Nyth y Gigfran quarry
|Nyth y Gigfran quarry|
Nyth y Gigfran incline
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Nyth y Gigfran quarry (English: The raven's nest) was an early slate quarry sited high above Glanypwll. It was also known as the Glanypwll quarry and is sometimes erroneously spelt as Nith-y-gigfran or Nidd-y-gigfran.
The Nyth y Gigfran quarry was opened around 1846 by Thomas James. It was located above Craig Nyth y Gigfran, a 300ft-high cliff to the west of Glanypwll. The quarry was mainly worked underground and accessed the same veins as Holland's Quarry.
James' early working was sporadic, and it was extremely hard to get slate down from this inaccessible location. The quarry was abandoned during the 1850s.
Glan-y-Pwll Slate & Slab
In 1861, the Glan-y-Pwll Slate & Slab Company Ltd. was incorporated to re-open the quarry. They laid two long exit inclines down the cliff in 1867, to connect to the Festiniog Railway at Dinas Junction. Output from this quarry was shipped from the Maenofferen Wharf at Portmadoc Harbour. The quarry closed in 1870, with the company going into liquidation two years later. The inclines remained largely intact into the 1880s; the branch from Dinas Junction was taken out between the summer of 1887 and 1888.
The quarry was acquired by the Oakeley Slate Quarries and were connected underground to the main quarry in 1924. They may have used the exit inclines until the underground connection was made.
The quarry inclines
A short branch of the Festiniog Railway ran west from Dinas Junction to the foot of the first incline. This rose over 200ft. to a winding house. The incline was well built with both cuttings and slate embankments used to maintain a steady grade.
Above the first incline, a much steeper section leads up to the quarry. The exact nature of this section is unclear, but the one surviving photograph of the incline while intact appears to show a single line of timber baulks, held in place by ties. The remains of a winding house were still visible at the top of this section in the 1980s. Likely this was a trwnc incline, with a broad gauge track laid on the baulks for the main carriage and a narrower gauge track within it that carried a mochyn counterweight.
It is also possible that the baulk road was a sledway. Sleds loaded with slate would be lowered down to the head of the incline. It is also possible that aerial ropeways were used to connect from the quarry down to the head of the first exit incline.
Dinas junction in 1887. The branch to the foot of the Nyth y Gigfran incline runs left through the gate. The 1836 Dinas line runs straight ahead, and the line to Duffws is on the right.