Report - - Gaewern Slate Mine - Dinghies out for the lads - Dec 2017 | Mines and Quarries | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Gaewern Slate Mine - Dinghies out for the lads - Dec 2017


Exploring with Bob
Regular User
For me, there are a few things that go into making a decent explore; the location, who you’re with, and the shenanigans you have getting it done. Rocking up for a Welsh slate mine reunion with @albino-jay and @monk, so we could float across a deep pool of cold murky unbreathing to explore a scrap heap of old cars at its deepest extremity had good times written all over it. No need for clickbait titles here or made up officialness. This was always going to be cool as fuck from the moment the idea first emerged.

Ze History

I’ve found a couple of histories, which contradict each other in places. So, I’ve forged one that seems to make sense between the two. Mining started at the Gaewern Slate Mine around 1820, possibly as early as 1812. However, by 1948 it was struggling and because of serious financial mismanagement, the Merionethshire Slate Company was dissolved. Production ceased until 1853 when the Alltghoed Concolls started quarrying again. Railways are always good for mines and the absence of them is usually very shit. So, when the Upper Corris Tramway opened in 1859 you’d think it would be happy days! And one account suggests the mine really started to flourish after the Tramway opened. Another suggests that production continued without financial success until 1868. Which is why it was sold to the Talyllyn Slate Company. At that time, Braich Goch employed 200 men, which seems to be a fairly representative number of workers for most mines in the area. Braich Goch at that time encompassed more than this mine, which seems to have burned out of decent slate fairly quickly.

In recent years the mine has become known by another name and as infamous as some of these places get. But, as far as mines go, there are more interesting workings in close proximity. I guess this is more of a novelty; a car graveyard (amongst other deleterious) at the bottom of a mine. That's cool any everything, but the fun is really in the explore. So I'll move swiftly onto that...

The Shenanigans

We rocked up and started rocking our santa hats not long after the sun took away the darkness. And, we quickly found our way in.

The entrance adit is as you would expect; an adit that makes up the entrance. Except it has a whopping great tyre in front of it and it's a bit stoopy. And stoppy is no fun when you've got oars protruding from your rucksack. This much I have learned.

A little further long and there is some evidence of internal workings...

And then there was nothing...

And by nothing, I mean a gaping void.

Here is Monk checking out the gaping void that might lead to snazzy snaps or a plummeting death.

We'd been expecting a steep walk. This wasn't a steep walk. It was something that was probably best tackled with climbing gear, but since I'd been expecting a steep walk, I hadn't brought any. What we did have was some shitty cheap chinese import pretend climbing rope that we'd bought to make sure the dinghies didn't float away.

Once we'd had a poke about and were convinced that the only root to the bottom involved a possible risk of serious injury or death, we decided to do it anyway. AlbinoJay took his rope and secured it to a metal ring in the wall. In the meantime, Monk had found a marginally less likely to result in serious injury or death descent down the slippy and wet, crumbing slate face. So AlbinoJay cut his rope from the metal ring to find out that it was basically a sock filled with tissue paper. That explained why it bounced like a bungee cord and was a useless as a chocolate fire guard.

AlbinoJay taking a snap of the safest route down. If safe is a word you can use to describe it. Which it isn't.

We did stick a rope down the new route, for all the good it would do if any of us relied on it. It was, I guess, a help to get out. Some help, perhaps. We decided not to dwell on the getting out until we needed to get out.

As it happens, getting to the bottom was a great craic. Much more craic than the stoopy adits that led from the climb of death to the murky pool of deep unbreathing that lay beneath the pile of cars.

On the way, there were a couple of old relics including some leather and a tea pot. Welsh slate miners loved tea. I know this because there are more tea pots in welsh slate mines than there are cunts of YouTube.

Just after that, there is an adit that doubles back on itself, which takes you through to another chamber adjacent to the one we climbed down. Not much to see, but there was a reliable looking ladder if we needed it to get out.

So we carried on through to the flooded chamber that houses the much publicised pile of cars that have been dumped into the murky depths below.

Which was our cue to get the dinghy out! We are professional, official dinghy urbexers, so not only did we have rope made from tissue paper, we had a back up dingy for us and the cameras. And dry bags, which were an essential addition recommended by Nickindroy. :thumb

I had an initial mess about to make sure everything was good. As I didn't immediately drown, we knew we the plan wasn't completely stupid and the ropes finally came in handy, even though they were made of tissue paper. AlbinoJay mooching about, urbex dinghy style...

Most of the reason if not all the reason for having dinghies was to fuck about in the mine in a in a dinghy! If a reason were needed, that's reason enough. But we did get some close up snaps of the cars as a result, which would have been impossible otherwise...

As would this snap facing back from the pile of cars...

This is my favorite snap from my images taken that day.

Then it was time to make our way back up the climb of death and out. This is a snap of me looking up the climb (with me in it for scale)...

I quite like how the shadows of the final tiers make an angry cat face. So if I was going to give this mine a name, I think I'd call it, "Cavern of the Big Angry Pussy". And if you're going to go in, you're off better using protection.

And that was more or less it. For all it was short, we were in there a good while and a lot of the day had disappeared when we emerged from the darkness.

Cheers for reading, and I hope you enjoyed the report. :thumb


Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
lol love it. Ive thought of doing this hahaha, good job. I love those reflection photos, very cool. Nice report :cool:

The Lone Ranger

Safety is paramount!
Staff member
Bobbing about that flooded cavern looks fun with a tissue stuffed sock, glad safety was paramount.

The Lone Ranger

Safety is paramount!
Staff member
6th photo looks like something out of The Hobbit / Lord of the Rings. Not the background, more the dwarf like figure in the foreground :D


grumpy sod
Regular User
Fantastic stuff. Nice to see more of the place than just the pile of cars for a change as well.

As I said on Facebook, I love car graveyards but I feel this is the one that will forever be beyond my skill set haha.


Super Moderator
Staff member

I know the cars have had a lot of publicity, but that is quite a sight in the flesh I'm sure.


28DL Regular User
Regular User
6th photo looks like something out of The Hobbit / Lord of the Rings. Not the background, more the dwarf like figure in the foreground :D
I was just thinking that i looked a bit dwarfy myself in that pic lol

Not much to see but the shenanigans deffo made up for it.

Was pretty cool to be close enough to the cars to actually make out what some of them were too.

Great day out and great shots as always


A Predisposed Tourist
Regular User
Nice report mate and lovely images,i remember a few years back when people other than the chosen few started coming here ,the rumours where it was going to be sealed up cos of the footfall..gotta love internet rumours


Exploring with Bob
Regular User
Thanks @Calamity Jane – you should definitely get a dinghy explore sorted – they’re great fun!

At least the tissue filled socks weren’t odd, @The Lone Ranger we had two the same!

Cheers @Lavino - it's not far from Foel that you were in the other week.

Cheers, @mookster. There isn’t much more than the cars in there, but there was the void of doom and climb of death. Speaking of which, if you did want to get to the cars, I could safely belay you down and up if you ever wanted to give it a crack.

Cheers, @wellingtonian!

Thanks, @dweeb! Yeah, even though it’s become famous and has a silly name, it’s definitely worth ticking it off.

Cheers, @Nickindroy... I need to find another use for the HMS M8ty Explorer Pro 200!

6th photo looks like something out of The Hobbit / Lord of the Rings. Not the background, more the dwarf like figure in the foreground :D
I was just thinking that i looked a bit dwarfy myself in that pic lol

Not much to see but the shenanigans deffo made up for it.
I really don’t know if this is just an unflattering camera angle or all the spiced cookie lattes! :D

Yeah, the shenanigans were definitely the main event!

Cheers, @Wevsky – yeah, I’ve heard people can get very emotional over this mine. I’m not really sure what the big deal about it is. There are much more interesting mines to mooch about in the area that probably get much more footfall.

Thanks, @host. It had to be done. I'm not sure I ever had a dinghy as a kid, so this was reliving my misspent youth, just misspending it some other way!


28DL Full Member
nicely done yet again man :Not Worthy. Very much enjoyed reading that :thumb, i seriously need to get into some more mines..

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