Two Hundred and Fifty Miles through North Wales: Day 5, Part 3

The group pass the Dinorwic slate quarries and arrive in Llanberis at 12 o’clock. They stop at the Padarn Villa Hotel for lunch and spent some time looking around the town and admiring the local quarries.

Newspaper article

DD/DM/1113- Newspaper article in the Manchester Evening News, cutting from the original diary 'Two hundred and fifty miles through North Wales on a wagonette'

The road skirts the shore of the two lakes across the lake amongst masses of rock at the base of the hill are the Dinorwic slate quarries. The huge heaps of debris sloping into the water, the lake sides are bare of trees, here we saw number of wild geese or cormorants flying about the water, the lower lake runs down to the sea.  We pass Dolbadarn Castle which stands on a small rocky eminence near the Victoria Hotel, it is a round tower and commands a pleasant view of the two lakes, the ruin is merely the roofless shell of the tower without rooms or winding stairs, it is partly clothed with ivy and is rather picturesque, it is only 25 feet high from the base to summit and 26 feet diameter.  The castle existed in the sixth century and was possessed by Maelgwn Gwynedd Prince of North Wales, Owen Goch was imprisoned here in 1238 during the reign of Edward 1st the Earl of Pembroke took the fortress from the Welsh. 

We pass the Royal Victoria Hotel, the railway station and Dolbadarn Hotel, and arrive at the village of Llanberris[Llanberis] after a most delightful drive at 12 o’clock, and cast anchor at the Padarn Villa Hotel. “Tommy” is put up for a feed, we put up for ditto, whilst doing our level best to shift the baking day.  The Lady of the house brought in a splendid basket of trout which a man had just caught in the lake.  She said he wanted three shillings for them, had I been nearer “Old England” I should have speculated.  We spent some time looking round, paid a visit to the waterside, and admired the fine quarries on the other side of the water.  These quarries are very extensive employing three thousand men and boys they are the second largest inWales.  They rise tier above tier along the breast of the Elidyr [Elidir] Mountain on the north shore of the lake and are the property of G Duff Assheton Smith Esq. of Vaenol [Vaynol] near Bangor, the slates are conveyed along a private railway to Port Dinorwic at the south entrance of the Menai Straits, these Quarries and Penrhyn Quarries will probably meet some day as between them there is a mass of some four miles of solid slate, one quarry being at the Eastern and the other at the Western side of the mountain.  We occasionally heard a distant bugle sound, a few minutes after there were several explosions like the distant roar of Artillery, and on looking at the quarries we saw smoke issue from various places where the men had been blasting.  Llanberris is rather a large village, at the entrance to the pass it is well supplied with hotels, shops etc, most of the villagers work at the slate quarries, there is plenty of good fishing here.

For images of the Royal Victoria Hotel see The Peoples Collection Wales at http://www.peoplescollection.org.uk/Item/25224-the-royal-victoria-hotel-and-mountains-llanbe

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