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A couple of days ago we went out exploring again. On a previous trip we'd briefly looked at what G thought was a disused slate mine, only to discover that it was being worked. However, after perusing the map, he thought he'd found a route along public footpaths that would take us above the part they were working and give us a good view of the old mine.

It started off well. We parked by some cottages and then took a clearly marked footpath which climbed steeply past a field where someone was keeping ponies. The main track continued, but a stile over a wire fence reassured us that there was indeed a path through the woods. Quite a lot of the tall spindly conifers had been blown down at some point and the track was very faint, but we clambered over and under the fallen trees and eventually the path did bring us out high up on the hillside at the foot of the old workings.

I've never seen a slate wall as high as this one before! There was an entrance at the bottom, but we didn't venture to look in there.

Slate wall -- Aberllefenni

As I said, the mine is operating again on a small scale. They seem to be crushing up the slate waste to make that slate gravel stuff people use in gardens and also taking out the remaining good slate and making plaques, gravestones and other items.

Looking down the old incline at the current operations.

Current operations -- Aberllefenni

However were soon at the end of the path.

Where did the path go?

The map showed it continuing round the corner and across the face of the slate tip, but no path seemed to exist. We therefore scrambled up to the next level, which brought us to the top of that slate wall in the previous photo.

Top of wall -- Aberllefenni

There was possibly a tram track running across this when the mine was working.

Unfortunately, there was still no sign of a path, but we'd reached that point where going on seemed a better option than climbing back down the slate tip we'd just climbed up.

After a rather precarious scramble, we did reach the safety of solid ground and then the path was easy and well marked, back down the other side of the valley to where we'd parked.

Here is the view of the old workings. If you follow the line across, you can see where there used to be a path across the waste tip, a path that has now disappeared due to the tip subsiding.

Slate mine -- Aberllefenni

Anyway, it was quite an adventure, but not a route that we can put in the geology book! This will therefore be included as a site to explore rather than a circular walking route as we had hoped.
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Over on Habitica in the geology guild, people were posting about the most interesting geological site they had visited. Here in Wales we are very lucky that we have just about the whole geological succession available in a very small country, which makes it an excellent place to study geology. But the most interesting geological location I've visited recently was interesting more for the role it played in the foundation of the science of geology rather than anything terribly exciting about the rock itself.

Foel Tryfan

There's a pretty uninteresting looking hill called Foel Tryfan near Caernarfon and at the top is a rock that clearly consists of beach pebbles stuck together.

Cambrian pebbles

In Victorian times this outcrop was the subject of intense arguments between those who said it was proof of Noah's flood and those who preferred a glacial theory of origin, suggesting that the glaciers had scooped up pebbles from the nearby beach and deposited them on the top of the hill.

Of course both were completely wrong because the rock is in fact very early Cambrian, but Charles Darwin visited the site and it was quite amazing to stand there looking at the outcrop and thinking how the actual famous Charles Darwin had stood in the exact same spot at the time when geology was just developing as a separate science.

And here's the big quarry that was just over the top of the hill. There would have been glorious views over towards Penrhyn Llŷn in one direction and Anglesey in the other, but as you can see, the weather was very grey and so we need to go back another time to take better photos.

Old slate quarry
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45/52 for the group 2017 Weekly Alphabet Challenge

This week's theme was: S is for Still life

Where do you draw the line between a still life and a cluttered desk? :)

Still life or clutter?
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44/52 for the group 2017 Weekly Alphabet Challenge

This week's theme was: R is for Restless

Despite the gentle harp music, the man and boy appear restless.

To be honest, this was a bit of a stretch, but I think it just about counts. I took this in Cardiff with my phone. When I'm away, it's difficult to concentrate on serious photography or to set up shots specifically for the weekly theme.

Busker with harp

Current Mood: busy busy

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43/52 for the group 2017 Weekly Alphabet Challenge

This week's theme was: Q is for Quit

There is still plenty of granite left, but the quarry owners quit and stopped working here. I assume that it ceased to be financially viable.

Abandoned granite quarry

I know I've skipped photo No. 42, but I want to do a proper post about that and it will have to wait for another day.
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I have got way behind with posting my alphabet photo of the week. I have, more or less, kept up with the themes, but I have been sadly neglecting LiveJournal and so haven't been posting them here. Part of the problem has been following so much political stuff re Brexit. The other part of the problem is that we've been out and about and away from home much more than usual, so I've been taking photos without having time to process and post them online.


An off-topic shot this week. The theme should have been "O is for Organised", but I wasn't!

I haven't been to Dolgoch falls for years. As we've had a lot of rain recently, the waterfalls were particularly spectacular.

Waterfalls Dolgoch
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I have several friends, some Quaker, some not, who refuse to wear a poppy because of the way it has been hijacked by the right wing. I still buy and wear one, along with a white poppy. As someone said at a recent Quaker meeting I attended: "I wear the red poppy to remember the servicemen and women who died in past wars, and I wear the white poppy to remember the civilians who also died. The red poppy is for remembrance, the white poppy is for peace and the hope of future peace."

I therefore felt that this person's campaign really chimed with me. "Poppy Watch tries to gently remind people that each of these poppies stands for someone who died alone, terrified, in agony, far from home, often for no good reason," he says. "It used to be a case of sticking a few pence into a tin for a paper poppy which you stuck in your lapel, and then you had to nurse it through the week as it got all tattered, grubby and dog-eared. It was fragile, and everyone's was the same - maybe that was the point."

But now, from art installations like last years "Weeping Window" to knitted minion-style poppy hats on bollards, even leaving out the right wing associations, the original message seems to have been lost by everyone jumping on the poppy bandwagon.

Here's a link here to the BBC article that drew my attention to the Twitter feed.

Here's the Twitter feed.
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I have been very remiss about posting here. You can blame Brexit for some of my absence because I've spent more time being political on Facebook. We've also been out out a lot on the days when I'm not doing Welsh class, Welsh conversation or visiting my elderly friends, so I don't seem to have been able to process photos and write LJ posts.


We had a few days in Cardiff last week. G had two days of meetings with his part-time job and I just go for the fun of it. I'd heard about the Snowdogs because the friend of a friend on Facebook is one of the artists who had been given one to paint. I'd followed the progress of Enfys the Snowdog and knew I had to see her in person. It helped that she was just near Waterstones where I needed to go to pick up a book I'd ordered online. The rest were just photographed as I wandered around. I wasn't specifically looking for them, but I photographed everyone I saw. There are over 40 in total. I photographed 13 and saw another one go past on one of the boats that travel between Cardiff Castle and Cardiff Bay, but I wasn't fast enough to take its photo.

Here are a couple of my favourites and also a link to the complete album on Flickr.

Here's Enfys.

Enfys the Snowdog

And here's a pretty one in front of the Welsh Assembly building.

Pink heart Snowdog

And here's the link to the album if you want to see more.

Snowdogs of Wales

Current Mood: creative creative

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38/52 for the group 2017 Weekly Alphabet Challenge

This week's theme was: L is for Linked

The stay in the cottage in the middle of nowhere was wonderful. It wasn't quite as out far from civilisation as I'd expected as there was a farm just a few hundreds yards lower down the hill and it was only a mile from the nearest village. But to anyone who lives in the city, it probably seems very wild and remote.

There were a couple of these cute copper wire sheep as ornaments on the mantelpiece. I couldn't resist taking one of them out into the sunshine to photograph for this week's theme.

Wire sheep

As you can see, there were no other houses visible from the cottage, which added to the feeling of remoteness.

Foel Gopyn

And this shot was taken the following day when the weather was sunnier.

Foel Gopyn

It was originally a game keeper's cottage on a big estate, but now it's available for rent for holidays.

It is off the grid, but there is some electricity provided via a generator. A fridge and radio are provided, but no TV and only one bar of mobile phone signal. There is, however, a wood burning stove and a gas cooker so the cottage was very cosy. We enjoyed our few days there enormously.
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Today was supposed to be spent packing and organising for our mini-break at Moel Gopyn which is a cottage in the middle of nowhere about 8 miles from Betws y Coed. It's off-grid, with limited electricity from a generator and no phone signal or internet, so I won't be posting for a few days.

So far all I've done is brought the suitcase in from the garage and started making a packing list. I did, however, phone the National Trust holiday homes people (the cottage is one of theirs) to clarify whether there was a proper cooker. The photos on their website only show one shot of the kitchen and that’s of the sink not the cooker. The list of things included mentions a microwave and fridge, but again no cooker.

The chap I spoke to assured me that hobs are standard in all their properties, which is what I had also assumed, but then had had a Moment of Doubt. But as usual, I was over-thinking it. So now I can plan the menu and decide what food to take with us.
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