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[Me]

Touring Britain bit by bit with a pair of boots, a few bicycles, a lot of trains and a bag of lenses. I take pictures and then I write about them.

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Page: 1

Sun, 30 Sep 2012

At Abereiddy

Abereiddy

Walking south along the coast path of St David's Head in the Pembrokeshire National Park, amongst the bays and headlands of rugged and ragged cliffs and worn-down volcanic hills, one lesser, lower, headland stands out for its clearly man-made feature.

Abereiddy

The squat little tower of Abereiddy, standing on a headland that is barely still there, more hole than headland, where the Blue Lagoon has been carved out as part of the long lost local slate mining industry.

Abereiddy

Standing sentinel over the little bay and beach, and the little street of houses behind.

More photos in the Pembrokeshire gallery

View Larger Map Ordnance Survey Map


[Tag] Tags: coastal, industrial, pembrokeshire, quarries, rural, uk, wales


Sun, 8 Jul 2012

In Credit Crunch Caernarfon

Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon has been a town of political and economic importance. Positioned on the fertile and mineral rich territory at a small natural harbour at the mouth of the Afon Seiont north of Snowdonia, standing guard over the Menai Strait opposite the Isle of Anglesey, the Celts settled here, later to be ruled over by the Romans from their Caernarfon fort. When the Romans left, the Kingdom of Gwynedd emerged in North Wales, until, after centuries of Norman and Plantagenet coveting and encroachment, Edward I took Wales and filled it with his castles to impose his control. Caernarfon was chosen for one of the most substantial fortifications, with an extremely expensive new walled town and garrison built to administer the new English-style shire county of Caernarfonshire. The Royal Town's historical status is reflected in its hosting the investiture ceremonies for Princes of Wales.

no parking

Caernarfon

But Princes of Wales aren't made all that often. The harbour is tiny and shallow by today's standards. The Menai Strait needs no guard. The garrison has been empty for centuries. The railway came and went already, and the modern road is more curse than asset. And so with the latest recession it has been looking a bit sad.

creepy house

Not the terminal feel that I get from its neighbour up the coast, Llandudno, I don't think. The castle and walls stand as strong as ever; the market square and sea front, when not given up to long rows of static automobiles, can still be nice places; and the Welsh Highland tourist railway has reached the town. There was evidence of care when I last walked around, a year ago. Down but not out, perhaps.

Caernarfon

Caernarfon

Caernarfon

Caernarfon

Caernarfon

Caernarfon

View Larger Map


[Tag] Tags: caernarfon, castles, gwynedd, history, recession, uk, urban decay, wales


Sun, 20 May 2012

On Snowdon

Snowdon

Some shots from Britain's busiest mountain, and the highest in Wales, mostly from an ascent in June 2009.

sheep!

Snowdon

It's not just that Snowdon is busy with tourists hiking on the several ascent paths. Far more visibly than many of Britain's highlands, it's a very developed and exploited landscape — and not just in terms of the mountain having a railway all the way to the top, where you can take in the view from inside a coffee shop.

Snowdon

The mountainsides around here are strewn with the ruins and remains of industrial workings: quarries and mines, and the railways that took the region's rocks away.

Snowdon

Snowdon

If indeed the mountainsides even still exist: across the Llanberis Pass, the view of Snowdon's neighbour Elidir Fawr is dominated by the 700 acre Dinorwic quarry, closed since 1969 but still an open wound.

Snowdon

Not necessarily a bad thing. From this distance in time, much of the industry and development adds interest to the landscape. And I don't suppose Welsh would have wanted to preserve their Highlands if the only method on offer was that by which the Scottish Highlands escaped development.

Snowdon

Quarry buildings

Snowdon

Snowdon

Snowdon

Llyn Padarn and the Snowdon massif

Llanberis Pass

Snowdon

stone


View LargerOrdanance Survey Map


[Tag] Tags: industrial, mountains, railways, rural, snowdon, snowdonia, uk, wales


Sat, 11 Feb 2012

Cwmorthin

The Barracks

Cwmorthin is one of the many huge disused slate quarries and mines around Blaenau Ffestiniog in Snowdonia, a mile walk up into the Moelwyn Mountains from the town and station.

Cwmorthin

Cwmorthin

Most of the workings are underground, in the many miles of mine tunnels that climb and descend inside the mountain, some of them still open to cavers, others now damaged by the attempts to use explosives to aid the extraction of slate in the quarry's final working years in the 1990s.

Quarry

But there's still lots to see above ground, around the portals beside the lake, Llyn Cwmorthin.

Cwmorthin

Cwmorthin

In addition to the huge spoil heaps, which send tentacles reaching out into the lake, the quarrymaster's house is intact, but boarded up and getting scruffy. But the quarrymen's barracks, whose residents had a life expectancy of 44 years, have been in ruins for several decades.

Cwmorthin

These photos were all taken early one May morning. There's a lot more industrial archaeology in the Cwmorthin valley that I didn't get to see that time I must go back.

View Larger Map Ordnance Survey Map


[Tag] Tags: abandoned places and things, blaenau ffestiniog, cwmorthin, history, industrial archaeology, industrial, moelwyn mountains, mountains, north wales, quarries, ruins, rural decay, rural, snowdonia, uk, wales


Sun, 13 Jun 2010

Location: Moel-y-gest

There's a hill at Portmadog behind the Black Rock Sands, a moel, Moel-y-gest.

Black Rock Sands

A 200 metre grey and green granite lump.

Moel-y-gest

Paths weave through the lower slopes, past the grazing sheep and dairy cows.

Moel-y-gest

Converging, often merging into the heather and bracken, meandering through the rocky plug of the peak.

Moel-y-gest

Where you can finally stop for a rest on the iron age fort, above the estuary of the Afon Glaslyn.

Moel-y-gest

Look back.

Black Rock Sands

Peer down on Tremadog.

Tremadog

As the sun dips behind the true mountains of Snowdonia.

mountain!

And the evening clouds roll over the rippling ridge of Lleyn Peninsula and disperse out over the Irish Sea.

Lleyn

And the long summer grass shivers in the dying light.


[Tag] Tags: moel-y-gest, mountains, portmadog, rural, snowdonia, uk, wales


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