Report - - Dinorwic Slate Quarry, Wales, August 2019 | Mines and Quarries | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Dinorwic Slate Quarry, Wales, August 2019

The Amateur Wanderer

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Dinorwic Slate Quarry, Gwynedd, Wales

Dinorwic is a place that's been on y mind for a long time now, a place I used to get a glimpse of as a young lad having family holidays in Llanberis and exploring the next door Mount Snowdon. It's a place I've always wanted to see properly but other places and time have always prevented me from doing so, a lot of Industry comes and goes giving us as explorers a priority to see them, Dinorwic's a little different as she's still sat in a similar state to this day as when the doors were closed way back in 1969! Given a weeks leave from work I was tempted to finish of my project on covering British Coal, but as it worked out with deployments not too far away I decided a holiday was required and the idea of chilling out on the Welsh Mountain sides sounded perfect, looks like that chance to tick off some Welsh Slate had finally arisen.

So I headed out to Llanberis with enough food, water and equiptment to survive a couple of days up in the heights of Dinorwic, making sure I had plenty of time to not only cover the quarry in my own time but to enjoy sitting out and taking in the beautiful nature that surrounds the quarry. As a kid everything seems to be a lot bigger than it really is doesn't it? I was surprised to find that wasn't the case here though, as soon as I arrived and had the first glimpse of the levels working up along the mountain side everything seemed to be much larger than I remembered! Fortunately despite the height of the mountain getting some altitude doesn't take long at all flying up some almost vertical ramps sometimes on all four used for transporting slate.


One place that I'd definitely suggest is worth a visit is the old HQ for the quarry now known as the National Slate Museum and as you can see the lower levels of the workings are as green and lush as any other Welsh Valley, it's only really when you get up high that all signs of life other than the odd Buzzard appears...

The National Slate Museum is a perfectly preserved example showing the life of a quarryman depicting how they worked and lived, it's also home to some epic machinery as well including a fully fit forge and blacksmiths. I'll include a couple from here but of course these are tourism rather than exploration, that point gets stronger the further up the mountain you get!


The High Pressure Water Wheel used to keep the running axle spinning and those belt machines working, an amazing bit of kit well worth calling in to see!


And before we move into the Levels of the Quarry a visit to the Quarry Hospital not far from the museum is something worth doing, if anything just for the point of completion. The wards have been beautifully preserved in full 1920's authentication.


One of the first things I came across was the Anglesey Barracks, used to home Quarrymen working away from home on the lower levels of the quarry.


The Mountain Goats love hanging around this area too, might want to keep an eye on the as you pass, pretty sure they were planning an ambush between themselves....


Just around the corner from the shot above is the first compressor house, all equipment used up in the quarry is powered by compressed air, like the drills used to cut the slate. Each compressor house is fitted with a blacksmith and maintenance area to keep the compressor in good working order as well as a pair of compressors.


The compressor system that is currently placed on Dinorwic was fitted in 1938, the compressor above is from the Manchester Sandblast & Co Ltd, the electric motor (or what's left of it) is a Metropolitan Vickers machine. Through the window you can see the forge within the blacksmiths shop and past that is a Type 100 New York air compressor imported from the USA, often mistaken as a steam engine thanks to the flywheel and the cylinder pistons used to compress air not used for motion from steam power.

Moving up further, another compressor house, this one in very poor condition...


The blacksmiths forge still stand amongst the ruins, built out of slate a fair bit of architecture.


And a very sad looking type 100 compressor...


Moving on up a couple of levels I came across the Caban, an area for quarrymen to rest in on their breaks, nowerdays the Caban is used for mountaineers and hikers to rest in and has become something of fame with many photographers taking photos of the remaining clothes and items the quarrymen have left behind.



On the Albion Level as well as the Caban is the only remaining Blondin rope system within the Quarry. These rope systems were another way of transporting slate and tools between levels.


The control cabin still fitted with winder.


As moving around to take a look at the Australia Level I came across the ladders working up the face, something that I did climb but definitely suspect!


The beauty of the Welsh countryside continues throughout, waste slate to the left and a natural, unworked section of the mountain to the left.


Australia Level, Compressor House on the left and an Incline in front.


Finally a shot of one of the three New York Type 100 Compressors.


Another Sand Blast & Co Ltd machine.


Unfortunatley her MetVick motor took a ride down the mountain at some point...


Coming up next is the Cutting Shop, all the saws within the mill powered by a running axle from the compressor house.



And that's about it, covering all the main parts of the quarries left over machinery, the amount of time I spent up here exploring equals many more photos but I'll add one more of the inclines and call it at that, things do get a little bit same old and is much better to see with your own eyes rather than looking at many inclines!


The place is truly fantastic though, I can see why it's all become popular with tourists, hikers and historians all alike.

I think I've become a little obsessed with slate actually, called in and did it all again at Maenofferen on the way home!
Cheers for looking,
TAW! :)​


Weirdy Beardy
28DL Full Member
Stunning photo's and an good write up! Could easily sit up there all day.

Did you jump on the power station tour by any chance? Well worth the excursion, although you aren't allowed to take any photo's for obvious reasons.

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