With the tips and ruined buildings of derelict quarries visible in most directions from our cottage at Rhyd Ddu, it seemed almost rude not to go and explore some of them. One of the largest, on the flanks of Snowdon to the north, is the former Glan-yr-Afon slate quarry which was at one time rail served by the North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways (predecessor of the original WHR) and one of the main reasons the railway was built to Rhyd Ddu in the first place. A public footpath runs to, and through, the waste tips and less than an hour’s scramble up a somewhat boggy hillside got me right into the piles of discarded slate.
From the top, the views back to the village and also down the valley looking over Llyn Cwellyn are spectacular, although I’m not sure they would compensate for the hard work in the quarry when it was active. Nestled between two of the massive tips was a collection of tumbledown buildings which seemed worth closer inspection.
The two parts of the tip had clearly at one time been joined by a bridge over the main incline, sadly long gone. There wasn’t really any evidence of a former tramway rails on the tips but as there was a connection with the railway some internal lines must have been used.
The quarry buildings were little more than ramshackles walls and a few fireplaces, but the trees growing from within did give a few nice angles for photography. I couldn’t spend as long as I would have liked in the ruins but at least they won’t be going anywhere in a hurry and could be explored at more leisure “next time”.
By this time I was at risk of running late for lunch, so rather than head back the hard way I decided to continue down the valley a short way to Snowdon Ranger and get the next train back. Aside from the well-built wooden shelter this is very much a bare-bones request halt, but I suppose not bad provision for a youth hostel, a couple of holiday homes and a hillside of sheep. The slate roof visible beyond the platform is actually the original NWNGR station building, now converted to a small cottage.