My UK LJ friends may have seen TV adverts for Clogau gold. Their adverts are sleek and glamorous and they have lots of pretty sparkly things in the big shop in Cardiff. Well, if you've ever wondered where they get their Welsh gold from, that's what we went to see.
If you read the Clogau adverts carefully, you will discover that their jewellery only "contains rare Welsh gold". We suspect that by now it contains homoeopathic quantities of actual Welsh gold. It's not that there's no gold left in the mine, it's just that it costs more to mine and process the gold than it's worth, even allowing for the rarity value of it being Welsh. However, the Welsh angle in the Clogau jewellery makes a good advertising hook and their stuff is certainly pretty, though not the sort of thing I wear.
We drove to Bontddu and parked on the main road then headed up the valley. We soon left the tarmac and headed through a gate up a track that followed the river which runs in a very deep wooded ravine at this point. We passed a small hydroelectric generator in a shed and then reached the St David's mine, which was the most recent of the Clogau mines to be worked. There's no sign of activity now, though the padlocks look new as does the roof of a long shed/workshop.
The first mine workings were up on the top of the hill where you can also see the remains of the tramways built to take ore down the valley.
Continuing to climb, here's the next mine entrance after the St David's mine.
Opposite is a stone shed. You can just about make out the word "Clogau" on the door.
Peering through a gap in the door revealed only a folding wooden chair and a few tools. Nothing exciting to be seen, I'm afraid.
Obviously, with hindsight what the sign should have said was, "Do not remove this gate and lean it against the gatepost at the side of track." :)
Having reached the oldest workings, we made our way across the rough pasture to a footpath and a stile that eventually led back down to the road. And there, somewhat to my surprise, I met one of the women who goes to the Welsh conversation group each Wednesday morning. She had just taken the rug off her horse, but was considering putting it back on again as it looked like rain. The horse is called Gwenllian, which I think is a lovely name. She had also been brushing her dog and by the side of the road was almost enough German Shepherd fur to knit a second dog.