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A hot day for exploring - Helen's journal and online home
heleninwales
heleninwales
A hot day for exploring
Today we drove to Golan (just north of Porthmadog) and followed the narrow lane up past the imposing ruined slate mill. There was nowhere to park by the mill, so we continued on and parked by the dam built to create a reservoir for drinking water for the local area.



We walked back to the mill via a track that led through a field of Welsh Black cattle and then through a farm yard. Fortunately, both the cattle and the farmer were friendly. The bull (on the right) didn't even bother to stand up.

Welsh Black cattle

We ate our sandwiches by the ruined mill which looks very dramatic, set in such a beautiful valley. This is now an empty ruin, but you can see that it was once 3 or 4 floors and would have contained all the slate cutting equipment, powered by a huge waterwheel that was in the centre of the building. Interestingly, having powered the slate mill, the same stream powers a woollen mill further down the valley. Renewable energy is scarcely new and the Victorian had some ingenious schemes to power their mills and pump their mines.

Ruined slate mill

We then followed the path that was once an old tramway up towards the quarry. This shows the way the tramway arrived at the mill near the top of the building.

Tramway to mill

We soon left the tramway to bear left up a higher level path in order to look at the little cluster of quarry workers cottages marked on the map. Sadly there was nothing to see other than a pile of stones. We passed another herd of cows who seemed overly interested in me, so I hopped over the stone wall at a conveniently low point and continued unmolested on the far side. For some reason, though they followed G, they didn’t press too close to him.

The quarry that provided the slate for the mill. The quarry had long been disused, but when the dam was built to create the reservoir in the 1950s, the land was compulsorily purchased and any houses knocked down.

Ruined house & disused quarry

We didn’t go right up to the quarry because, by then, it was very hot and this was just a reconnoitring trip. Instead we cut back down the hill to the old tramway and followed it back down to the lane and to the house near the dam where you can buy fishing permits. We chatted briefly with a woman who was outside with her dog. She had lived in the valley for 5 years, but had only just moved to this house having previously lived just a few hundred yards further down the valley. We were interested to hear that they plan to open a tea rooms later in the year. We must return!
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Comments
sartorias From: sartorias Date: May 26th, 2017 05:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
What an interesting spot! I wonder what life was like there, so long ago.
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: May 29th, 2017 12:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
The ruined village that we saw had about 9 families living there. This particular quarry was actually a fairly unsuccessful venture. Some of the biggest slate mines employed hundreds of men and ran for decades, only closing early in the second half of the 20th century. It was a very hard life though and must have been incredibly bleak in the winter.
puddleshark From: puddleshark Date: May 26th, 2017 05:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
What a dramatic building... I wish we had a few more photogenic ruins like that round here, but if it were in Dorset it probably would have been converted into a holiday home by now.
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: May 29th, 2017 12:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
That has happened to quite a lot of barns, chapels and cottages round here too, though the Meibion Glyndwr campaign of the 1980s did deter many holiday home owners. But Ty Mawr or Ynysypandy as it was also known would have been rather a large project. I do hope it's safe from one of those Grand Design type conversions though.
eve_prime From: eve_prime Date: May 27th, 2017 08:25 am (UTC) (Link)
I would never have expected a ruined mill to have such a beautiful structure! Kids must love to climb all over the old buildings, when they're allowed to do so (or unsupervised).
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: May 29th, 2017 12:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've never seen anything so grand at a mine before and googling suggests that it's unique. In fact it's more like some of the grand woollen mills of the north of England in size and design. Normally the buildings are more utilitarian, being nothing but long stone sheds.
lab_jazz From: lab_jazz Date: May 28th, 2017 08:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Such beautiful ruins you have in your neck of the woods.

Australia being such a "new" country we don't have old ruins.
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: May 29th, 2017 12:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
There are very old buildings in Wales, like the medieval castles and right back to prehistoric stone circles, but I'm sure that Australia has ruins as old as this one as it's only Victorian. It opened in 1857 and closed a mere 10 or so years later. But perhaps your old mine ruins are not as accessible as the ones in the UK?
lab_jazz From: lab_jazz Date: June 10th, 2017 01:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
But perhaps your old mine ruins are not as accessible as the ones in the UK?

Gold was discovered in Western Australia in the 1890's. The gold mining town of Kalgoorlie was established in 1894 following the discovery of gold in the area.

The areas around where gold was discovered are riddled with deep shafts going straight down into the ground but there are no building left.
The mines were hundreds of miles away from the populated city areas and in difficult terrain, resulting in the building being made with whatever materials they could get their hands on. So they didn't stand the test of time.
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