The walk started about 30 minutes drive from home. The first part of the drive used to be my commute many years ago, but after reaching the edge of Llan Ffestiniog, we took a right turn up a narrow lane and squeezed under a very narrow railway bridge that was also on an awkward bend.
The Cwt-y-Bugail (which means "Shepherd's Hut") quarry used to be known as Manod quarry and it's famous because it's where the art treasures from the National Gallery in London were hidden during the Second World War to keep them safe during the Blitz. The narrow railway bridge was an obstacle to getting some of the biggest paintings up to the quarry, but by digging away the road to make a dip, eventually everything made it through with inches to spare in some cases.
After driving some way up the single-track road that leads to the quarry, we found a large enough area of solid looking grass verge to park on. It's extremely anti-social to park in passing places and we knew that the quarry had now reopened, so were unsure whether there would be anywhere to park at the top. As it happens, there wasn't, but also, if we had driven to the top, we would have missed all the interesting rocks we had come to look for.
Once an ancient volcano, Manod is a very rounded hill.
A volcanic vent.
On the road up to the Cwt-y-Bugail quarry. In the distance is a volcanic sill.
When we reached the quarry at the top, we discovered that access to the big opencast quarry was now impossible due to increased activity. Lots of safety notices and the sound of machinery and, at one point, a distant explosion! But here's what it was like eight years ago.
But we didn't see that this time. Instead, we walked a little way along an old tramroad that leads to more slate quarries, but there was no where to sit out of the wind, so we retraced our steps and sat on a rock at the side of the road a little way below the quarry entrance.
While we were eating a cyclist toiled past. We'd already seen one while we were eyeing up the quarry gates. Bonkers! Totally bonkers in my view. I only cycle where it's more or less flat, which is why I don't do much cycling as Wales is not know for its flatness. :)
All in all a very pleasant walk and so lovely to see a bit of sunshine, though there was no warmth in it.