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Parys Mountain Copper Mine (Mona - Parys Through Trip)

Sunday August 30th 2015

Members present: Adam Hughes,  Adam Walmsley,  Alastair Gott,  Andy Hurlbatt,  Catherine Moody,  David Willis,  Rachel Findlay

Report by Adam Walmsley

What a brilliant trip! Something completely different. We split into two groups and set off 5 minutes apart so as to avoid a faff fest. Rachel, Cat, Andy and I were lead by Tim and we set off behind the others. Right from the start the mine was physically involving and full of interesting features. A steep descent past some impressive iron oxide stals, corkscrewing round through big stopes and small tunnels, walking over false floors and huge piles of deads supported by rotting timber, then carefully walking under them.

The mine was very colourful, to both the eyes and the nose. Myriad metal oxides, sulphates, ochres and crystals adorned the walls and ceiling of the chambers, and tinted the pools of water. Sulphurous gasses gave the passages peculiar smells, which varied in different parts of the mine. In one stope we saw iron oxide straws over 15 ft. long. Tim lead us along a timber-lined trench to the 270 m deep Cairns Shaft in which part of the solid oak pump rod could be seen, and a huge balance bob was still in place - very impressive stuff.

The mine was like a rabbit warren - there were junctions all over the place and passages changed direction seemingly at random. There were even occasions when Tim appeared unsure of the right way on. We passed through a stooping-height level with chest-deep water, then caught up with the group in front and went to have a look at some more big stopes. This area was snottites-McGee, and care was required not to adorn oneself with bacterial mucus.

The next section contained some exquisite oxide formations, incredibly delicate and covering every wall, formed underwater, or by multiple cycles of flooding and draining. We traversed some dark brown acidic pools to a chamber full of bronze age hammer stones. Then after ascending a steep handlined incline and climbing up countless steps we arrived in the stone hut at the top of Parys Mine and out into the sweet fresh Anglesey air. Despite surfacing only 30 yards from where we went down, there was a strong sense of journey.

Afterwards we went to Amlwch Copperfest for a chippy tea.