Cathedral Quarries is a set of disused inter-linked quarries for green slate. The quarry site features various chambers and tunnels which are now managed by the National Trust; they are open to the public.
On the day we visited it was raining heavily and descending into the valley the first obstacle we encountered was road leading to the ford across the river.
It was totally flooded at the bottom of valley, probably about a foot deep, maybe more in parts. Fortunately we could use the raised path at the side.
Now we had to get across the river which was definitely swollen. There’s a good wooden bridge but you can see how high the river is, now wonder the road is flooded.
The quarry’s main attraction, ‘The Cathedral’, is a 40-foot (12 m) high main chamber lit by two windows.
Conditions inside the cave were not great for photography. Running water, we had to wade along a tunnel to get in “The Cathedral”. It wasn’t deep, couple of inches maybe, The rain was pouring in through the window and water was dripping off the roof. The Pentax K-30 is weather-proof, but not the Sigma Wide Angle lens I had fitted. As a lot of my photography is on beaches and in Snowdonia I carry a waterproof cover just in case.
The cave roof is supported by a huge rock pillar. Where I’m standing to take this photograph is directly underneath the window you can see in the 3rd photograph.
You can get a better idea of the size of the pillar and the cave as a whole when you compare it to the person in this photograph above.
After the others had left I stayed behind to take some more photographs of the pillar. I’ve mentioned before about some of my golden rules, one of which is don’t put yourself in harm’s way just for a photograph. It’s not worth it. But, although I was alone, in an area I’ve never visited before I felt reasonably safe.
After I finished in the cave I decided to walk up the hill a little to have a look at the small stone building I could see..
At last the rain had stopped and I was able to get just a hint of a blue sky.
All along the hillside I was standing on there were spoil heaps from the mine forming large banks where silver birch and larch now grow.
So there you have it, a terrible start to the day and not ideal conditions for photography but by sticking it out I was able to get some decent photographs in the end.
What about you? Would you have ventured out in conditions like this?