5th March 2011 - Nigel Dibben
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This excellent trip was arranged by Ed. The party was six with Ed, Tom, Tony, Nigel, Steve and John. Liz, Sue and Susie came along as well for a walk as the weather seemed reasonable. The walk up was dry but the tops were misty but it didn't seem to take too long to reach Rhosydd and then Croesor over the top. A few pictures were taken and a lot of speculation was made into how the mines were operated.
At Croesor, we prepared at the entrance and were soon in to the top of the flooded incline and up to the first pitch.
(Croesor was worked from about 1846 to 1878 and then 1895 to 1930. It was used as an explosives store by ICI between 1949 and about 1977.)
Below 1: Entrance to Croesor Below 2: Looking down Croesor incline - Rhosydd incline to right Below 3: Croesor drum house
The first and second pitches are ways to get down from the upper levels into the massive worked out areas. As the main level is called the A level, the first might be described as a drop from D-upper down to C-upper and the second pitch from C-upper down to B-upper. From the second pitch, we went down the chamber to the A level where we met the water and crossed the zip wire. Everyone got across safe and dry despite Tony having to go back to take the pulley to Ed.
Below 1: Descending first pitch Below 2: Approaching the zip wire Below 3: No caption required
After the wobbly metal bridge, recently repaired by Ed and friends, we had a lunch break and then set off on the walking section to the first real tramway bridge. Things seemed to be going well when we had a nice wide timber to cross and we were soon on the other side. However, the next bridge was completely absent and required a tyrolean traverse. All right until your bag catches on the middle supoport and you lose momentm, as Nigel found out. Then there was a reasonable walk until an even worse one with a rail to get halfway across and then a zip wire for the rest. Interesting stuff!!
Below 1: Mild Terror Below 2: Slightly More Terror Below 3: Quite Considerable Terror Below 4: Brown Trouser Stuff
The next Terror was the lake, an abseil onto a very unstable raft (as was proved) and then to be pulled across to the other side, some 100 feet away. It would have been quite spectacular when the bridge was in place but it was still quite impressive.
One slight problem showed itself in that if someone gets into difficulties at the bottom of the abseil, then there is virtually no way of helping them. Perhaps there should be a dinghy for a 'marshall' to wait at the bottom of the rope.
After the lake, we prusiked up a short pitch and were soon on level 6 of Rhosydd. A bit of time was spent looking at the impressive inclines in Rhosydd before we headed, by an up and down route, to level 9 and the adit. The obligatory team photo was taken at the start of the journey out.
Below 1: The end of the lake Below 2: Rhosydd Below 3: Rhosydd Below 4: The team
Back on the surface, it was mistier than before but still dry so we got back to the cars in a pretty good dry clean state.
The trip is a superb sporting one and we did a bit of sight-seeing on the way but it does make me want to go back into Rhosydd and explore a bit more. I'm not so sure about all the bridges in Croesor although I admit it was a great experience, one to remember. Thanks again Ed and all the people who have helped in previous trips to set up the traverses and safety lines.