Boot Hill, Crimea Pass

‘Boot Hill’ – a brown mound of the rusting remains of old boots


22 September 2012

Crimea Pass, Blaenau Ffestinog

SH 69911 48476; 53.01771°N, 3.94072°W


The Crimea Pass on the A470 is a mountain pass between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Dolwyddelan and is over 1,200 ft above sea level. The road through the pass was opened in 1854 and it takes its name from the Crimean War (1853 – 1856) being waged at the time. Stone walls in the area are said to have been constructed by Russian prisoners of war from the conflict. There used to an inn at the top of the pass known as ‘The Crimea’.

At the side of the road about two miles north of Blaenau Ffestiniog lies a sterile, brown hummock of a somewhat surreal composition: rusting nails, lace-hole eyelets and heel irons from old boots.

There seem to be various accounts as to the origins of this strange mound. Miners’ boots? The results of disaffected World War I Commonwealth troops waiting to be shipped home burning their boots and caps in protest? According to Treasure Maps, the mound dates back to the World War II era, when Blaenau Ffestiniog’s Market Hall was commandeered as a boot repair factory.

Boot Hill (Treasure Maps)

Boot Hill, in the Crimea Pass on the A470 about 2 miles north of Blaenau Ffestiniog

A mass of heel irons, eyelets and nails

Boot Hill

10 thoughts on “Boot Hill, Crimea Pass

  1. Thanks very much for the link, Graham. I was rather releived when Llechwedd carefully left the mound alone when they were building the uphaul road for the bike trails, although it does rather spoil the solitude of the place. Did you have a gander at the trial adit above?
    Lovely photographs and a haunting location, despite the traffic.


  2. Some 20-25 years ago,I think it was, a small headstone appeared on the mound with the inscription “Esgidiau Marw” which translates as Dead Boots.The stone has not been in evidence for some years now.
    The story I heard was that in WW2 there was an equipment store in Blaenau Ffestiniog and at the end of the war the quartermaster asked what he should do with his stores of boots,rucksacks,webbing etc and was told to burn them,which he did at the top of the Crimea.


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