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2-of-us The Deep Mine tour into the Llechwedd Slate Caverns is not for the claustrophobic – John freaked out shortly after we dived underground on an old miner’s tramway…. After a few deep breaths we wandered through the massive cathedrals of rock and learnt a few sobering facts about the working conditions in a Victorian Slate mine. Miners spent their days shifting tonnes of rock in perpetual darkness lit only by a few candles which they had to buy themselves from their meagre wages.  They worked from dawn to dusk and only got Sundays off – when they were expected to attend Chapel three times.  Most miners had the bodies of old men by the time they hit their mid thirties.  Living as we do in a former slate cutting mill, it brings home the skill, hard toil and bravery of the people who roofed the Victorian world. The slate floors in our house come from the modern day workings of the slate mines above Blaenau Ffestiniog, where these days they mine from above ground.  The huge dark slag heaps slumped around the town make for a very weird landscape.

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