Helen (heleninwales) wrote,

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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