Moel Tryfan – the source of our beautiful, and rare, Welsh purple slate – is near the villages of Rhosgadfan, Y Fron, and Betws Garmon, in Gwynedd. At 427m (1401 feet), it is not the highest mountain in Wales, although it can claim to be the 6634th highest peak in Britain.
Watch drone footage (links to YouTube), of Moel Tryfan. Thanks to: DJI (Mike) Mavic.
Moel Tryfan and Cilgwyn quarries have been active since the mid 19th century, through many changes of ownership. Falling rock was a serious challenge; in 1909 a major rock fall (close to 500,000 tons), completely filled the pit. The quarry continued to be worked, and in 1918, the next-door Alexandra quarry and the Cilgwyn were merged with Moel Tryfan. By the mid-1960s, the workforce was more than 30 men. However, in the early 1970s the work face was finally condemned, and work ceased.
Active, working quarry
Under the current owner (Caernarvonshire Crown Slate Quarries (CCSQ), and directors Nick and Philip Smith), the quarry is active again, selling slate and aggregate. It is also home to local craftsman, Doug the Slate. Beautiful Welsh purple slate has also sparked the imagination of other local artists, who work unique artistic combinations with freshwater pearls, semi-precious stones, or silver and slate.
Action! Movie Time!
When the mist swirls around the rugged tops, and hovers over the deep water pit, there is a definite ‘lost world’ atmosphere to these mountains. Indeed, Moel Tryfan has been used several times as a film location, including:
- Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life – directed by Jan de Bont, and starring starred Angelina Jolie and Gerard Butler.
- And in nearby Rhosgadfan, the Welsh TV programme C’mon Midffild was filmed in the village hall, while the recent BBC Wales television series Snowdonia 1890, was filmed a various local locations.
- Nearby, other atmospheric films were shot partly at Nantmor (Inn of the Sixth Happiness), and at Cwm Llan (Carry On… Up the Khyber), both near Beddgelert, and Clash of the Titans was partly shot at Dinorwig Quarry, a large disused slate quarry near Llanberis.