Rhos Slate Quarry - Introduction
South of Capel Curig lies the 872 metre high mountain of Moel Siabod, and down on its lower north eastern slopes (above Pont Cyfyng) are the workings of the Rhos Slate Quarry. Dating from around the 1850's (through to closure in 1952) this fine example of a medium sized quarry comprises a single (deep) pit, numerous uses of water power, and still has many fine building remains around the site. Originally a small quarry with the workings accessed via a tunnel, it soon developed into a deep pit that required uphaulage to the mills level (located on the lip of the pit) - quite unusual for a quarry located on a steep slope where normally the mills would be located downhill and the pit accessed via tunnels. In a way it could be classed as a mini Glanrafon or a Nantlle pit working transported to a mountainside. Indeed the uphaulage problem was nearly addressed in the latter years when a tunnel was driven to the pit's base and a new mills site was earmarked (but not built) for this lower level.
It should be noted that this site had no connection to a rail network (finished product was carted from Pont Cyfyng) except a short tramway that led to a connection with the Foel Slate quarry's exit incline system.
[Pic 1] Rhos Slate Quarry - Approaching the site (Aug 1982)
Walking along the fine raised exit tramway (from a connection with the Foel quarry* inclines) this is the first real view of the site - a row of barracks / cottages - still standing long after disuse. Remarkably there was a De Winton loco on site (eventually replaced in the mid 1930s by a diesel loco) which ran along the exit tramway and handled the waste haulage. Also note the size of the waste blocks on the tip - no wonder they needed a loco!
* Foel quarry (open 1830's to closure in 1880's) was located further up the mountainside and had its own series of four inclines down to Pont Cyfyng, of which the No. 3, a double track incline, had a connection (just over mid way up) with the Rhos tramway. At some time after the closure of Foel this incline was truncated with a winding house installed at the Rhos connection level.
[Pic 2] Rhos Slate Quarry - Quarry Buildings (Aug 1982)
Another view of the Barracks / Cottages plus (in the foreground) the weighbridge (?) - the latter still reasonably intact at that time, but nowadays beginning to fall apart with the windows and door gone along with the roof coming apart. Note the installed roof skylight. As for the barracks behind - they are now far more ruinous today with all roof remains gone, plus much of the walls (and a few of the chimneys seen here) having collapsed since this pic was taken. The pit and mill are located a short distance to the left of camera, and the long waste tips are off to the right.
[Pic 3] Rhos Slate Quarry - The Mill (Aug 1982)
A wide shot of the Mill showing parts of the roof beams (at the pit end) and much of the walling still in place. Although (by 1982) this building was quite degraded it has since deteriorated even further, having lost its remaining roof structure and much of the front alcove walling. This mill was powered by a waterwheel located behind the rear wall - the wheelpit for which still exists. A neat stone channel runs from the mills tail race to the southern edge of the tips (off to the left of camera) where it fed another waterwheel.*
* This waterwheel was the power source for a compressor while yet another wheel (located above the mill) powered a chain incline for uphauling out of the pit.
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