is a known fact that in the past the slate of north Wales has
roofed the world, and in some parts it still does. Monuments,
gravestones, floorings, beds, fireplaces etc. etc. can and are
all produced from it. In fact there is not much that slate cannot
be used for so the list is endless; but having said that as with
the coal industry here in Wales, the slate industry has also suffered
major decline, nevertheless in the Dulais valley in north Wales
one mine owner and his staff continue to eke out a living.
I do not pretend to understand the mine workings of either a slate
or coal, but I do have a deep admiration
for those that work in both of them, for both places belong to
the world of the Mole and both are extremely dangerous. To those
of you that are left working in both I say
lwcys ( be
The morning I visited
Aberllefenni, I approached the mine by journeying on what was
once a very busy road up the Dulais valley from Corris. Soon from
a distance could be seen some of the very first "workings"
of the mine high up on the mountain side. It was an awesome sight,
which made me realise just how much effort had been needed to
produce slate in the sixteenth century before mechanism. However,
I must add the physical exertion needed at the slate "face"
today is exactly the same as it was in yesteryear.
are almost to the quarry buildings, the first entrance is now
high above us on the mountain top. Notice if you will the thousands
upon thousands of tons of slate waste deposited in the foreground
and on the mountain. If you look closely at the bigger picture
you will see further entrances as the slate is being "worked"
from the heart of the mountain.
Glyn Davies the General Foreman was explaining to me what was
what at the mine, out of its 'burrow' popped this working "rabbit".
The little engine had taken its driver into the mine just after
dawn to complete track maintenance, it was now midday. It had
been a long way in and a darn long way back out.
I began my journey back to Corris after lunch, I stopped at the
company's headquarters and photographed the slate cutting and
dressing shed. Even this late on a Saturday, I could hear the
sound of hammer striking chisel as
the slate was being "dressed"
Glyn Davies up at the mine I say Diolch
yn Fawr for
having the courtesy to explain to me what was what on that Saturday
morning that I visited. To the rest of you at Aberllefenni, until
we meet again, for we are sure too,
Hwyl (cheers) from Ole R.D.
have provided a link HERE
to the company's own website for it has
technical information and other photographs.