Mines & Quarries

Longannet Colliery

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:

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Dinorwic Slate Quarry

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:

Dinorwic-1 From across the valley (by Ben Cooper)

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