In conjunction with the Deep Mine Tour we went on the Quarry Explorer Tour which was really an unforgettable experience. Strapped into a 4 x 4 military truck you are driven up the slate mountains to the very top of the man-made heights reaching 1400ft above sea level.
The driver stops at several points and gets out to talk to you about the history of the work done and the future plans for ensuring that slate quarrying is still a viable source of income for local workers.
You do have to be 18+ and sign a declaration that you are fit and able enough to take part in the tour and certainly if you have a fear of heights it would not be a good idea, but the views really are breathtaking. The gradients are quite steep and the roadways don’t leave much room for error, so it’s not a journey for the faint of heart.
The best views however come once you reach the very summit of this slate mountain and can look down into craters that were made by blasting off the roofs of caverns hundreds of years old.
At the summit you also find the remains of the buildings which served as offices for the owners, all of which were of course made from slate. It’s hard to believe but around 90% of the slate collected was deemed unusable – some for safety reasons but a lot for cosmetic reasons, the slate not fitting with the Victorians’ expectations.
We thought this was a brilliant tour and one of the highlights of our trip. You can see more photos here.