Dinorwic Quarry - North Wales by Dibs McCallum
Over the course of 4 years, I have made numerous trips to one fantastic part of the UK called Dinorwic quarry.
This abandoned quarry that started its mining history in 1787 and eventually closed in 1969, is located to the North West of Snowdonia National park and attracts people for all sorts of activities, climbing, hill walking, dog walking, cycling, caving and the odd photographer or 2, due to its relatively easy access and amazing charm.
From the 1st time, I became aware of the site from the urban exploring forums I was keen to visit as it looked so cool with all its industrial and rugged charm, nothing and I mean nothing could have prepared me for the scale of the site This is still something that amazes each time I visit, as the scale of the reported 700 acre site is just something that photographs, I believe can't do justice.
Over the course of my visits, I have encountered most of the seasons. I had had blistering sun, howling wind, horizontal rain and pea soup fog. All these add to the charm of the site and really do make for some outstanding photography if you are well prepared with the correct outdoor gear.
After some great walking uphill and finding old machinery, and old buildings there are so many places you can just sit and watch the world go by and if you are lucky see the mist just roll by, a perfect time and place to be gathering your thoughts. Slowing everything down while you are on the site and really walking around with your eyes wide open is important for your own safety, but also as there are so many small things that will just go unnoticed, etchings here and there, animal skulls, rusty bits of machinery, tell-tale signs of times gone by. So it goes without saying, having a photography buddy or 2 with you is a great idea for safety, but also as another set of eyes to spot things as you explore each level of the site and while you walk about, or maybe to help keep an eye on those smelly mountain goats that may be sniffing out your sandwiches.
Overall my visits have ranged from small workshop groups to trips with a friend and 4-hour quick visits to 10-hour explores of the site, I am still yet to see all that the quarry has to offer, the place is one giant maze at times, zigzagging here and there with paths going one way and opening up into yet another epic view or leading to more caves to light up with torches that have you stopping with your camera, so I think there will be a few more trips on the cards in the colder months as I want to start documenting the site in the snow.
It goes without saying, this can be a very dangerous site and you do need to be careful. While checking it out, there are some areas that are fenced off to keep people out for their own safety. When the fog or mist rolls in, you can become disorientated, so being able to use a map can be very helpful if you are walking far off the well-trodden paths.
If you are in the area for photography and are thinking of only stopping by for a few hours, I would not bother, wait till you have at least 4 or 5 hours spare as you will want to at least see a few bits of it, and then I would think you will be planning on your revisit again.
To help plan out a great days photography, you have the amazing lone tree at Llyn Padarn you can shoot for sunrise, then nip into Llanberis for a cooked breakfast, then head up into the quarry for the day, this is a day you will remember for a long time.