I was visiting my friends Bob and Ewa on Anglesey a short while ago, and they were the most wonderful hosts and tourist guides. We visited Parys Mountain and I couldn't get over the strangeness of the landscape. The stones and dust on the path to the main excavation hole were yellow and brown and red and you could see pimpernels growing among the rocks. This photograph shows most clearly the colours of the landscape and the rather Grand Canyon look of the place.
This is the path we took.....
And this picture shows the workings of the mine when it was at its height. It's hard to believe that the hole you can see was dug out of the mountain by men armed only with picks, shovels and gunpowder. A notice nearby tells us that what we're seeing is only a small proportion of what's there.....below the surface lie many caverns and miles of tunnels which are not worked because copper is no longer used as it was and besides, other countries can provide the world's markets much more cheaply.
In 1990, Anglesey Mining plc sank a 300 m deep shaft and discovered ore resources of more than 6 million tonnes, beneath and separate from the old workings but low metal prices have stopped the further development of an important UK source of zinc and copper. (this I have taken from the very informative notices up at Parys Mountain.)
Parys Mountain was a great source of inspiration for a wonderful local artist called Kyffin Williams (www.kyffinwilliams.info) This picture shows almost the same view as my first photograph.
I hadn't visited this part of the country before. I know Cardiff from staying with my aunt during school holidays, but Anglesey and Snowdonia were a revelation. If this landscape reminds you of the drier parts of the USA, then only a few miles down the road is South Stack, home to seabirds and on the day we visited, a vision in sparkling blue and white. I saw a puffin bobbing about on the water, but that was through a telescope and I didn't get a photo. Still the view from the window was beautiful.
Next month, I'll write about our visit to Snowdonia and what I discovered about a material I hadn't given much thought to before. SLATE. Do not take your garden chippings for granted!