Tuesday, 9 November 2010

ABC Wednesday - Quarry

A popular place to take a break, perhaps for lunch, when in the middle of a walk in Tilberthwaite or Little Langdale is here, looking across to the
sheer faces of Hodge Close Quarry and its reflection in the
the water below. The quarry closed in 1964 after which the workings filled with water, we are after all in the Lake District, known for receiving its quota of rain.  The person standing at the bottom has come through from the adjoining Parrock Quarry, the steel 'skis' are the remains of a crane.
This part of the quarry is 300 feet deep, 150 ft of face popular with abseilers, and 150 ft of flooded workings popular with divers.  There are tunnel entrances to 3 chambers and 2 interconnecting tunnels down there. Cave divers are one may say, a special breed, and have no qualms in entering watery enclosed spaces, there have been fatalities here with divers getting lost in the passages.

The Lake District is a National Park and an area of outstanding beauty but it is, and has been, a place of industry as well, some of it which scars the landscape. Green slate has been quarried at Hodge Close since the 19th Century, gradually declining in the 20th century to its closure in the 1960s.  Green slate is commonly used for roof tiles, nowadays cut by machine, but in these times the pieces of slate would be riven or split by hand. To watch someone expertly splitting a slab of slate running with the layers and then making the thin sheets into slates is to watch and marvel at a skill. They then 'dress' the edges making them smooth.  Some of the slate is of no use and is left for waste or 'rid' and these spoil heaps scatter
across the valley, here looking towards the Langdale Pikes, the autumn trees softening the heaps.
As can be seen here the pieces of slate are quite small, in other areas of quarrying the residue can be a lot larger than this.  Pieces can be picked up if you want to make a sign or require one last piece for a wall.

Despite these industrial workings Hodge Close is a popular spot for people to park, to see the views of the surrounding hills and woods, the open space, and for car drivers who don't like to walk too much
a popular picnic spot.  On the day I was here there were also a lot of serious photographers with tripods taking pictures of the light on the Silver Birch, unlike this happy snapper, as you have seen, taking pictures of spoil heaps.

The road up to Hodge Close Quarry comes past a row of houses
opposite which are these slate roofed buildings which I think in the past would be wash houses for the row of cottages, before the days of the glories of indoor plumbing.

Quick jump over to ABC Wednesday for quite a lot of  words beginning with Q


Sylvia K said...

Terrific post for the Q Day and what a gorgeous place! Love your photos and what an interesting history! Hope your week is going well! Enjoy!


photowannabe said...

What a lovely place and thank you for the interesting information. I almost posted quarry too. Unfortunately my photos didn't really show anything so I went in another direction.

mrsnesbitt said...

Love it - we often find ourselves up such roads - often unintentional! lol!

EG Wow said...

Great minds think alike. :) My q-word is quarry too!

I like your photos!

Roger Owen Green said...

very informative. and pretty.
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Tumblewords: said...

Oh, what a beautiful place - the quarry is amazing..reflection is wonderful.

Paula Scott said...

Breathtakingly beautiful! Most quarry's end up being rather ugly by the time they've been exhausted. That doe not seem to be the case here.

Misfit in Paradise said...

A great Q post. I think quarries are beautiful.
Donna - ABC Wednesday