30th August 2008
A friend of mine gave me a call and said he’d like to go out and take some landscapes. Did I fancy a trip out?
Well I don’t need much of an excuse to get out for some shooting so we looked at the weather forecasts which were dire for the East but OK for the West and decided on my old standby Cwm Orthin.
I don’t think I’ve ever been to Cwm Orthin and not gone away with something worthwhile, there is something about the place that seems to suit my style I suppose and as I’ve been coming here since my film and darkroom days I guess I still think of the place in black and white.
Recently, while updating the web site, I returned to these images and completely reprocessed them in colour with more up to date software.
The fact that you see them here now shows you what I thought.
I commented once that the buildings are decaying rapidly but that is not the worst of it.
One shot I particularly wanted to try this time was of an old iron winding gear that had laid in the Llyn for at least 25 years that I had known of.
This time it was nowhere to be seen.
This is not the sort of thing that could be casually moved or stolen, it must have required a vehicle to drag it from the water and at least a pick up truck to take it away.
No doubt the rising price of scrap metal has something to do with it but it was far more valuable in the context of this place than converted to a few notes in someone’s pocket.
Fortunately some relics still remain, although I wonder for how long.
This old engine block and gear box are part of an old slate truck that ended it’s days between the slate dressing mill and the worker’s cottages many years ago.
On my last trip I thought there were two arches still standing but it looks as if this wall fell many years ago so perhaps it is just my memory that is decaying now.
If I sound a little melancholy it must be the influence of this place. It is hard to look at the scene or even these pictures without thinking of the people who once worked here, the hard lives they must have lived and what must have happened to them when the work dried up.
Now all that remains is their handiwork and one day that too will be gone unless steps are taken now to preserve this place.
The one thing I can do is record what remains of this place and I am certain that I will return here many more times in the future.
Having photographed Cwm Orthin so many times in monochrome, perhaps the challenge will be to capture the colour that exists in this place.
I think there remains plenty to photograph in this hidden valley.
But for tomorrow a new location is calling. Cwm Pennant.