751ac0_b.jpg img8830 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Another old blondin:

50304433777_1b548a119a_b.jpg img8826 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The caban is in a good stage. It’s been made habitable with Perspex over all of the windows and the roof all intact. Some explorers and climbers spend the night here and light a fire:

50306272047_5d7410d2ba_b.jpg Dinorwic Quarry 29 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50306272407_d69e9c161d_b.jpg Dinorwic Quarry 27 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50306272217_7d34c2b788_b.jpg Dinorwic Quarry 28 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Looking into the pit:

50303589773_a3f73e6547_b.jpg img8843 by HughieDW, on Flickr

B Trwnc incline:

50303590293_98f8289c59_b.jpg img8842 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Taylor Level

The Drum House:

50303588413_099c7aa2b4_b.jpg img8846 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50304425032_b030341d50_b.jpg img8849 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50304269591_0f3e8dca0f_b.jpg img8854 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Looking down on Pen Garret from Taylor level:

50304424072_2e6778247f_b.jpg img8851 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Top of the ladders that come up from Pen Garret:

50303582783_e6e19c741d_b.jpg img8859 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Blondin tower and hut:

50304421322_3d268c2f0c_b.jpg img8857 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Crushed wagon:

50304267666_69fb6689b1_b.jpg img8858 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Some of the many iron waterpipes that criss-cross the levels:

50304419447_512842e511_b.jpg img8863 by HughieDW, on Flickr

It’s then back onto the quarryman’s track (which starts to see a lot more lose scree on it) up to the final level of us today.

Australia Level
At approximately 16,000 ft above sea level, Australia was a major slate dressing level in the Braich District and where all the best bits are and hence was our main goal of the day.

The first building we came to is the combined compressor/workshop/transformer building at the western end of the level. The transformer provided electricity to operate the two large compressors which in turn provided air for the operation of the cutting tables in the mill. Initially, there was one compressor, manufactured by Ingersol Rand. However, in the 1920s when the Australia mill was extended, a second compressor was installed. The huge electrically powered 2-Cylinder compressor, manufactured by the Tilghmans Patent Sand Blast Co Ltd of Broadheath near Manchester, supplied air to operate the drills and other machinery in the upper levels of the Braich District.

Compressor house with the remains of a transformer trolly (back) and stator from the large Ingersol Rand compressor (near) in front of it:

50304416747_b307afd514_b.jpg img8873 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The large Ingersol Rand compressor situated in the rear building:

50305434233_3f814bab54_b.jpg Dinorwic Quarry 34 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50306270257_87073ab9c4_b.jpg Dinorwic Quarry 36 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50303581158_0ac93b6a5c_b.jpg img8865 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50306270112_c6b62ab76b_b.jpg Dinorwic Quarry 37 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The latter Tilghmans compressor:

50306121161_38b8dcccc3_b.jpg Dinorwic Quarry 38 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50305433043_774802b8c0_b.jpg Dinorwic Quarry 39 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50303579353_dba2d08613_b.jpg img8870bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

In the back room is this large tank:

50304264476_152c24888f_b.jpg img8869 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Part of the transformer gear that evaded the scrap-man:

50303854178_8e87800923_b.jpg img8920 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The 1 in 3.6 C6 gravity incline to Egypt level. Unlike other inclines at the quarry, instead of the drum being located in a drum house, here it was positioned below the trackway bed. It was operated from a steering cabin using a device similar to that of a ship's wheel. The drum house at the C7 incline was the only other incline that used this set-up.

50305432838_9636c31526_b.jpg Dinorwic Quarry 40 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Just before you arrive at the mill are a number of worker’s mess rooms:

50304415477_4842d710d5_b.jpg img8877 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50303576728_b80aae56ec_b.jpg img8879 by HughieDW, on Flickr

So on to the jewel in Dinorwic Quarry’s crown; Australia mill. Originally opened in on 12th March 1923, it contained 36 Ingersoll Rand saw tables and was one of 14 sheds in the quarry. The sawing tables were housed in the main, central part of the mill. The line shaft to work the saws was housed behind the back wall, powered by a compressor. It would revolve along with the belts fixed to each of the wheels along it. It then fed through the apertures in the wall to work a pair of saw tables. After being cut, the slate was then taken to the slate dressing area on the front side of the Mill. This area is empty as all of the slate was dressed by hand and no trimming machines were very installed. Railway connected both sides of the shed to facilitate the movement of the raw slate into the mill and the dressed slate out of the mill to be transported down the C5 incline pitch.

When in full flow the mill would fill up with a thick cloud of slate dust. Despite their medical officer's assurance that slate dust was harmless, the company's growing awareness of the long-term effects of pneumoconiosis led to them fitting a dust removal system. Many, however, saw this as merely a token gesture due to it being less than effective. Ex-slate cutter Eric Jones testifies to this:

“By mid-afternoon, the air would be so full of dust that it was often difficult to breathe or to see colleagues across the room.”

When you first enter the mill it’s an awesome sight:

50303865313_34c178803d_b.jpg img8883 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50304548351_6235b0f191_b.jpg img8886 by HughieDW, on Flickr

One of the 36 saw tables:

50304260271_9a5181eae6_b.jpg img8882 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Cutting table and saw blade:

50304702492_0d815d796d_b.jpg img8885 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And another:

50304696757_c1d04a8cd4_b.jpg img8898 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The dust extraction pipe above the sawing tables.

50304699817_113cedfc76_b.jpg img8890 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The line shaft:

50304699457_74d4d83540_b.jpg img8891 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Think this was the power for the line shaft came from:

50305430988_91fd034d1b_b.jpg Dinorwic Quarry 47 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Railway entrance to the dressing side of the mill:

50304695667_86dbd1b8b7_b.jpg img8905 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Far end of the cutting shed:

50305429578_127ba66a80_b.jpg Dinorwic Quarry 52 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The Australia level C5 drum house. It was in remarkably good condition until recently when a storm caused the roof to completely cave in:

50306266277_cba4690454_b.jpg Dinorwic Quarry 51 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Looking down the C5 incline:

50306265767_a9c1d7d7a5_b.jpg Dinorwic Quarry 53 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50303856678_d06a15c173_b.jpg img8907 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Here the pipe runs, for both air and water, appear to have been gathered up by the scrapman. It appears that the thought of having to bring them 1,600 ft down the mountainside led to a change of heart!

50306116796_08019ac4c4_b.jpg Dinorwic Quarry 54 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50304745307_e74cd43292_b.jpg img8922 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And all the way back down we go:

50306265072_2310d2c017_b.jpg Dinorwic Quarry 55 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50304590156_34d8c1e3be_b.jpg img8928 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50304588411_fb1492e552_b.jpg img8934 by HughieDW, on Flickr

FINALLY!!! Let’s not forget the wild goats of Dinorwic:

50304582381_59fb6a881a_b.jpg img8952 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50304736382_4f9e03d99f_b.jpg img8950 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50304741152_90d9c99f28_b.jpg img8935 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50303898833_224f8b092a_b.jpg img8948 by HughieDW, on Flickr


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Dec 2, 2008
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121 pictures is not nearly enough ..... absolutely stunning report Hughie. This must have taken you hours to put together and many hours of research on top as well. I have visited this place so many times that i know most of it like the back of my hand but i never get tired of the place. It is so vast that even after visiting it for probably 30 - 40 times i still find bits i never knew about everytime i visit. Your report has definitely done it proud. If you are interested i have found a couple of corrections .... your pic labelled Blondin Tower and hut on Taylor level is actually a Blondin Tower and engine shed. The drumhouse you photo'd in Matilda district is the Morgan Tanc Incline. The view of the shattered steps leading down is, i believe, from Sinc Penrhydd to Tell Dwndwr. Likewise the two side by side tunnels leading into Sinc Penrhydd are actually on Twll Dwndwr level.And finally the first pic that you labelled side view of the Penrhydd incline is,i believe, actually the main A incline. Hope you dont think im being clever just hoping to assist.
PS im not too sure about the saw tables being operated by compressed air either as the line shafts were definately fitted with electric motors and operated by the looks of it as two separate sections. Although whether this was a later mod i dont know.
PPS i was chatting to a friend the other day and we both agree that youre reports are exactly as they should be - excellent write up and history. Good use of historic pics and top notch modern ones -- Keep it up, Krela must be proud .. !!


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Jan 6, 2013
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People's Republic of South Yorkshire.
Cheers mate. Thank you for the kind words. Much appreciated. Deffo interested in corrections. Will work through them and correct them. Best to get things right! Really got into researching this place. Definitely in my Top 10. And definitely need to come back here. Nearly 40 visits. Man, that's borderline obsessive! Fully understandable mind...


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Sep 6, 2010
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Druth, Cornwall
Nice work and fantastic knowledge. Only wish I could remember the half of it.. Been a few times and visiting in October and november.. cant get enough of this unique place.


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Nov 23, 2020
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Amazing report,
I ve just goggle blondin quarry. And found this,Quarry cable way inspection pre Health & safety..
FYI Blondin was named after Charles blondin tightrope walker...
I've been climbing there in my youth, I knew it was big but not that huge. Dinorwic hole is very impressive.
sticky finger put Australia level about 16,000ft above sea level. I think you meant 1,600ft. 😉


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People's Republic of South Yorkshire.
Amazing report,
I ve just goggle blondin quarry. And found this,Quarry cable way inspection pre Health & safety..
FYI Blondin was named after Charles blondin tightrope walker...
I've been climbing there in my youth, I knew it was big but not that huge. Dinorwic hole is very impressive.
sticky finger put Australia level about 16,000ft above sea level. I think you meant 1,600ft. 😉
That you kindly. Wanna go back there soon!


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May 14, 2018
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I visited the quarries in the 1960s, when they were still in operation. I was given permission to travel on the four foot Padarn Railway that ran from the top of the two foot gauge incline at Port Dinorwic to the quarries. The railway carried the two-foot gauge laden slate wagons on special trucks four-foot gauge trucks. I shot 8mm colour cine film of the quarries and the port.


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Sep 27, 2016
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Loved this, the huge number of photos only added to it (especially the goats). The steepness of it all is phenomenal, just the thought of working there turns my head. The water is an amazing colour too.


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May 28, 2019
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Great photos and description. nearly twenty years since I spent time walking and climbing around the quarries. Remember having a scare on the ladders as one detached away from a vertical face. Still alive to tell the tale. Amazing to think of all those guys working there.