Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Parys Mountain

The overwhelming vision is one of colour. One has the impression of strolling through a paint box - the sort with 'pans' or cakes of solid paint. In reality a huge, industrial scar inflicted on the landscape - but one of considerable beauty!

Rust red from the iron,vivid green, from copper and lots of heathery hues - many in the rocks of the spoil heaps, but also from the heather attempting to cover the slopes. We have lead mines near us and, due to the toxicity of the lead, the spoil heaps are completely barren. It was noticeable that there was little beside heather and a few brambles here. None of the usual tough moorland grass, but the heather was doing quite well. Above this colour a pale blue, cloudless autumn sky. I'm sure the photos won't do it justice!

The site of a large copper mine, since the Bronze Age, and also iron and lead, I believe. Having seen the prehistoric copper mines on the Great Orme, I was expecting something similar. In the sense that there is a very large hole - more in keeping with a quarry than a mine, it does have similarities. The Llandudno site has underground workings radiating from the main 'hole' and so, I think, does the Parys mountain site. There are many signs warning of unmarked mine shafts - perhaps not a walking area for young children or dogs!

A helpful information sign told us that we were correct in our impression of 'paint'. Material from the workings had been pumped, with water, into large settling 'tanks', or pools, The sludge scooped from the bottom, when the pools were drained, was used for paint pigment. I felt slightly uneasy about the possible destination of the water which was drained away, and presumably a potential source of pollution.

On the way back to the car park - on the site of newer workings just over the road, a sight which was so familiar to me in childhood and now gone - pit-head winding gear. I grew up in, and have returned to, an area with its industrial roots in coal and steel - now gone! Also now gone the tanneries, breweries and paper mills that once followed the course of our local river.


This is my latest Folksy item, and something new for me. The design will look familiar to those of you who know my shop. However, this time it decorates a barrette. 

1 comment:

  1. Agreed, even though it is a scar on the landscape, it is a thing of beauty. I expect there will be many small creatures in there who find it a "home from home" and many families who were grateful for the work when it was available.