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Report - Wrysgan Slate Quarry, Wales, July 2013.

Discussion in 'Mines and Quarries' started by Altair, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. Altair

    Altair Poking holes since '84
    Regular User

    Mar 16, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Wrysgan Slate Quarry and the tail of fail! ​


    Wrysgan is situated above Llyn Tanygrisiau 1390 feet above sea level it is a remote and inaccessible site. It was opened in the 1830's, the first mill was built in 1854, there was however a second mill built on a lower level in 1865. In 1872 an impressive incline and short tunnel above Llyn Tanygrisiau was built. This gave direct access to the Ffestiniog railway system. It was built as a normal double tracked gravity balanced incline, however, due to the slight gradient at the bottom, wagons frequently stalled on it. It was soon converted into a single track powered incline which used various forms of propulsion.

    The tiny Llyn y Wrysgan proved to be too small to keep the water wheels turning and in 1890 a steam engine was installed on the lower mill, another drove the underground incline serving the levels. Steam proved to be costly and a 50hp gas engine was installed for mill drive, with uphaulage from the lower levels by a water balance along side the original exit incline. This incline was later driven by an old car engine. Electricity was bought to the mine in the 1920s, the incline was then powered by borrowing the electric motor from the
    and connecting it to the haulage drum each time a journey of empty wagons needed to be raised. Finally a lorry engine was used for this purpose.
    The mine was worked by a douzen men during the 1930s and finally closed in the 1950s.

    The first thing to be seen is the very impressive incline with its access cutting tunnel. Because of its prominent position and short tunnel at the top it has always attracted a lot of attention. As a consequence it is now severely eroded. The easiest way up to the mine is via the old miner’s path which makes its way up the side of the mountain giving impressive views of Cwm Orthin quarry. Once you have reached mill level then there are many obvious adits leading up from the mill several are collapsed and impassable.

    My trip/ramblings

    Visited with 'Altair's better half' way back in July so thought it was about time I slapped up a report. This was supposed to be a full day of mines in the mountains above Tanygrisiau after failing miserably last year due to weeks of heavy rain and only having rubbish work boots on my blistered covered feet from the hike up Snowdon the day before! So this year the plan was to head up to Conglog, followed by Rhyosydd and its abandoned village then heading around to Croesor (no through) and finally walking back round the mountain to the final stop of Wrysgan.

    After last years fail I was feeling quietly confident due to remembering to pack my wellies and with the weeks of dry weather we'd been having it was a sure thing, right? Wrong! The two days before heading up to Tanygrisiau we had torrential rain, leaving much of the place a boggy mess, bugger! After parking up and donning wellies (still feeling quietly confident) we headed up to Conglog and were greeted with a selection of flooded adits. After finding what I believed to be the entrance I headed in only to be stopped in my tracks by the lack of visibility by the thick mist emanating from the bowels of the mine and the water level which was a few inches above the limit of my wellies, measured with the trusty tripod-depth gauge! Took one picture which was just a misty, cloudy mess and came out and headed up to Rhyosdd feeling rather disappointed :(

    Some of the abandoned remains at Rhyosdd

    After a quick poke around here I headed into the long entrance adit, leaving my better half outside to half lunch while i checked the water depth! After approximately three quarters of the way in, wadding through the rushing water I kicked some pointy rock that I hadn't seen, swore a lot but carried on! I quickly felt that I had a wet foot and could see bubbles from the side of wellie so thought I'd head back to the entrance to tell the better half that the water wasn't as deep as Conglog so her shorter boots should be ok! Unfortunately this was when I saw the big gash in my boot and the fairly red sock with matching gash in my foot! After drying off and patching up, decided to call it a day with Rhyosdd and headed on round to Croesor.

    View of the Croesor workings.


    Quickly popped into what appeared to be a drier adit and started to head in but much to my disappointment this turned out to be flooded beyond a level of my walking boots and bandaged foot to take, so a couple of pictures from the entrance adit before heading back out and finally on to Wrysgan.

    Croesor entrance tunnel



    After exiting Croesor we headed up and over the mountain to loop back around to Wrysgan rather than attack the incline up to it. En route we came across what appeared to be a lunar landscape with vast cave ins leaving the ground pot marked like the greasy face of a teenage working in Mcdonalds. I presume this was caused when the a huge section of the Rhosydd workings collapsed, killing many of the workers. Finally we made it Wrysgan. I won't bore you anymore, just leave you with the pictures, enjoy :)
















    Looking the famous incline.


    Well done if you made it this far and thanks for looking :thumb


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  2. shadowman

    shadowman 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Sep 27, 2008
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    Re: Wrysgan Slate Quarry, Wales, July 2013. (Picture heavy)

    Sounds like you had an "Eventful" trip ...Spent a good few hours in Cwmorthin earlier this year AND the Rhosydd 9-5 incline trip was the first time i ever headed underground with my old man 40 years ago .

    Incidentally the Croesor "fan house" in picture 3 or more accurately the remains of used to look like this


    And provided forced ventilation throughout the mine ...A long time ago there were the remains of hundreds of waterproof sealed tins that "Noble" used for the storage of explosives (they had a manufacturing plant at penrhyndeudraeth near to Porthmadog) .
  3. shadowman

    shadowman 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Sep 27, 2008
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    Re: Wrysgan Slate Quarry, Wales, July 2013. (Picture heavy)

    the bridge was hanging by a thread when we were there earlier in the year ...


    It was indeed a Landrover stripped to it's bare bones and driven by Mr Jones to allow for clearance along the adit ...IF you look carefully at this picture from the early 80's (Taken by my old man) you "may" be able to make out some Landrover panels possibly removed from the one used


    Incidentally there are some Landy bits to be spotted in Cwm itself.

    Around the time of the old picture above the walls that contained the river itself were something to be seen ...all built out of slate waste and no cement OR mortar in sight ...towering above the river some 20 or so feet below,

    All sadly gone now ....Progress ehhh ...still we should be grateful that there is ANYTHING left of what was there back then .

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  4. Rustynail

    Rustynail it's dark in here innit?
    Regular User

    Sep 25, 2009
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    Re: Wrysgan Slate Quarry, Wales, July 2013. (Picture heavy)

    Excellent report :thumb I think Wrysgan was the first slate mine I ever went in but it wasn't a great explore as ISTR only having a couple of poor torches between 4 people :crazy

    Croesor fan house and locomotive.
    Now restored and running at Apedale Valley Railway near Newcastle under Lyme.
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