Cwm Eigiau Quarry

Ruined barracks, with Craig yr Ysfa in the background


25 February 2012

Cwm Eigiau, Carneddau

SH 70133 63594; 53.15358°N, 3.94353°W


The tramway linking the nearby Cedryn Quarry to the river Conwy at Dolgarrog was extended to Cwm Eigiau Quarry in about 1863. From 1874 to 1885 the quarry was operated by the Caedryn and Cwm Eigiau Slate Company, which since 1863 had been the Caedryn Slate Quarry Company. The venture was ultimately unsuccessful owing to the poor quality of the slate.

The slate mill was powered by waterwheel and the remains of a wall carrying water to the wheel and of the wheel pit can still be seen.

Some of the quarrymen would have lodged in the barracks at the quarry complex; others would have walked to work from Bethesda – a hike of at least six miles up and over a 900-metre-high col in the Carneddau mountains.

Rock Cannon — history and method of operation; Other rock-cannon posts

Thomas Hughes track - this portable system allowed track to be relocated in a quarry as the working faces advanced. Round iron-bar rails with 90-degree angled ends fitted into holes in the ends of cast-iron sleepers and intermediate sleepers supported the rails in between.

Thomas Hughes track

18-hole rock cannon, looking towards the barracks and Craig yr Ysfa

Rock Cannon - a traditional pyrotechnic device fired to mark special occasions and celebrations

Barracks and Craig yr Ysfa

Water-causeway wall which would have led water to a waterwheel powering the mill

Launder pillar and remains of the wheel pit

Solitary rowan tree and ruins of the slate-processing and loading house next to the river Afon Eigiau

13 thoughts on “Cwm Eigiau Quarry

  1. I am so grateful you go and get these images for us. The notion of a barracks built entirely of slate is as astonishing as it is difficult to fathom–the sheer labour of it all, and the cold comfort it would have provided. My god.


  2. These are superb photographs. We’re definitely going to be having a look at this place! Very fine to find some Hughes Bar rail as well, and a rock cannon! You must have been well pleased. Your compositions are particularly felicitous especially with the rock cannon looking towards Craig yr Yysfa.


  3. Pingback: Cedryn Quarry « GeoTopoi

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