With storm Callum rolling over Wales this weekend, any chance getting the boats in the water for a sea dive was out of the window – not that anyone wants to dive at the moment with the current vis(ibility) shortage. Having pencilled in a Capernwray dive for Sunday, something a little more exciting was in need for the Saturday.
Originally I had planned to park up at Llyn Ogwen and hike to Llyn Idwal and Llyn Bochlwyd. Having dived Llynnau Cwm Silyn the previous weekend, I’d determined that a 2Km walk with dive gear was certainly doable, if a little tiring. Making two trips definitely helped! Both Llyn Idwal and Llyn Bochlwyd are a shorter walk according to the maps, but having never been to either, I wanted to determine how easy they would actually be to reach.
After leaving the house around half 9 and picking up a sandwich for the trip, I started the drive towards Llyn Ogwen. On the way down the weather wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be but the view of the sea from the A55 was rather grim – brown, choppy waters. The roads were quiet but according to the road signs the A5 would be closed west of Capel Curig. Not much note was taken of the signs at the time and thus, after passing Penrhyn Quarry I reached the road closure. “DOH!”. Well… might as well check out Penrhyn while I’m here, I thought to myself. Unsurprisingly, the place was dead but I got a couple of photos of the quarry.
With Ogwen potentially out of the question I decided to check out Glanrafon Slate Quarry, a quarry I’d come across looking over google maps, instead. On the way I passed alongside Llyn Cwellyn which was so full, it was almost spilling out onto the road! At this point the rain and wind had started to pick up a little bit. I parked opposite the Cwellyn Arms – with post-walk beer in mind.
The trail up towards the quarry started of great, really well kept and easy to follow. That all ended after crossing the Ffestiniog Railway. The route immediately turned into mud and waterlogged marshy grass. The rain was coming down hard and the wind was driving but I cracked on, quarry bound. Finally I got to the base of some of the huge piles of slate and began to climb. I also passed a small but deep hole in the ground (no, not the quarry) but didn’t see anything of interest in the bottom. It was steep walled with no way out so I didn’t want to peer too far over the edge, especially considering the wet grass and powerful gusts of wind. I wanted to get a better view into the actual quarry so I continued up towards its edge.
What a view! The quarry was huge, deep and incredibly ominous! With the rain and wind battering me, the quarry seemed even more threatening. I knew diving would be out of the question for this quarry anyway but seeing it in person really brought home the difficulties that would be involved in getting to water. I couldn’t help but fantasise a little of some grand operation to get divers into the water, involving winches, scaffolding and floating platforms – maybe even a helicopter to lift people out.
I carried on walking around the cliffs edge, being careful not to spook the sheep who’s poo I’d been avoiding along the trail – They didn’t seem to care that they were grazing a few feet from a hundred or so meter drop and I wouldn’t have been surprised if they’d just jump right off if approached. From further around I could get a better view down into the water and came across a small tunnel. It seemed to be some sort of access tunnel and I could see light on the other side (I also had a torch with me) so I had a quick look. It opened out to a small ledge with no way down and the opening to another tunnel which seemed to have completely collapsed and was gushing out water.