Dorothea was a large slate quarry, with the slate mined in huge pits due to the direction of the seams, so it’s now a popular destination for divers – there’s still a lot to see on the surface, however.
Corrie and Sannox are two villages next to each other on the Northeast coast of the island – the mines aren’t linked, though. The first one I explored was the limestone mine above Corrie. The mine follows a seam down at about 45 degrees, with several entrances. Continue reading
Lochaline is a pretty wee village in, basically, the middle of nowhere – when you need to take a ferry and drive down 20 miles of singletrack to get somewhere, it’s very un-urban exploring!
In the hills North of Loch Lomond, at the end of a quiet glen, this mine closed down in 1995 after producing not much gold – permission has just been granted for the mine to reopen. This was visit from a couple of years ago which for some reason I forgot to put on the website.
This was a trip organised on Adit Now – many thanks to Simon for being such a good guide. This mine is very securely gated – it’s not possible to get in unescorted.
Tucked away in the North Wales hills, this mine was never very successful – after about 15 years of preparatory work, it only actually produced for about 6 years at the end of the 19th Century. What’s worth seeing is the power source – a giant waterwheel was used for both pumping and lifting up the deep vertical shaft.
Back for a better look at this place – first impressions were right, it’s absolutely enormous inside, and it’s a maze too. There have also been quite a few recent rockfalls – we spent the whole time talking in whispers and keeping an eye on the ceiling.
Longannet Colliery employed 366 miners and 150 support staff near Kincardine, Fife, mining low-sulphur coal for the neighbouring Longannet Power Station; the power station uses up to 10,000 tonnes of coal per day.
Longannet was the last deep coal mine in Scotland, and because of it’s large reserves it had a bright future, until March 2002 when millions of gallons of water suddenly cascaded into the mine. Luckily no-one lost their lives, but the mine’s fate was sealed. Various campaigns have suggested reopening the mine, but the costs of pumping out the water and making the mine safe and profitable have been put at up to £100M, so instead the shaft was filled in and the surface buildings mostly demolished – by the time of my visit, only a couple of surface buildings remain, but they have quite a bit of interesting stuff.
A map of some of the workings:
This is all my girlfriend’s fault – it’s a quarry, it’s a big pile of rock, how interesting can it be? She convinced me otherwise, though – quarries can definitely be as interesting as buildings 😉
Dinorwic (or Dinorwig) was, around the turn of the century (the 19th, not this one), the second-largest slate quarry in the world, second only to Penrhyn over the hill. Slate quarrying started on the side of a hill called Elidir in about 1780, and at it’s peak the quarry employed over 3000 men, before finally closing in 1969.
The former quarry workshops have now been converted into the National Slate Museum, and there is a public path through the centre of the quarry, but the quarry now belongs to First Hydro, who operate the hydroelectric power station that was constructed under the mountain.
This is an overall view from across the valley: