BACK STAGE AT PEPPERMINT IGUANA HQ: Gigs, Festivals, Parties, CDs, Books, Protests, travels, photography and Cardiff City FC

Sunday, January 29, 2006

CHASING SHADOWS: Trefil Quarry in the winter sun

With the winter sun hanging low in the sky I went on a mission today to get some photos of shadows. As part of this mission I found myself up at the site of the abandoned Trefil Quarry.

The Romans, the 19th iron masters and the 20th century steelworks got their limestone for smelting metal from the quarry. The Chartists of the 1830s plotted their insurrection and practised their arms drill on this ridge – and they stored their weapons in the quarry caves. The young Aneirin Bevan, the political genius of the National Health Service and post-war house building programme, walked these hills reciting Milton and Shakepeare to fight his stammer. Bevan’s ashes are scattered on the moor near by.

The site is massive, and the baron moonscape left following the end of quarrying has an unexpected rugged beauty to it. The fact that you can look around 360 degrees without seeing pylons or any other tell tale sign of civilisation resulted in it being used as the home planet of the Vogons in the recent movie adaptation of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy.

Today was a bitterly cold afternoon with the pond in the middle and all puddles frozen. There was not a cloud to be seen in the winter sky.

The remains of the quarry actually look natural in places, like some coastal cliff line. There were however one of two obviously man made remains from the old quarry, the perfect canvas for graffiti artists well away from the eyes of the law.

Its distance from civilisation has also made it a favourite venue for sound systems putting on free parties, able to punp up the volume without worrying about disturbing the neighbours.

On the outskirts of the quarry dozens of dirt bikers and quad bikers tear around the area practicing their jumps and driving through puddles. It was a bit like a family day out with dads showing young sons how to handle their machines and even mums sat in camper vans drinking tea.

I eventually had to give up because my hands were becoming so cold I could not change the settings on the camera, but could not help stopping several times on the way home when my eye was caught by the sun playing with the leafless trees.

I think I am going to have to get myself an SLR.


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