A slate museum – maybe not the most exciting place you might think. However, having been inside Electric Mountain in Snowdonia and faced with an afternoon of pouring rain, when our guide for the power station pointed out the slate museum on the drive back to the visitor centre we thought about it. When she mentioned free entrance the decision was made. Nothing to lose, shelter from the inclement weather, we figured we might as well check it out.
Slate is just everywhere in Llanberis, you can’t get away from it, much was carved from the open mountainside leaving a jagged cliff which, while not exactly beautiful is definitely striking. We walked from the visitor centre just the short distance to the slate museum. The lady at the entrance excitedly told us we were just about in time for a slate splitting demonstration. We hurried to the theatre type place and found about a hundred people already seated. We got the standing room only spots round the edge. I thought something amazing was about to happen, anticipation was building. The very nice man split one slate and then proceeded to spend the rest of the time talking about what he had just done. Skillful and impressive no doubt but a bit of an anti-climax.
Outside we started exploring – lots of old workrooms with heaps of old equipment. We found the largest waterwheel in Europe and climbed right to the top to watch it turn.
My highlight was the row of terraced workers’ cottages. Three little houses, each furnished from a different era. Every one was so different and the bits and pieces so intriguing, most compelling though was how tiny they were and how large families lived here at one time.
There was a hospital where the slate workers were once treated, it sounded fascinating but was closed that day. A few craft shops and a nice café finished off our visit. The slate museum exceeded my expectations – it was definitely worth an hour or so on a rainy afternoon in Llanberis.