North Wales Weekend July 2022

Two extensive slate mines in Blaenau Ffestiniog were explored, including some very off the beaten track sections, some sporting traverses and SRT. Two evenings of crag climbing in the sun where also enjoyed.

The weekend of adventure started on Friday evening with the early arrivals heading to the local crags for a spot of climbing in the sun before dinner. Saturday’s trip was a magical mystery tour of the Cwmorthin/Oakeley slate mine expertly navigated by Matt C. This included plenty of vast chambers, historical artefacts, srt pitches, traverses, an ex-showmine and a round trip that probably hadn’t been attempted by anyone else in 10 years! Sunday’s trip was to Maenofferen Slate Mine another interesting and extensive mine complex with quite a lot of machinery still in-situ, and much fun was had with the trucks on rails. More climbing was then enjoyed by some of the team staying on an extra night.

See CSS newsletter Vol. 64, Nos. 7-9 for reports from the Cwmorthin/Oakeley and Maenofferen trips.

  • Climbing on Friday evening

  • Climbing fun on Friday

  • Climbing on Friday

  • Cwmorthin entrance

  • One of the many traverses in Cwmorthin

  • Rigging the big pitch

  • At the pitch head

  • Descending the big pitch

  • The next pitch

  • A perfectly normal pose on a pitch head

  • The second pitch

  • Some of the newspaper segments left by the miners

  • Crane for lifting slate onto wagons

  • Hand-cranked winch, still in working condition

  • Abseiling down a stope

  • Collection of artefacts

  • Traverse on an old bit of pipe

  • Pipe traverse

  • Heading to Maenofferen entrance

  • Chamber of old machinery in Maenofferen

  • Linking mine trucks together

  • Pushing trucks along the rail tracks

  • A giant wall of deads

  • Traverse alongside flooded levels

  • Lilac formations!

  • Lead climbing a multi-pitch route on Sunday evening

  • More climbing on Sunday evening

  • Sunday climbing

Photos by Matt Voysey

Cwmorthin Mine plans and information

Supplied by Pred Hughes - click to open in full size

© Chelsea Spelaeological Society