Cathedral Quarries Cave


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.

Cathedral quarry

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.

Cathedral quarry

The quarry’s main attraction, ‘The Cathedral’, is a 40-foot (12 m) high main chamber lit by two windows.

Cathedral Quarry

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.

Cathedral quarry

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.

Cathedral quarry

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.

Cathedral quarry

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.

Cathedral quarry

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..

Cathedral quarry

At last the rain had stopped and I was able to get just a hint of a blue sky.

Cathedral quarry

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?

 

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20 thoughts on “Cathedral Quarries Cave

  1. petspeopleandlife April 26, 2013 / 23:59

    Marvelous pictures. I really like the first, the third, and especially like the photo of the stone building, Absolutely gorgeous. I would have ventured out if I were part of a group. But I am a real chicken and would not have gone inside the cave which has one pillar supporting the roof. Needless to say I have never flown and I never will. I like my feet on the ground or as close as I can get to the good earth. 🙂

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    • Mike Hardisty April 27, 2013 / 08:34

      I wouldn’t have tackled it alone and yet as I was leaving the cave I met a young woman just entering. Flying, I’ve spent a good few years of my life in planes flying from somewhere to somewhere else. In the end it was the PITA delays and waiting around in airports that convinced me I didn’t need that life anymore.

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      • petspeopleandlife April 27, 2013 / 11:54

        I’m glad that you retired and began to photograph for you have become quite good at your craft. I know that I enjoy your photography very much.

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  2. fgassette April 27, 2013 / 01:41

    These photos are ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! To get these photos, yes I would have ventured out. If the person using two canes can make it, surely anyone can. I went on a shoot to a closed down steel mill and it was wonderful.

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

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    • Mike Hardisty April 27, 2013 / 08:28

      She did do well, Francine, and thank you for your comment. I would love to photograph old disused buildings but here in the UK we have very strict trespass laws. All too often the buildings are fenced off with a visible security presence.

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  3. beluga53 April 27, 2013 / 05:28

    These are wonderful pictures. It looks like a magical place.

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    • Mike Hardisty April 27, 2013 / 08:25

      It would have been nicer if it wasn’t so wet, but you can’t have it all….

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  4. stephenransome April 27, 2013 / 08:56

    Hi Mike. Thanks for doing the photoblog on Fuji too. Impressive shots of an impressive place. See ya soon maybe. Take care when on ya tod.

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    • Mike Hardisty April 27, 2013 / 19:25

      Hey Steve, been thinking about a trip,to the Spinnies sometime. Much doing there at the moment?

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  5. Vicky April 27, 2013 / 09:08

    Fabulous photos, I love the first two, especially the one with the people on. I would probably have waited for the bridge to be clear, but it works so well as they bring the scene to life. Excellent!!

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    • Mike Hardisty April 27, 2013 / 10:34

      I redid the bridge on the way back when there was no one about…

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  6. Vivien Scane April 27, 2013 / 17:11

    Wow Mike!! What a fantastic set of captures, you’ve really caught the feel of the place. What a brilliant time we had eh. You’ve made me look quite small in that capture, thanks for that!!! I’ll ignore all the rude comments I received on FB!!! 😉

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  7. Tina Schell April 28, 2013 / 00:26

    Out in those conditions, for sure! Into the cave, stay by myself never having been there ? Not a chance in the world! I’m pretty claustrophobic so I’ll have to depend on you showing me what it looks like Mike 🙂 Great job.

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    • Mike Hardisty April 28, 2013 / 12:18

      The only doubt I had was it was very isolated and no phone signal…

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  8. Pb April 28, 2013 / 13:04

    Wonderful stuff. You really are inspiring me to get to grips with my images

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  9. Cardinal Guzman May 10, 2013 / 16:46

    Wowo! Beautiful place. Very well captured Mike.

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    • Mike Hardisty May 10, 2013 / 19:13

      Thanks…difficult conditions, I had problems with exposures but managed to get something out of it

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