Thursday, 19 November 2009

Slate Quarries above Llyn Peris

On Sunday morning we had a gentle stroll through the disused slate quarries above Llyn Peris to The Rucksack Club hut at Beudy Mawr. The low grey clouds restricted the views, ensured rain showers were never far away but did nothing to spoil our stroll. This is the first time we have seen the quarries close and the scale is simply overwhelming – looking at them on a map or across the valley gives no real feel for the size of the place. Some of the inclines running from the top of the quarry are a mile or more long and now provide an excellent training ground for fell runners.

click to enlargeLlyn Peris with the quarries beyond

click to enlarge Towards Nant Peris

The first of the two above was taken much later in the day when the rain clouds had blown away – in order to provide us with sunshine for the drive home and not for the first time.

Goats above Llyn Peris

Approaching the top of one of the inclines we reached a small group of goats, 5 in total, who looked at us long and hard before standing up and wandering off very slowly, almost contemptuously, secure in the knowledge that, even had we wanted to, we would be unable to follow them for any distance over the steep slopes of spoil.

Llanberis (3 of 6)

In the heart of the quarries there are any number of ruined buildings, many standing alone on the skyline decrepit and forlorn. On a day like last Sunday morning there is so little colour on the ground and in the sky that everything is just shades of grey or very dark blue. Apart from a little greenery by the side of the tracks this is an alien landscape in a monochrome world and while sunshine would have been pleasant the grey overcast sky is much more in character.

Llanberis (4 of 6)

Inevitably the hillsides are awash and in many places the water can be heard but not seen as it rushes down hill underneath the piles of slate waste. This sound of crashing, roaring but invisible water adds to the eeriness of the quarries and reinforces the idea that we are just visitors and not part of this particular landscape.

Beyond the piles of slate and out of the quarries the landscape is more familiar – steep, wet ,slippery paths punctuated with lichen covered boulders ready to trip or topple the unwary pedestrian.

The becks are “full to bursting” with local flooding seemingly unavoidable as the ground must be close to saturation.

Llanberis (6 of 6)

Trees on the west banks of Llyn Peris opposite Dinorwig Power Station appear to see the sun only rarely and are covered in moss with, in some places, ferns growing out of the moss.

High above the water but well below the road these trees seem to be engaged in a difficult struggle just to survive in the permanent shade. At this time of year having shed all their leaves the branches look more like three dimensional sculptures than living plants.

Not quite as alien as the landscape of the quarries but nevertheless not entirely natural; Llyn Peris is subject to unnatural changes in water levels dictated by the immediate demand for electricity because it is the lower of the two reservoirs used by Dinorwig power station.

Beyond the trees the road turns west dropping into Llanberis and away from strange area below Elider Fawr.

1 comment:

  1. Great images again. Very interesting contrats between the countryside and the slate. Keep them coming :)