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Friday, 13 July 2012

Go-Below - An Underground Adventure

For two years I have had the intention of getting to an old abandoned slate mine in the mountains of Wales. Well Wednesday July 11th 2012 was the day that we decided to book a trip with Go-Below Underground Adventures With the recent wet weather and having a couple of spare days we decided that the time was right. We arrived at the Conwy Falls Cafe in plenty of time before we met up with our guide for the day, Miles, and also 7 other people who were making the trip. After a brief safety hearing we were kitted up with a harness, helmet, lamp, wellington boots and safety equipment before heading off to the mine in THE GENERAL

A great way to start the adventure as the drive to the start of the mines lasts for about 15 minutes as we make our way along the narrow lanes. When we reach the car park it is another 30 minutes walk up the hillside through the old quarries and through a wooded area to the start. It was a great bright day with the sun shining and some great views back down the valley below




After a few last minute checks it was time for us to descend into the mine

This is where the Wellies and waterproof trousers came in use as there was a lot of water and in places it was ankle deep. Being underground, it was also quite damp but not really cold. The only light was from our head torches, no electric down here!
We soon came across an old pully left rusting on the tracks

This was a straight forward walk down the tunnel but being six foot, I did have to bend down quite a bit which was no problem for me. We got to the end of the tunnel to be met with a small dinghy that we had to paddle across the small lake to get us to the other side.

We all made it across safely and dry :-) It was now time to make our way again and this time the obstacle was to get across another small pool. These pools and small lakes are deep, very deep, reaching down about one hundred feet or more with sheer drops all around. There are safety lines to which we were hooked up to as we had to walk round one or two of these. The way we were to get across the next pool was to go by zip-wire. It's only a small zip but exciting nonetheless.

After everyone had crossed safely we found ourselves in quite a large cavern and was the perfect place for a spot of lunch and a rest.

It's a fascinating place with a lot of history to it and you get a sense of how tough and dangerous it was working the mines. This experience was quite the opposite really and most enjoyable. Our guide, Miles, was a good leader and that made it enjoyable as well.
Our next adventure was to do an abseil down about 30feet


After the abseil we had to go back up by means of walking up a stream. It wasn't powerful and was done without anyone falling over or getting to wet.

We had a couple of stops where we could explore one or two of the tunnels that came to a dead end so we didn't get lost. One of the tunnels led to what is known as the ladder of death!! An old rusting ladder that was used so the miners could get from one floor to another.

After climbing the rest of the stream it was now time to make our way out of the mine by way of climbing up the waterfall. Again it wasn't powerful but we had to be roped up as it was a bit slippy and there was plenty of hand and foot holds. It proved quite wet for some but waterproof trousers came to my rescue :-)


All what was left was to make our way to the exit where the light was shining through to light up the large cavern

After leaving the mine it was a straight forward walk back down though the old buildings with the views looking straight down the valley

Back to the cafe in the truck where we said thanks for a great adventure with Go-Below

A short video



Cheers
Andy

3 comments:

  1. Awesome. Love the video. I've seen JC's report, and he had me thinking I wanted to go, but was wary I might not be fit enough. Now having seen your video, I reckon I'll be OK. Thanks for this. we'll probably not be able to get back to Wales until next year, but this will be one of our things to do. :-)

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    1. Thanks Tracey. You don't have to be super fit at all. There is little in the way of strenuous exercise.The walk up & down through the quarries is about as hard as it gets!! If you like a bit of adventure then go for it. It s a great way to spend half a day :-)

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  2. Excellent. Looks like you did a few different bits to us. No roped waterfall climb, high level traverse or escape up the air shaft? Can't wait to go back...

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