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Report - - Maenofferen Slate Mine Explore, May 2018 | Mines and Quarries | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Maenofferen Slate Mine Explore, May 2018


Hmp-Caver

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
So I think for my first post, i'll get straight to the meat and potatoes and write about both "mine" (see what i did there? ;) lol) and my missus's Explore down to Maenofferen Slate Mine
in Blaenau-Ffestiniog, North Wales.

What began as a celebratory day out for me entering my new career, quickly became an idea to finally explore the Welsh abandoned slate mine that is Maenofferen,
I recently visited here once before around January 2018 with a friend, however by the time we got to the top of the leg achingly, annoying climb up the quarry (those who know, know haha!) and found the cutting mills it was getting dark and snow covered so we had to leave it for another day... Poo :(

Skip ahead To May 2018 when me and the missus finally make the planned painstaking ascent to the descent point (Confusing i know, you have to go up to go down :S)
It was baking hot weather and we were very much looking forward to the cool shelter of the Mine. For those who haven't been down here before the place is Gigantic!
so big in fact i had to visit the next day with my friend who had never been underground before, so on the First trip we explored a majority of the place and got a feel for the levels and how deep
into the mountain it goes, and the second visit i explored further into the lower levels and also as far as i could go into the surface tunnels!
I would put some History onto here however it has been covered before so if it's all the same with you i'll just get on with it :D
There is still more of the mine yet to explore because it is so Vast, it's literally Chamber after Chamber of Mining stopes on the middle and lower levels (One that even contained a small deep blue lake!)
as well as some rather dangerous drop offs into other Stopes or whatever darkened abyss pits they were, and with loose screed beneath your feet it isn't something you want to slip and fall down into!

So in a brief nutshell Trip one went a little like this: We Parked the car in the same spot i did last time (which is irritating due to other cars squeezing out so you have to reverse to make way...) and went to the usual track up to the top, a little scramble, few cigarettes and bottle of water later we made it to the top and, to the entrance, we slapped on our lids and lights and first had a little wander into the surface tunnel but because we were on the babysitters £10 an hour clock we only had a little nosy in and decided to go straight for the main incline down into the mine, we stopped at the first Adit point halfway down and had a little look at the old equipment and things down there and followed a tracked tunnel for a while until it forked off and then doubled back to the main incline and went to the deepest point, we were going to leave it there because at first glance with the bit of water we thought it was too deep to get across to the other side, but upon a closer look i spotted a way across via a makeshift obstacle course possibly made by someone who
had the same problem as i did, and we hobbled across, we looked along some of the passages and found one directly opposite us with some slate leaning against it which revealed one of the huge drop offs i mentioned earlier!
we followed a different passage for a bit until we noticed the time getting on and doubled back and out the main incline to the surface, and then back home seeing the babysitter off with a nice £50 -_- Poo...

Trip two however was more fulfilling, which went like this: Again parking the same place and making the climb to the entry point, me and my friend having more time due to no babysitter to pay for, decided first to explore the surface tunnels as far as we could until it came to a dead end, it went on for what seemed like a good few miles anyway! and we then went down the main incline, First stop was the middle adit and after getting to the forked tunnels where i previously had to double back, we advanced again as far as we could, into huge vast chambers which reminded me of Moria/The misty mountain from Lord of the Rings Series,
It was Huge! and they seemed never end, however we did eventually get to a point where there was a drop off into another stope below, however there was no way down so we doubled back to the fork and explored the other tunnel, through there was another winding engine and incline to the lower levels however we didn't go down this one as we had no ropes with us, so we went as far as we could and came back, after going to the main incline and reaching the lower level, we traversed what i aptly nicknamed the Jeep Wheel puddle to the other side and my Christ...the cavernous chambers that lay beyond were incredible!
These ones were pathed with slate and an awkward stream flowing along side again, it was chamber after chamber until we reached one that had an eery but beautiful crystal blue lagoon type pool, we couldn't see to the bottom so didn't know how deep it was, but the echoing Sploosh! from lobbing a chunk of slate into it was hilarious! (Nearly did a poo though because i thought we were gonna be caved in!) anyway we ventured further until we reached a dead end but upon doubling back we discovered another passage tunnelling lower still! however this one required rope because of all the loose screed on the ground. so we couldn't get down there either, after my torch light started to dim, we changed batteries and decided to re-surface, there was still tonnes more to explore around the place but we didn't have the time and we were down there a good 5 hours or so! anyways thanks for reading, and enjoy the pictures i took, even though all i had was my Sony Xperia XZ Premium :/ (Even had enough time for some quick shenanigans with an abandoned dumper truck haha!)

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Thanks for looking!

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DaveFM

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Looks a good explore, phone cameras aren't generally the best for underground photography but these have come out fairly well. Slate mines produced a high amount of waste material, up to 90% of mined material ended up as spoil heaps which probably accounts for the large size of slate mines.
 

alex17595

Under a mountain
28DL Full Member
Looks a good explore, phone cameras aren't generally the best for underground photography but these have come out fairly well. Slate mines produced a high amount of waste material, up to 90% of mined material ended up as spoil heaps which probably accounts for the large size of slate mines.
The amount of spoil is insane. Blaenau is basically one giant spoil tip, it is a miracle that some of the mountains are still standing.
Do they work at Maenofferen anymore? I know they were doing some blasting a few years ago.

Some nice pictures there.
 

Hmp-Caver

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
The amount of spoil is insane. Blaenau is basically one giant spoil tip, it is a miracle that some of the mountains are still standing.
Do they work at Maenofferen anymore? I know they were doing some blasting a few years ago.

Some nice pictures there.
Yeah, it's mad how large all the waste piles are, there are usually one or two workers from the opposite mine/quarry dumping stuff or just having a crafty dinner break but still used stealth either way, after all didn't want to drive over 100 mile for some jack the lad worker telling us to go away... Lol
 

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