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Report - Dinorwic slate quarries.

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by BenR, Jun 23, 2007.

  1. BenR

    BenR Guest

    I used to go climbing in North Wales with my college club and on rainy days we would explore the Dinorwic slate quarries, which closed in 1969. The quarries are huge and have three of the biggest holes in the ground I have ever seen, all conected by tunnels and galleries. At the bottom of the holes you can actually hear the hum of the turbines in the pumped storage scheme coming up through the solid rock. The higher you climb up through the quarries the better they are preserved and the more artefacts you find. The best are the cutting sheds and the old Garret, with the names of the last shift scratched on the wall. I believe all this is actually under a preservation order, so exploring and, er, "bouldering" (cough) is frowned upon.

    At the top of the quarries you find a 10ft fence enclosing the surge pond for the pumped storage scheme. It's not as easy access even for climbers but it's worth the effort - you look down at the water level as it rises and falls silently, absorbing the impetus of thousands of tons of water rushing down the pipes but being stopped when demand drops. The turbines are kept spinning using spare electricity so can be powered up within a few seconds to take up demand when everybody puts the kettle on at match half time, for example. The official tour on the pumped storage scheme is worth doing too, really impressive.

    A few pictures, taken on film around 1987:

    Quarry scene:

    Inclined railway for lowering cut slate down the mountain. There is a huge winding drum at the top of each incline, hydraulically powered I believe:

    Remains of a truck. There are points and turntables in the rail network. That's Snowdon in the background; the railway goes up the ridge.

    The cutting shed:

    Cutting benches with big saw blades. All the phosphor-bronze bearings have been smashed out and stolen.

    Cutting benches again:

    In the Garret:

    The last shift:

    Surge pond:
    #1 BenR, Jun 23, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 23, 2007

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