Dinorwig Quarry Walk header images with 6 different scenic views from the walk.

As part of the recent meeting at the Amgueddfa Lechi in Llanberis, there was a walking tour from Dinorwig Quarry back down to the musuem at Llanberis. I’m ashamed to say I had never done the walk before but I am so glad I did the walk.

Dinorwig Quarry

The walk starts up at the Dinorwig layby. From there you walk along the road towards the Blue Peris Mountain Centre. The road ends after a row of houses (pictured) and leads on to a footpath. It’s a rocky, muddy and slippery path but wow it’s worth it for the views! On a clear down you can see the top of Snowdon. I wasn’t as lucky – Snowdon was wearing it’s snowy cap and foggy beard unfortunately.

Anglesey Barracks

The ruins of Anglesey Barracks at Dinorwig Quarry. Two rows of quarrymen houses made of slate.

A but further down the path you arrive at the old Anglesey Barracks. The barracks consists of two rows of 11 houses. Each house consists of two rooms – a kitchen/dining area and a sleeping area. Of course they are now ruins but the room sizes can still be seen. Look at the size of those slate lintels in the fireplace. Amazing!!

One of the rooms in the ruins of the Anglesey Barracks.

On the walk we were lucky enough to have Dr Dafydd Roberts (of the National Slate Museum) guide us. He gave us a fascinating insight into the history of the barracks. The natural question is, why are they called Anglesey Barracks? Well as Dr Roberts explained, workers travelled in from all over and these specific barracks housed the workers who came from Anglesey. Some of them even etched their names in the slate walls…

A name etched into the slate at Anglesey Barracks

Another fascinating fact that Dr Roberts told us about is that after the closure of the slate mines the barracks fell into disrepair. Some of them were re-roofed by Cadw approx 25 years go but were then used as a setting for raves and the slate roofing was stolen.

Ruins of the Anglesey Barracks

Just on the opposite side of the Anglesey Barracks is the old quarry level and workshop ruins. We didn’t go that way but me and a few others went to have a little nosey at the old incline.

The old incline at Dinowrig Quarry - looking up and looking down towards Dolbadarn Castle

Brake House

After re-joining the rest of the group, we walked down the path back towards the museum. On the way we passed the ruins of the old brake house, the old tracks that the slate carts used to travel along. Also the old drum still with the steel cable.

Old drum and cable at the old Dinorwig Quarry

Further on from there we walked down the zig zag track through the old slate slag heaps. There are some absolutely stunning photos to be had. One of my absolute favourite photos from the day are these ones:

The view of Peris Lake with slate in the foreground

The view of Padarn Lake from the Dinorwig Quarry walk with slate slag heaps in the foreground

The view of Llyn Peris with Snowdon in the background

My photos really don’t do the view justice. It is absolutely stunning! As you can see, the weather wasn’t great so just imagine what this view would look like in Summer! And of course, no trip is ever complete without a selfie! It was really gusty up there but thankfully my hat stayed on!

A selfie in front of Snowdon

Have you ever been on this walk?

Taking in the sights on the Dinorwig Quarry Walk, Snowdonia, North Wales

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Six different scenes from the Welsh Slate Industry

On February 1st, I attended a meeting at the Amgueddfa Lechi (Slate Museum) in Llanberis to discuss making the Welsh Slate industry a World Heritage Site. The bid is being put forward by Gwynedd Council and has been in progress since 2010. They’re only now bringing the details out to public and it’s time to generate some interest. So with that in mind, let me tell you more…

What is a World Heritage Site?

A World Heritage Site is a UNESCO protected site. It is awarded to those sites that UNESCO believe to be of historical or cultural importance to mankind. A site might have been important during a war, a revolution, or simply because of it’s stunning natural landscape. Examples of such places are the Tak Mahal, Great Wall of China, and the Pyramids.

Why should the Welsh Slate Industry be a WHS?

The ruins of Anglesey Barracks at Dinorwig Quarry. Two rows of quarrymen houses made of slate.

Welsh Slate Industry has played a massive part of the history here in Snowdonia. In the mid 19th century, the slate industry here in Wales was the world greatest exporter of slate. According to records from 1882, Welsh slate was exported as far as the West Indies, Argentina, South Africa and Australia.

It wasn’t just the slate that was exported worldwide. Technological advances were exported. Many of the engineering accomplishments influenced other feats for example the Darjeeling Railway is based very closely on the Ffestiniog Railway. Further evidence of this is that when the Welsh Highland line was reopened, trains were imported from South Africa I believe. (Although don’t quote me on that as I might be wrong).

Some other interesting facts:

  • by the end of the 19th century, output from the Gwynedd slate mines was enough to roof around 14m terraced houses
  • workers from North Wales travelled worldwide to open slate quarries as we were considered experts in mining.

What is the benefits of making the Welsh Slate Industry a WHS?

According to the studies made by Gwynedd Council and the partners of this bid, there will be significant benefits for the local area as a result of this bid. I’ll break them down into the three areas:

  • Economic Benefits
    No doubt there will be economic benefits from this WHS bid. The area is very much dependant on tourism be it those who like walking (plenty of mountains Gandalf) or thrill seekers (zipwires, potholing, underground trampolines). There’s already a WHS here in North Wales – Edward’s Castles here in Gwynedd has been included on the WHS list. So to have two WHS here in North Wales can only be good.It is estimated that tourism will boost and Gwynedd Council estimate that monies in from tourism will increase from £515m to £850m over the next 15 years.
  • Social Benefits
    The boost in tourism will lead to increased jobs in the area. It is estimated that the number of jobs linked to the industry will almost double in the next 15 years. Increased jobs means less unemployment, less poverty and so increase in social wellbeing. The Blaenavon area was recognised as a WHS and the whole town benefited.
  • Cultural Benefits
    Statistics provided by Gwynedd Council state that 70% of the population of the slate valleys here in Gwynedd speak Welsh. The Welsh slate industry has been an integral part in the development and strengthening of the Welsh language. It is hoped that by protecting the heritage of the slate industry, the Welsh language will also be protected.In addition, by promoting and celebrating the Welsh slate industry, it will re-connect people communities with heritage and conserve the culture.

What areas will be covered in the WHS bid?

Moody grey photo of The Deep Mine entrance at Llechwedd Slate Caverns, Blaenau Ffestiniog

There are seven areas in Gwynedd which have been earmarked for this bid. These areas represent the technology, organisation, social and environmental impacts of the Welsh slate industry on the North Wales landscape. Those seven areas are:

  1. Ogwen Valley
  2. Dinorwic
  3. Nantlle
  4. Cwmystradllyn and Cwm Pennant
  5. Blaenau Ffestiniog, Y Dwyryd and the Ffestiniog Railway
  6. Bryneglwys, Abergynolwyn and Talyllyn Railway
  7. Aberllefenni

Timescale of the Bid

As mentioned, this has been in progress since 2010 and is now being discussed in the public domain. Full nomination will be put in front of the DCMS in September 2018, presentation of the nomination to UNESCO in January 2019 with a decision being made by UNESCO in July 2020.

Now’s the time to generate the buzz and get people excited by the bid. Raise awareness, and make everyone proud of the industry and the landscape it’s created. I can’t tell you how excited I am by this. Sitting in that meeting I could feel my heart burst with pride. I find this project to be really exciting and I hope that I can share my excitement with you.

Are you excited by this? Have you ever visited the old slate mines in Snowdonia?

(I would like to thank Gwynedd Council for the holding this meeting and for putting forward this proposal. Also, thank you to Llechi Cymru and Welsh Slate Ltd for providing the information used in this post. If you find anything incorrect please get in touch!)


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Hosting The Perfect Party

Being in charge of organising a party can be great fun especially if you’ve got a good list of friends and family coming along. Whether the event is in aid of a promotion at work, your anniversary, or a milestone birthday, you want it to look just right and for the event to go smoothly so both you and your guests can enjoy themselves.

Hosting a party needn’t be stressful as long as you prepare the food and drinks beforehand and sort out what you’re wearing and know what time people are arriving so to ensure that all elements of the party synchronise together. You’ve probably got an idea of exactly how you want the venue to look, and you’re excited to get the festivities underway, so take heed of these useful tips for organising a party and see if you can pull off the perfect soiree you had in mind.

Keep To The List

If your party is at your home, then before dashing out to the supermarket and picking up the items you need, or least what you think you need, make a list of the necessities and stick to the list. Your party will soon rack up heady costs if you veer from the list, resultantly overbuying items that will, for the next two years, take their place on the bottom shelf of the kitchen cupboard. The price offers might look tempting, but remember to ask yourself whether you need the items you’re hurriedly sweeping into your basket.

Organise Food And Drink Nice And Early

Happy Birthday Miss Mostyn

Certain foods can be bought in advance; if your party has been a long time in planning, then you’ve likely already sourced the alcohol and a few party pieces, such as crisps and cheeses. If your party is an outside summer affair, perhaps even a late afternoon picnic, then getting the food and drink assembled may be a little more challenging especially if you have to travel with it. In this case look into getting a readymade luxury hamper that you can bring along and set up, and add extras alongside it like bread and wine.

Know How Many Guests You Have

You don’t want to underfeed your guests, of course, but there’s no need to waste food in the process. You could wait until the morning of the party to get some of the last bits and pieces once you know an exact number of who can make it and if any of your guests have had to cancel. Shop according to how many of your guests have said they’re attending, this seems like an obvious point to make, but you’d be astonished at how much food can be wasted at a party, especially if you’re providing filling drinks like fizzy prosecco, beer and cider.

Setting The Scene

Make sure you’ve taken into account the weather and temperatures, and have a backup plan just in case of adverse weather conditions. If you’re planning to have your party outside then ensure that you have a small gazebo, in case the clouds threaten your fun with rain*. If you’re lounging outside sipping champagne on the lawn in the height of summer, then you’ll want to relax in the knowledge that you can keep the drinks cool, so entertain the idea of getting a freestanding cool bag.

* in the UK this is a very real possibility even in the height of summer. As we found out when we hired a hot tub for a weekend party in July. It rained on party day! But it was all good as we had a gazebo brolly to cover those brave enough to go into the tub!

Do you have any other tips on how hosting the perfect party?

Hosting The Perfect Party

(This is a collaborative post)


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