Category Archives: Wales

Wales

Big Pit National Coal Museum – Big Pit Big Heart

Last but definitely not least, the Big Pit National Coal Museum was my final stop during my trip to South Wales where I also took in the Caerphilly Castle and Blaenavon Ironworks. Armed with only a flash light and gas mask, this offline, underground experience is the best way to fight your IG habit/addiction and really just enjoy the moment.

It’s half subterranean exploration, half stand-up comedy. The guides/ex miners had me cracking up so much I nearly fell down a pit shaft, but that could have been the lack of oxygen!

Aside from being an interesting location to visit, the stories are really touching and the guides manage to paint a vivid picture of what life was like for the 100s of people who spent most of their working day underground.

Claustrophobics beware! It’s dark, it’s damp, it’s cold, and did I mention it’s really dark. Not being a big fan of small spaces myself, I still felt comfortable and enjoyed exploring as the tour kept a good pace.

The mine might be an impressive 138 years old, but the seabed rock in one tunnel dates back 300 million years – now that’s what I call historic.

Not only was our guide, whose nickname was “Lucky”, a charming storyteller and fact machine, but the whole group of ex-miners were adorably joking around and defusing any last minute stress you might have being plunged into the darkness. It wasn’t much but seeing their enthusiasm and family-type bond was something special that I won’t forget anytime soon.

Have you headed deep underground before?

Wales

Exploring Blaenavon Ironworks


Industrial ruins and a slice of home life

It might not be the star attraction of Blaenavon, but this little stop off point is a quaint, charming distraction and well worth your time.
Its cute cottages connect you to the past through little touches that will spark your imagination such as a babycot in messy lived in rooms, Sunday lunch including crumpets and a charming old fashioned store.
Before I forget, there’s a giant goddamn black stone obelisk that seems like it descended from the heavens. It’s actually just a crane that used to lift raw materials but it looks like nothing else I’ve seen in the UK – but maybe that was my low blood sugar talking. If that’s not enough you can climb this thing and face some fears.
If you prefer to stay on the ground there’s several old stone furnaces that used to be the hottest destination in the 1800s. Again, it was an intriguing sneak peak into the lives of people long forgotten.