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Report - Cwmorthin slate mine, wales April 2012

Discussion in 'Mines and Quarries' started by The Kwan, Apr 14, 2012.

  1. The Kwan

    The Kwan Easily Led
    Regular User

    Mar 28, 2011
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    I visited here with Xan Asmodi, Walsh, cunningcorgy and Sim2lew, I can only say that as a relative noob to mines I was totally staggered by the size of this place and more than a little concerned by some of the sheer drops that could claim an explorer when lining up a shot or from a moment of absent mindedness, all this on top of scrambling up numerous chambers containing tons loose slate that could crush you if you were unlucky enough to disturb the wrong slab and cause a collapse..seriously it was truly beautiful but at times I wondererd about our wisdom in exploring some of the lower chambers and I know for a fact that sphincters were twitching after climbing up waterfall that was below tons and tons of loose slate that was being held back by a huge metal weight and a steel wire rope.
    Anyway thanks to Matt the cunningcorgy foe waiting at every turn off for me as I lagged behind to take video footage that I will attach to this report in the coming days.

    It was run by several different companies as a venture in its own right during the 1800's. The earlier underground workings started at "Lake Level", so called due to the entrance being just above the surface of the nearby Llyn Cwmorthin, and ascended upwards in the mountain ultimately for 8 floors in both the Old and Back Vein. Poor working practices and reckless engineering decisions ultimately led to a substantial collapse and the end of that company.

    A new company took the mine on afterwards and reused Lake Level but sealed off the shattered and dangerous upper floors. Instead, they developed new workings below, going down into the mountain. Ultimately this company sunk five floors on both veins, before itself being being forcibly closed in 1901 due to a legal dispute.

    The now abandoned lower floors flooded up to Lake Level, containing an immense amount of water hundreds of feet deep, which remained until the early 1930's. The neighbouring mine (Oakeley Quarries) were at this time driving underneath the old Cwmorthin workings and were uneasy about having such a huge volume of water above them, so decided to drain it out. Special diamond-drilled bore holes were driven through into the deepest parts of Cwmorthin from Oakeley and the water drained out under controlled conditions.

    When the water level reached the bottom, the mines were connected in several places by full-size tunnels and Oakeley (who'd taken over the ownership of Cwmorthin) actually re-opened some of Cwmorthin and put men to work in it. The Back Vein Incline was re-equipped and even a new incline was driven down another 90 vertical feet to open some more chambers.

    Cwmorthin then operated essentially as just another part of Oakeley right up until 1970 when Oakeley itself closed. This marked the end of the mine's working life as a major concern, however, throughout the 1980's and early 1990's the mine was working on a limited scale by a small team of local men. Extraction occurred in a few chambers on Lake Level and Level 1, with the underground transport being provided by a Series 2 Land Rover 88".
    some video

    some pictures

    These tracks went directly down to the lower level on an angle of about 30 degrees.

    This was once a bridge and now just some swinging logs, the drop here is about 30 feet down, just to easy to fall down.

    another example of a sheer drop just waiting for an unsuspecting customer, this was also once a bridge but now just the chain supports remain, the upper levels here are a bit treacherous if you dont mind your step.


    The compressor chamber, and all the Homies(yes thats Homies) not Homo's lolol..having dinner, at the top of this shot is an adit that climbs up a few levels and back to the surface.

    This is the station at the top of the incline that housed huge wheels to haul the slate carts up the tracks.

    A shot of a passageway with the tracks long gone, at the end of this tunnel was grafitti from 1934, check the light fitting

    A last shot of that Peski bridge that was
    some other pics

    Thanks for looking and watch out for the video.:thumb

    Attached Files:

    #1 The Kwan, Apr 14, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2017 at 8:53 PM

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