MY WEBPAGE CONT'D
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Below the arrow is a whole mish mash of links to videos, pictures and reports of other places that
I have visited but have not put in my blog for one reason
or another but generally just laziness...so just click on the pictures or highlighted text.
Below are the last 3 years Santas grotto trips
2016 Ystrad Einion
2015 Mole Fferna
Learn how to put up and take down a pop up tent in 1 minute flat.
Check out Scott aka Landsker of undergroundwales.
co.uk with his first book about Welsh mines. The Lad is a Gem so click the picture to visit his great website.
Rolling with the L.L.S better known as the "Leeds LOL Society" just a bit of video on board das boot.
We went in search of
Crash site in Glossop that happened in 1948
but got beaten by the snow and boggy
ground of the Moors, click the picture
for some video
of snowyness or here
for the fascinating
story of the Event
The Image Hound, hounding out that image in the pump house in wallasey docks click the image for more pictures.
Check out Mike the maniacs homemade
H.I.D lamp in action,
click the picture
In a closed brewery we discovered mummified cats that had climbed
into the deep slate vats and couldnt get out,
very collectible apparently.
Mr Xan Asmodi all dredded up at
Denbigh hospital morgue
bungee jumping in a Goldmine, 250 ft of holy
do it.. erm NO! but check this fantastic video.
Ojay's Blog spot "below and beyond" one of the most comprehensive blogs ever!
Simon (SAt) underground nutter
in a Goldmine in
Wales, click for
One of the slate dressing beds at Dinorwic quarry, this place is so beautiful just click the image to see.
We woz Guard dogged in a morgue
make you lose your wallet,money and blockbuster card..NO WAY!
Keep up!...Hendre flourospar mine, click the image for more pictures
Window Shopping in
a closed chemical plant in Wirral, click the picture for
Chernobyl 2012, a
cool trip with lots of cool peeps click here to see the group report on 28
dayslater or click the image for my video.
We were in the Ukraine shooting the mighty Draganov and AK47 click to see the video
Dangerous Dave and Landsker et moi in an
because it is un-named...click to see
Dinas mawddy, yet another slate mine that I visited and
was fun and
involved glowsticks, click below for the video
Penarth slate mine, achingly beautiful
by Xan Asmodi we
had a great time, check the video by clicking the image to see just how
gorgeous it was.
Got shit all over your camera bag...heres how to wash it in the machine and its as good as new, I have done it 4 times now and its just fine so dont listen to all the bollox about it not being machine washable.
A visit to a 1940's
coal mine...cramped and wet but fascinating, it was organised by
Morissey from NWEX forums. check the video
Mahoosive ship propellers at Stone Manganese Bronze..these are all now gone for scrap.
Garreg Boeth Lead mine in Wales
A Lovely little Lead mine in North Wales that dates back to the 1800's, it has some of the best formations that I have seen. It is a bit of a trip for the thinner caver
and is also pretty muddy, actually it is very muddy and the mud is of the shit to a blanket variety and a bugger to get off your gear afterwards, it is also pretty wet in parts but the sights make it all worth while.
below.. Dennis and Dave of the Wirral Caving Group
Check out the mineral formations and the amazing calcite floor
Below..cave pearls and calcite
below.. some underwater volcanoes, I have no idea how they were formed Below..a powder keg probably 100 plus years old
We had a lovely time in this old mine and still made it out in time to go to the pub, all in all a fantastic place.
Below is some video from this mine Garreg Boeth that I filmed on my Samsung S5
Garreg Boeth lead mine
River Jordan Culvert Liverpool
Georgie had been talking about going for a bimble, so we arranged to go see what the score was, We went back with Lee, Captain of inflatable dingies and wellies with two right feet, but I can only say that despite being a laugh, these lads know their local history and it is always a pleasure to catch up with them because it is an education to learn about the little bits of local knowledge that makes all the difference.
Despite getting into the culvert it became apparent that 4 years worth of silt had made the entry difficult and the indian summer had not helped with so much foliage and remaining nettles,bushes and overgrowth, but despite all of this we tried to press on regardless so here is what happened.
The River Jordan Culvert is situated in the Otterspool area of Liverpool and from Sefton Park the stream is culverted through Otterspool Park under the woodland before joining the Mersey.
There is a collapse in the middle of the tunnel meaning its now split into two sections but the watercourse eventually drops into the Mepas system.
Christmas Cave Ogof Nadolig in North Wales
A trip with the Wirral Caving Group to Christmas cave in North Wales, this cave has some beautiful formations but is a little bit
crawley and muddy.
Called Christmas Cave because it was discovered on Christmas day, its real name is Ogof Nadolig.
The has been a dig going on here in the past.....digging on a grand scale
some nice formations
Below is a short video made from the trip
WIRRAL CAVING GROUP WCG
Manod WWII Art Repsitory, Wales
In the summer of 1940, the greater intensity of the bombings across Britain meant that the National Gallery Collection had to find a more secure home. The structures at Bangor, Aberystwyth, Caernarvon and Penrhyn were major landmarks, not far from the flight path of the increasing number of German bombers on their way to attack the Liverpool docks. In addition, some of these buildings were about to be requisitioned for military use, so they could no longer accommodate the paintings. The time had come to bury them 'in caves and cellars'.
Martin Davies and Ian Rawlins, the Gallery's scientific adviser, set about finding a safer home for the collection. In view of the widespread bombing raids, an underground location was considered the best option. Wales had an abundance of slate quarries and mines from which to choose. After much searching, the ideal location was found at Manod quarry, not far from Blaenau Ffestiniog.
It was relatively close to the railway - a great advantage for the transport of the paintings - but also remote, at 1,700ft above sea level, and the final stretch was accessible only via four miles of winding, mountainous road. And it was huge, with large underground chambers where the paintings were to be stored (one was named 'the Cathedral', so vast were its proportions).
The quarry was found in mid-September 1940, and the considerable work needed to make it suitable for the collection began almost immediately. About 5,000 tons of rock had to be removed by blasting in order to make the entrance tunnel large enough for the biggest paintings.
To create controlled conditions and protect the collection from the slate dust, freestanding brick buildings were erected in the underground chambers of the quarry. Narrow-gauge railway tracks were laid to facilitate the transport of works from one location to another within the quarry, and special wagons, to protect the works from variations of temperature and humidity during their transport, were built to the gallery's designs by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway Company in Derby.
In the summer of 1941, the paintings were again loaded onto trains and vans from their various locations in Wales, to converge on the quarry. The complex operation went relatively smoothly, thanks to the highly organised mind of Ian Rawlins, a railway expert who could advise on every aspect of the transportation, as he had during the speedy evacuation from London at the outbreak of war. There were problems, however: high winds on parts of the route meant the bigger crates were vulnerable, and the great Van Dyck Equestrian Portrait of Charles I, one of the largest works in the collection, had to be manoeuvred under a low railway bridge near Blaenau Ffestiniog.
The road was hollowed out to allow the huge triangular crate (known as the 'Elephant Case') through, and there were several rehearsals with it empty before the painting was transported. On the day itself, the masterpiece made it through the arch only after a tense half-hour of manoeuvring: some accounts claim that the tyres of the truck had to be deflated.
Below is one of the humidity machines recording data in Manod and alongside is how it is today after 80 years but still in Manod
As the war progressed on other fronts, the threat from bombs lessened and selected paintings were taken to London periodically to feature in small exhibitions. Kenneth Clark later observed that he always felt guilty about taking pictures back to London since they seemed so happy in Wales.
below is some video that I took of Manod WWII art Repository
Manod WWII Art Repository
Kellingley Colliery in North Yorkshire during demolition
Kellingley as it used to be Kellingley today
I really wanted to see Kellingley after it closed down but sadly left it way too long because by the time I did get around to visiting it it was almost
gone, I really wanted to see the lamp room and the bath house etc but only made it as far as the coal preparation plant before being sniffed out
a dog unit, a disappointing end to my visit but at least I did get to see some of the place. thanks to Acid Reflux for the company and info.
A little History
The colliery began production in April 1965 and Employed about 2,000 men. Many of the miners relocated from Scotland to work at the colliery, having lost their jobs at Scottish pits that closed in the 1960s. In March 2004, the pit received £7.2 million from the Coal Investment Aid Scheme.Kellingley’s two main shafts were each almost 870 yards (800 m) deep. One was used to move men and
materials, and the second to move coal from the Beeston seam, at a rate of up to 900 tonnes an hour. Kellingley primarily supplied
local power stations. It also produced some housecoal-quality coal: larger-sized coals of higher calorific value.The Beeston seam was accessed after a £55 million investment programme undertaken by UK Coal. It was expected to extend the
life of the colliery until at least 2015. Coal reserves accessible in the Silkstone seam were anticipated to extend its life to 2019.
Miners took part in the 1984 miner’s strike, although there was a higher number opposed to the strike at Kellingley than in most other
pits in Yorkshire. A miner from Kellingley, Joe Green, was killed after being hit by a lorry on 15 June 1984. From January 1985 onwards,
some miners returned to work, and the strike formally ended on 3 March 1985.
From March to June 2004, workers took sporadic strike action. Kellingley Colliery closed on 18 December 2015
below the Coal Preparation and wash plant is almost gone
a feed for a now non existant conveyor an almost holy looking vent system
all that remains
this was a washer/grader of some kind fire and chemical safety point
The Big K coal prep lab
sadly our visit was cut short after we ran into this very decent security guard who was also very knowlegable about Kellingley, his dog
however was an absolute bastard, he was a rejected Police dog and the lad had only had him for 3 weeks, he showed us his arm were he had been bitten by his own dog....handsome dog though.
I was gifted a Nitecore search and rescue torch and asked to try it out
Well I had nothing to search or rescue, So I decided that it would be a good idea to dunk it in some freezing cold water in a slate mine for best
part of an hour to try it out for video lighting, truth be told, I would not have done it if I had paid for it and luckily it survived, but it was really an
impressive bit of kit with over 1km beam..so check the video.
NITECORE TM36 water test
The Paris Catacombs 1st visit
This was easily the highlight of my year, it was all in aid of Bigjobs's birthday and Hils had planned two surprise underground parties for him under the streets of Gay Paris, I travelled to France in a Limosine that used to belong to the mayor of conway, it had been modified by Bigjobs and
displayed an 8 inch dildo on the bonnet that was connected to the wash wiper bottle so the results of his handy work literally stopped the traffic
in Paris and caused a proper stir wherever we went. Thanks to Bigjobs contacts in France and Belgium We didnt do the tourist attraction
catacombs but rather the cataphile experience, I felt very lucky to have been invited along on this trip and had such a great time.
here is a link to some info about the catacombs HERE
boarding the ferry Crew bus
Andy J supermarket sweep A Gay Parisian
The Bone throne Matt and a skull
below is some video of the catas birthday trip, check out the Limo.
The Forth Railway Bridge visit in Bonnie Scotland
Simon Had been here before and told me that I should visit with him but it was over 500 miles from me however the temptation was too great and I set off to meet him, he drove most of the way and I was crapping it as usual because I hate heights but the fact that simon had brought along some climbing gear made me feel a bit better so I could attach myself to the structure when climbing onto the platform because there was a bit of a drop if you fall off. Anyway thankyou to simon for the safety gear. Just to add that my highlight of 2013 so far was peeing on seagulls as they circled below, Turns out that I am a
pretty good shot.
Simon always tries to trick me into doing stuff that isnt very high, honestly its a piece of piss, you'll be okay!
The View was worth it, breathtaking actually and it was fun pissing on the seagulls soaring below, I am a good shot.
The views were amazing
Just got to make it over to the scaffold platform now
I could hardly watch as Simon did press ups on a bar with a 300ft odd drop, he is not normal..obviously,,crazy fooooo
Below a boat passes under the bridge
click for some dark grainy video of the Forth railway Bridge, it is actually really dark and crap but we dare not start flashing lights up there
Maenofferen Slate mine and quarry
I pretty much walked around this place dragging my jaw around in total awe of the workshops and all of the fantastic stuff to see, needles to say I have made numerous trips here and been dumbstruck everytime.
History Maenofferen was first worked for slate by men from the nearby Diphwys quarry shortly after 1800. By 1848 slate was being shipped via the Ffestiniog Railway, but traffic on the railway ceased in 1850. In 1857 traffic resumed briefly and apart from a gap in 1865, a steady flow of slate was dispatched via the railway. The initial quarry on the site was known as the David Jones quarry which was the highest and most easterly of what
became the extensive Maenofferen complex. In 1861 the Maenofferen Slate Quarry Co. Ltd. was incorporated, producing around 400 tons of slate
that year. The company leased a wharf at Porthmadog in 1862 and shipped 181 tons of finished slate over the Ffestiniog Railway the following
year. During the nineteenth century the quarry flourished and expanded, extending its workings underground and further downhill towards Blaenau Ffestiniog. By 1897 it employed 429 people with almost half of those working underground. The Ffestiniog Railway remained the quarry's major
transport outlet for its products, but there was no direct connection from it to the Ffestiniog's terminus at Duffws. Instead slate was sent via the
Rhiwbach Tramway which ran through the quarry. This incurred extra shipping costs that rival quarries did not have to bear. In 1908 the company
leased wharf space at Minffordd, installing turntables and siding to allow finished slates to be transshipped to the standard gauge railway there.
In 1920 the company solved its high shipping costs by building a new incline connecting its mill to the Votty & Bowydd quarry and reaching
agreement to ship its products via that company's incline connection to the Ffestiniog Railway at Duffws. In 1928 Maeofferen purchased the
Rhiwbach quarry, continuing to work it and use its associated Tramway until 1953. When the Ffestiniog Railway ceased operation in 1946,
Maeofferen leased a short length of the railway's tracks between Duffws station and the interchange with the LMS railway, west of Blaenau
Ffestiniog. Slate trains continued
below ..almost human, an electric truck
to run over this section until 1962, Maenofferen then becoming the last slate quarry to use any part of the Ffestiniog Railway's route. From 1962
slate was shipped from the quarry by road, although the internal quarry tramways including stretches of the Rhiwbach tramway continued in
use until at least the 1980s. The quarry was purchased by the nearby Llechwedd quarry in 1975 together with Bowydd, which also incorporated
the old Votty workings: these are owned by the Maenofferen Company.
Underground production at Maenofferen ceased during November 1999 and with it the end of large-scale underground working for slate in north
Wales. Production of slate recommenced on the combined Maenofferen site, consisting of "untopping" underground workings to recover slate from
the supporting pillars of the chambers. Material recovered from the quarry tips will also be recovered for crushing and subsequent use.
click here to see my video maenofferen videos click here to see more of my images from Maenofferen
I swapped the the front element on a sigma 10-20mm
I had managed to scratch the front glass on my sigma 10-20mm so badly that it was giving flare in my images, so I bought a scrapper off Ebay for £105
YES..£105, anyway I couldnt find any videos or info about stripping a 10-20 down so I made a short video for reference and in the hope that it may
just help someone out who need a bit of info. Anyway it all went spiffingly and I am now using my transformed lens to take the same old crap pictures.
sigma 10-20 stripdown
Frongoch Mixed mine Wales
This is a quite famous lead and zinc mine situate near Pontrhydygroes in central Wales. Although mining at Frongoch started in the mid 1700 s, large scale mining did not commence until 1834 when it was taken over by the Lisburn Mines formed by John Taylor. In 1899 a new company, the Societe Anonyme
Metallurgique of Leige took over and spent a lot of money on new plant and equipment. This was driven by electricity produced by a generating station purposely built and just down the road a mile to the west.
The timbering below was installed by Mr Roy Fellows
The neighbouring mine of Wemyss was originally independent but was taken over by Frongoch mainly so as to be able to use the Wemyss adit for drainage. This was extended into the Frongoch workings and in one place had to be re-dialled which involved blasting out the floor, a feature to be seen in other mines in the area. Although originally a lead mine, its salvation in later years lay in zinc production with over 50,000 tons of blende being produced.Underground mining finally ceased about 1910.
3 mines and a pop up tent
Wild camping and visiting a WWII bombstore in Wales
A visit to a closed Goldmine in Wales
I have visited here on numerous occasions and have got to say that it is one of my favourite locactions ever! it has lovely features and History and as you walk around you get a real sense of years past. The big secret of this mine is that unless you are aware of the entrance and exits you are going to get wet and that is a dead cert.
On our first visit we wandered around for hours trying to find this mine and almost gave up but our determination paid off and we had a fantastic time and since discovering a better way to get to the mine it has become a regular spot to explore.
Some of the drops here were 70 feet plus and some of the ladders were the shonkiest and wettest that I have climbed before but well worth the effort, we found some fools gold in this mine which added to the mystery of mooching about.
As usual my D300 cleaned up just like new
Below are some videos from this goldmine, from separate visits, I have been here lots
there was actually gold in the pyrite in the image above, one of the videos here shows how I got it out.
gold from the pyrite that I found, I really did
Goldmine visit 1
HMS Plymouth a derelict Frigate with great history Wirral
This poor old girl is sitting in a dock in Birkenhead Merseyside awaiting Deconstruction, I have made numerous visits to see this warship and shot a few videos on board her. Can you believe that despite her great heritage she is being sold for scrap. The Argentine surrender of the falklands was signed onboard the Plymouth in her Wardroom and although she is owned by Peel holdings there is a campaign to save her and move her back to Plymouth.
This Fantastic ship was supposed to have been Scrapped by a Turkish Scrap merchant late in 2012 but it seems that Peel are playing their cards close to thier chest despite being caught out by the save the plymouth trust telling porkies after they checked with all of the Turkish scapyards and the Coastguard who confimed that no permit to tow had even been asked for....the mystery deepens.
some history stolen from wikipedia latest on this ship is that it is due for deconsruction. Construction Plymouth was built at Devonport Dockyard, in her namesake city of Plymouth, and was launched by Viscountess Astor on 20 July 1959. Active service During her lifetime, Plymouth served in a variety of locations, including the Far East and Australia. She saw action in the Cod Wars between the United Kingdom and Iceland and also the Falklands War in 1982. Plymouth was one of the first Royal Navy ships to arrive in the South Atlantic following the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. Plymouth alongside HMS Antrim, HMS Brilliant and HMS Endurance took part in the recapturing of South Georgia on 28 April during Operation Paraquet. Plymouth landed Royal Marines from her Westland Wasp helicopters and bombarded Argentine troop positions on the island. Later her Wasp helicopter took part in an attack on the ARA Santa Fe, which was badly damaged and later captured by Royal Marines. The ship was damaged but survived. Plymouth rejoined the task force and supported troops on the ground by bombarding Argentine troop positions with her 4.5-inch (114 mm) guns. On June 8, Plymouth was attacked by Dagger fighter bombers of FAA Grupo 6. Able seaman Phil Orr fired her Sea Cat missile system at them, claiming the destruction of two aircraft. Later it was determined that no Dagger was lost in action that day. Plymouth was hit by four bombs and several cannon shells. One Bomb hit the flight deck, detonating a depth charge and starting a fire, one went straight through her funnel and two more destroyed her Limbo anti-submarine mortar. All of the bombs failed to explode. Five men were injured in the attack and repairs were effected by 1st Class MEM's John Fearon, Gary Borthwick, David Rance and LMEM's Robin Cunningham and Ray Potts. She returned to Rosyth Dockyard after the war for full repair and refit The following year, Plymouth served as the West Indies Guardship which included several days anchored off Belize. On the 11th March 1984 Plymouth was involved in a collision with the German Frigate FGS Braunschweig and in 1986 she suffered a boiler room fire, killing two sailors. Walking around this ship was one of the best explores that I have ever done, it was pretty much like the crew had just got up and walked away, yes it was a museum in the past and it was absolutely pristine below decks despite her appearance above decks. In order to get a license to move her the Environment agency had to inspect her and discovered that the Mortars that were left onboard were actually LIVE and just needed primers ( see image below). I was a bit sad to discover that since my first to Plymouth her Seacat missiles had been taken, yes they were training missiles but they still had Nato numbers etc (see mage below)
Lister Diesel Jennys on board
Some of the LLS, Clough, Geo and SDW a potent mix for a good laugh, et moi pic by CandF
morters all racked up, the primers were all sat in a bucket on the floor
Armada way, the main corridor on HMS Plymouth
The Forward end looking towards the Hangar
BELOW :This is the last ever picture of this magnificent frigate as it was scrapped in a turkish scrapyard
below are a few videos from HMS Plymouth that I took
HMS Plymouth first visit
HMS Plymouth final visit
Nickergrove leadmine Derbyshire
Not a big mine, Nickergrove Mine is an old lead mine that can be found on the daleside of Stoney Middleton. An interesting, if muddy, trip, it intersects some natural cave passage and formerly connected with parts of Streaks Pot and Merlin's Mine. The connection to these (via a sump in either direction!) is currently blocked by a collapse.
Because of its easy access and its connections with natural passage, it has been the subject of various digs over the years. The main level crosses several open shafts and after a descent takes you into a lower level emerging in a lower passage that leads to a couple of scrambles before emerging at the bottom of a shaft. A climb upwards and you emerge at what can only be described as a trapdoor and you are free.
MUDDY MUDDY MUDDY BUT FUN!!
Spot the Nikon D300, it is unbreakable
And it lived to snap another day
Ladder to a coffin level 18" crawl
Mottley Crew, Wirral Caving Group
Glossop B29 Crash site code name OVEREXPOSED
On November 3rd 1948 the American superfortress "overexposed" Crashed at Higher Shelf Stones whilst on a twenty five minute flight from Scampton in Lincolnshire to Burtonwood USAF base near Warrington. After filing a flight plan, and being advised of broken cloud at 2,000 to 4,000 feet, the pilot took off at around 10.15 am. Around twenty minutes in to the flight the pilot nosed the aircraft down through the overcast sky to establish position. The Hillside that she crashed into rises over 2,000 feet, it is unlikely that any of the crew saw the ground before they hit it. Apart from the crew of thirteen the aircraft was carrying sacks of mail homeward bound to the USA, and a payroll of £7,000 for the staff at Burtonwood.
Having failed to find this once already and getting snowbound I was thrilled to finally make it up to the crash site High up on a hillside near Bleaklow.
The crash site is quite some walk off the Pennine way and accessed by crossing boggy moorland but its remote position has enabled the site to remain still looking like a crash site after all these years.
The Mach Loop in Wales
Located in Wales. the Mach Loop is formed by valleys which run between Dolgellau (pronounced 'Dol-geth-lie') in the north, Tal-y-Llyn in the west, Machylleth (pronounced 'Mah-hunth-leth') in the south and Dinas Mawddwy in the East. The Mach Loop is regularly used by the RAF, USAF and occassionally other foreign airforces for low level training. This is one of the best places in the UK to get images of Low flying aircraft and the pilots know this and always turn side on in order to get thier photo taken.
I have visited the LOOP on three occasions and it can be hit and miss but when you hear the cry "incoming" you know its going to be exciting
below are Shots that I took at the Mach Loop
I was well pleased with these shots and plan a return
One of these pilots was giving a thumbs up as he sailed past us on the hill.
Lenny boi Lenston on the Hill
My goodself setting my boots on fire
My Cadwest video
to storage mine in Paris France and catas 2nd visit
The main Entrance one of the huge passageways
we were well chuffed and also found old workshops, cars of all kinds and supply storage units, it really was worth the effort of a detour.
to the bogs amphibious vehicle hiding in the distance
real life tonka toys
we headed out and ended up parking the Limo in a carpark so we could cook tea, there is nothing quite like carpark cuisine.
some video of the 2016 France road trip including the NATO Mine
French Road Trip 2016
You can machine wash your Lowepro MiniTrekker AW with no ill effects
I Sometimes see discussion threads on Photography forums in which people say that you cannot machine wash your Lowpro camera rucksack and that you will damage it by chucking it in the washing machine, well I have done it so many times over the years ( at least 10 times) and I have had NO problems at all with it.
All I do is to remove the separators from inside and leave the bag open, select a cool wash and add small amount of powder with a SHORT SLOW spin and leave it to dry on a flat surface, and Bob is definately your uncle :) it works for me but do it at your own risk.
machine wash your lowepro MiniTrekker
Cwmystwyth lead mine in Mid Wales
A big thankyou to Mr Roy Fellows for all of his hard work at this lovely mine, making it accessible for mine explorers.
now you see it..............................................................................................................now you dont
Cwmystwyth Mines probably constitute the most important mining site in central Wales, and just like many other sites have something of a chequered history making fortunes for some while bankrupting others.
The first recorded history starts in 1184, however stone hammer and mauls discovered on Copa Hill to the east have been attributed to the Romans.
The early mining was controlled by the Abbot of Strata Florida Abbey but it wasnt until the Elizabethan formation of the Society of Mines Royal that the first intensive mining started. Under the society there were several lease holders including the ubiquitous Sir Hugh Myddleton and Thomas Bushell.
In 1693 the Mines Royal Act ended the monopoly of the society and laid the way open to the Company of mine Adventurers under Mackworth and Waller.
In 1759 the mines passed into the hands of Chauncey Townsend who engaged the services of Thomas Bonsall from Derdyshire to manage the mines. Bonsall stayed on after the death of Townsend in 1770 working the mines for Townsends son who inherited the lease, later in 1785 he took on the lease himself.
Bonsall did quite well out of the job regularly earning £2000 a year out of Cwmystwyth, Castell, and Rhiwrugos mines which he also owned.
A lot of the well known works are attributable to Bonsall, and towards the end of the 18th century his earnings had reached £2000 to £3000 a year from Kingside and Pughes mines alone. He was also responsible for Bonsalls level and Level Fawr.
Bonsall died in 1807 and the lease passed to his son, and then was taken over by the Alderson Brothers from Swaledale and James Raw who has local descendants.
Unfortunately the price of lead plunged in the 1830s and the Aldersons were declared bankrupt. The lease was then taken by Lewis Pugh of Aberystwyth who had the luck of the devil as metal prices started to soar immediately and he made a fortune from stocks of ore in hand when he took over the lease.
In 1848 John Taylor of Norwich took over the mines, another for his collection. The mine was being worked on the cost book system and in 1885 after a period of poor output the mines passed to a new company ˜The Cwmystwyth Company. Almost immediately the mine was split between two concerns, The New Cwmystwyth Company and The Kingside Mining Company who worked the mines until 1892 and 1893 respectively.
In 1900 the mines were taken over by The Cwmystwyth Mining Company Ltd under Henry Gammon who poured a fortune into development work and investment n new plant and machinery; however the new company struggled badly to make it pay. In 1905 the company was reformed as Kingside Zinc Blende Ltd but still struggled to turn a profit. By 1909 Gammon had blown all his money in the place but managed to attract Brunner Mond to invest in his existing company.
In 1912 the mine was again split into two sections, with part being taken over by The May Mining Company formed by one of the old mine captains John Howell Evans in partnership with a Charles Stocks. This company is notable in one of the few metal mining concerns that used Kell Drills developed by Moses Kellow of the Kelldrill Works at Croesor Slate Mine near Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Kellow was another Cornishman in Wales being born at Delabole in 1862. Besides being the owner of the Kelldrill Company he was manager of the quarry. These drills worked on hydraulic pressure using water, and are arguably the most powerful rock drills ever produced. High pressure water acted on a Pelton turbine, later a reaction turbine, which drove the shaft of the drill by elliptic gears. The drill developed 55h.p. and was twice as efficient as a modern rock drill.
History was to repeat itself however and these two companies went to the wall in 1915 and 1916 respectively.
In 1916 two gentlemen named Thomas and Stocks managed to form a new company Cwm Ystwyth Mines Ltd which struggled on until 1923 when the mines passed into the hands of the British Metal Corporation.
In 1925 the mines were being worked by a partnership of a Craig and Herbert and finally The Gallois Lead and Zinc Mines Ltd until 1950 when the mines were finally abandoned.
Eventually the ownership of the land and mines passed into the hands of the Crown Estate who in 2012 spent a great deal on money consolidating the remaining buildings, and then in 2013 whole site was acquired by Cambrian Mines Trust the present owners.
below is some video of Cwmystwyth that I took.
Cwmystwyth skipway level
Rhiwbach slate mine wales
I have been here a fair bit so this is made up of different visits.
Rhiwbach Slate Quarry, along with Blaen y Cwm, differed from all other quarries in the slate industry in one important aspect. The exit incline from the quarry for the finished product led up and not down. The classic balanced incline, by which the outward loaded slate wagons brought up the empty wagons by gravity, was not possible.
the above image was taken in Rhiwbach for Nitecore head torches who wanted some promo pics for their website..love free clobber
The answer for the quarry was to build a substantial engine house to power the incline from the bottom, with the haulage wire passing around a sheave at the top. This engine house also powered the quarry machinery and the underground inclines. The remains of the engine house are a notable feature of the quarry with the tall chimney still an imposing sight.
The quarry was started at the beginning of the 19th century on a site to the South of the later main workings. This area developed into a deep pit working which has now flooded. This part of the quarry was worked out by the 1880's and work transferred to the present site. The pit working here, started in the 1860's, was later developed extensively underground to encompass eight levels. Drainage of the underground workings was through a tunnel which began 350 feet below the surface and emerged onto the side of Cwm Penmachno. The entrance to this drainage tunnel may still be seen today. When the quarry first opened, the slate was taken down on horseback into Cwm Penmachno and eventually to the quay at Trefriw on the Conwy. Later the finished product was taken out in the opposite direction, around the shoulder of Manod Mawr and down to the Afon Dwyryd below Maentwrog.
The Rhiwbach Tramway opened in 1863 and revolutionised the transport arrangements for the quarry. A wharf was opened in Porthmadog and from then on all slate went out along the tramway and down the Ffestiniog Railway. In 1908 the quarry started to use the exchange sidings at Minffordd to transfer their product to the national rail network.
This quarry was one of the most remote in the industry and it was frequently cut off for long periods in bad weather. Because of this, the living quarters almost reached village status. The quite extensive remains of which includes family accommodation, a shop and a school house as well as the barracks for the single men.
Although the quarry occupies a large area, the annual output rarely exceeded 6000 tons and it was closed down several times for quite long periods. Electricity was introduced to the site in 1934 which somewhat relieved the hardships of life at this remote location. The last workers at the quarry still barracked on site and this is believed to be the last quarry where this practice took place. The quarry finally closed in 1951 and all the machinery was removed.
Below are a few videos that I have taken at Rhiwbach slatemine
Rhiwbach 2nd visit
Wirral caving group