Dinorwic Slate Quarry, Snowdonia

This one has been a while coming… I’ve wanted to visit all the buildings here for quite some time and on my last 2 visits I spent that much time taking pictures and generally exploring a smaller area of the quarry that the main bits that I wanted to visit I didn’t get to, (also because I couldn’t find them, or at least a way to get to them)

Opportunity arose for a 3 day visit to the area for Landscape Photography and again I planned another visit to the quarry, this time armed with a fantastic few pages of information provided to me by Mike Innes on FlickR, a regular explorer of Dinorwic and very helpful guy - https://www.flickr.com/photos/pentlandpirate/

For anyone who has been you’ll know the vast nature of the place, for anyone who hasn’t, basically it is enormous. To put the place into perspective, when it was open It was the second largest slate quarry in Wales, and indeed in the world. It remains the same size but closed down and abandoned. It closed in December 1969 after a downturn in demand for slate, ever since it has been sat dormant, deteriorating year after year, there have been a lot of collapses but there is still a lot to see.

The main purpose of the latest visit was to find the old cutting sheds on the ‘Australia’ levels, the other buildings still fitted out with heavy machinery, and the ‘Caban’ (or Cabin) which still contains the Miners’ old work boots and clothes. I managed to finally find all these on what turned out to be a 6 1/2 hour circular walk, some very hard going but well worth it.

It’s a true photographers paradise, with great compositions to be found literally everywhere around the site, it also has the added bonus of looking great in poor weather, when low cloud and mist can often feature, and the wet slate takes on new colour and drama.

The images are from a number of visits, if you want any further info get in touch.

Hazy days can work well

Hazy days can work well



Old truck lifts

Old truck lifts

Old cable winding drums under the rails here

Old cable winding drums under the rails here

Long forgotten rusty truck

Long forgotten rusty truck

Truck outside an old repair house

Truck outside an old repair house

Window on Dinorwic

Window on Dinorwic

Cutting sheds

Cutting sheds

Cutting sheds

Cutting sheds

Pipes 2048.jpg
Manufactured in Broadheath, Manchester

Manufactured in Broadheath, Manchester

More heavy machinery

More heavy machinery

Stateside machinery

Stateside machinery

‘The Caban’

‘The Caban’

Old Miners Shoes still in situ

Old Miners Shoes still in situ

Flooded tunnel on the higher level

Flooded tunnel on the higher level

Steadfast

Steadfast

Rock Face

Rock Face

Ledges

Ledges

A burst of colour

A burst of colour

Grandeur

Grandeur

Tucked away

Tucked away

Vast

Vast

saw no more…

saw no more…

ruined

ruined

Reclaimed

Reclaimed

©peterowbottom2018/9



Abandoned 1984 Winter Olympics Bobsleigh track, Sarajevo, Bosnia


In 2015 myself and a mate of mine traveled to Slovenia to watch England play Slovenia in an international football match (well he did, I was there for the travel mainly), to make things more interesting we flew to Split in Croatia, and from there made our way into Bosnia, before heading from there to Zagreb and across to Ljubljana. Part of the trip was one place I was really looking forward to visiting, Sarajevo. A city that has seen so much bloodshed, destruction, and unbelievable atrocity as recently as 1996, when the siege finally ended.

Sarajevo is a great city, steeped in history and a real mix of cultures, making for a great visit. While we were there we learned that the sites of the 1984 Winter Olympics were still in place and had been left abandoned on Trebević mountain overlooking the city, this for me was something that really flicked my switch and simply had to go and see before we left, so the next day we set off to try and get there.

Numerous taxi’s point blank refused to take us there, we didn’t know why… eventually we found one guy who agreed and we set off, half way up into the mountains he stopped and removed the ‘taxi’ sign off the roof, saying “no taxis here” or words to that effect, he eventually dropped us off in a small empty car park, overlooked by what appeared to be a completely burnt out hotel complex, we paid him, and before he made his rather swift exit, he pointed us toward a small road heading into the forest.

The weather was great, we were high up in the mountains in the middle of nowhere, and there wasn’t another soul around, as we walked down the track signs started to appear on trees, we couldn’t read any of them, they appeared to be warnings and we just presumed they were to do with forest fires… shortly afterwards we saw the Olympic rings painted onto the road and looking up we could see the first curve of the abandoned bobsleigh track above us.

First sight of the track

First sight of the track

Climbing up onto it wasn’t hard and were soon exploring away, we walked to the very top where the old viewing stands were still in place, albeit covered in moss and trees, from there we made our way down the 30 year old concrete track, along the way there were strange ‘holes’ in the high walls of the track, obviously man made but for what purpose we didn’t know, (we would find out a day later)

Overgrown track walls

Overgrown track walls

At this point I must stress that we really had not researched this outing and it was a pretty much spur of the moment decision to do the night before, looking back it was incredibly stupid given what had happened here.. as we neared the bottom of the track we realised that we were still really high into the mountains, the city just a distant feature a good way away, we somehow thought the track would just lead us right back to the city… at the bottom of the track there was the finish line bridge with all the old lettering on it, we took turns at climbing up onto it, again amazed that there was nobody around… amazed that was until we walked just a little further on to the physical end to the track, where we found a concrete pill box and absolutely loads of yellow tape everywhere with the wording ‘POZOR / MINES’, yes, we were in the middle of an uncleared minefield, the Serbs had land mined the area before they left .


Mine warnings

Mine warnings

As you can imagine this revelation put a different stint on the visit, we were still miles out of the City and no concrete track to take us to our destination, instead there was just an old vehicle track heading downwards with bombed out houses either side, all riddled with bullet holes.. as far as I could see it there were 2 options, walk back up the track and somehow try to call another taxi (if there was signal and we could somehow find a number) or we just cracked on and walked down the vehicle track, walking in where vehicles had been and not in the grassy central area. We chose the latter option as there was certainly no guarantee anyone would come for us given the reluctance of most drivers to actually take us up there in the first place. As we made our way down I was taking pictures of the buildings in a real war torn state, there were some great images to be had but there was no way we could even consider leaving the track we were on so everything had to be shot from a distance, my mate seemed quite amazed I wanted to still take photographs, my reasoning being that if we got blown up it wouldn’t matter anyway, and if we got out OK then I would have the images.

To cut a long story a little shorter after an hour or more we eventually came into a better stretch of road and shortly afterwards some inhabited houses which was a great relief, a guy washing his carpets in the street spoke to us and after realising we were English was really friendly and offered us a drink, we thanked him but we just wanted to get out of there and pressed onward to the city.

Heading back down to the City

Heading back down to the City

Eating our lunch of Kofta kebabs in the city a while later was a great moment and a time to reflect on something that could easily have gone a different way, I think we both learned a lot that day. We later found out that the holes in the walls of the track were made by snipers, used to pick off unsuspecting members of the public, trapped by the siege, just horrific.

Locals look on at the war torn buildings

Locals look on at the war torn buildings



Travelling light, all images from this trip were shot handheld on the mirror-less Fuji X100S with wide angle adaptor, and LEE 100 x 150 mm filters.

A set of images from the trip can be seen in the gallery on the right hand side of the blog page.