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Trip to Cambrian Slate Mine -- 4th May 2013

Group: Paul, Mary, Dave

Paul & Mary spotted the entrance to the mine on a walk a few weeks ago when there was a fair volume of water flowing out of the drainage pipe. Since then the weather had improved and so a trip was arranged and we headed up the access road and parked in the clearing. The weather was dry and brightening up as we made our way to drain pipe and then climbed inside. After about 30' the pipe ended in a fair sized passage which carried on for a few hundred yards before splitting into two. The RHS passage led to an open area in the quarry and a continuation of the passage. The LHS passage carried on parallel to the LHS one and joined up with it after the open section.

Carrying on along the passage led to a side chamber on the right which had a concrete dam and a large open gate valve which allowed a trickle of water to pass. The passage then split and eventually led to a set of large chambers characteristic of slate mines. The first one had some machinery mounts and an interesting earthenware pipe which seemed to be some kind of air duct. Various holes allowed daylight to penetrate and one passage lead to the surface quarry with a huge compressed air tank.

Back on the main level further parallel chambers were found. The lower sections were flooded to unknown depths and the upper section of one of them lead to a passage, heading right the passage eventually led to an open quarry overgrown with vegetation and containing a waterfall. Under the waterfall was a low passage which opened out and gave access to more chambers. One contained some peculiar metal frames and a stone hut towards the back. We headed back out, passing what looked like some kind of ratchet mechanism in the passage ceiling and re-entered the first part of the mine. A bit more wandering about showed the remains of an old winch tripped over in a flooded section and a dive line heading into the depths.

We headed back out through the entrance pipe, changed and went to the pub in Chirk for a well deserved pint.
Total trip time about 2 hours