Blue Rocks at Parys Mountain - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Paddy, Plunkett and Parys Mountain

You know, a girl could find herself getting a little jealous of Paddy and Plunkett. It seems like the woolly twosome only just got back from their trip to Scotland… And then the next thing I know, I’m getting more photos from another away trip! This time, they’ve headed further south, and ended up in this strange place – Parys Mountain, in Anglesey, Wales!

And as we join them today, it appears that Plunkett is being uncharacteristically selfish…

“Mine! It’s all mine!”
Plunkett lays claim to Parys Mountain - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesBy all accounts, Paddy was ready to storm off in a huff… Until Plunkett corrected himself. Parys Mountain is a mine – in fact, during its heyday in the 18th and 19th centuries, it was the largest copper mine in Europe.

The story of this runaway success starts in 1764, when Charles Roe leased the mountain from its owners in the hope of mining it for copper. I’m not sure if he knew at the time that the area had been mined as far back as the Bronze Age – archaeological evidence for this only really came to light in the early 2000s. But copper ingots with Roman markings had been found near the mountain and on other parts of Anglesey Island well before that, which suggested that searching for copper here might not be such a bad idea.

And it turned out he was right! Four years later, on the 2nd of March, Rowland Pugh – a local miner working on the site – stumbled on a great mass of copper ore relatively near the surface. After that, it was open season on copper at Parys Mountain!

Nothing lasts forever though, and mining work stopped here around a century ago. There’s still copper in them thar hills, but the finished product doesn’t fetch the tasty prices it used to, when it was in demand for protecting the hulls of wooden ships and making cannons. These days, the former mine is open to the public – both human and Beastie – so they can explore this strange lunar-like landscape!
Parys Mountain Landscape - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

It looks like Paddy has found something interesting already!
Blue Rocks at Parys Mountain - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Look, Plunkett! Blue and orange rocks!”

The mineral deposits in the stones here make for a pretty crazy colour palette – everywhere you look you’re greeted by strange psychedelic hues! But where has Plunkett gone?

Oh, wait, he’s checking out some industrial architecture. Obviously.
Plunkett at the Parys Mountain Windmill - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Hmmmm, what have we here? An old stone windmill, perhaps for pumping water out of the mineshafts? Fascinating! And look at that stonework!”

His reverie doesn’t last long, though. Paddy’s calling him over to see something else.

“Plunkett! Look at this!”
Paddy Explores Parys Mountain - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Wow! That’s pretty incredible!”
The Main Main at Parys Mountain - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesIt really is! And all the more so when you remember that this massive hole in the ground…
a) Used to be a mountainside (check out this video for an aerial view of the whole mountain)
b) Was carved out by people using only picks, shovels and the odd stick of dynamite.

And that’s before you take the labyrinthine underground network of tunnels into account!

Paddy was all for exploring the mineshafts too – he had heard that there are deposits of gold and silver in there, and he also entertained the hope that he could maybe pick up an unexploded stick of dynamite as a souvenir.

But the idea of Paddy with dynamite was enough to convince Plunkett that it was time to leave. Onwards to the next adventure!

Join us for part 2 of Paddy and Plunkett’s Anglesey exploits next week! And are there any weird and wonderful places to visit near you? Tell us all about them in the comments!