Training Days – Trefor & Nant Gwrtheyrn

Training because I had a lot to learn about the camera and lens combination I was holding. Olympus E520 matched with Manual focus only Vivitar 24mm f2.8. To those who don’t know, the E520’s viewfinder is quite possibly the worst thing to look through an MF lens with (and a major reason I moved to m4/3), resulting in the majority of shots from these 2 days being binned.

Trefor Granite Quarry

Datestone from the Compressor house

I entered Trefor quarry at the top end, over the shoulder of Nant Gwrtheyrn. A level down is the shell of a compressor house, finely pointed and entirely constructed from granite blocks. It’s a shame that most of the other buildings on site have been levelled.

As I trundled down the dumper tracks, level after level of desolation eventually got me to the bottom, and something I wasn’t expecting – the concrete massif of the crushing plant still on site in pretty good nick too! I’d never even noticed it before – despite it being visible from the A499!

The crushing plant at Trefor

The Crushing plant at Trefor

This was a great find, it’s sheer size meant not a hope in hell of fitting it all in to the viewfinder with the little Vivitar, so it presented a nice excercise in framing with a prime lens.

As I was moochin gabout here, a couple walked through, and suggested it would be a good location for a Vogue fashion shoot. I’ll bear that in mind if I ever make it big!

And that was MF101 day 1 over! Day 2, saw a trip just round the corner, to the Cae’r Nant and Porth y Nant granite quarries. Porth y Nant of course being famous as the setting of the National Welsh language centre.



Eye ring at f2.8

Same rules applied as or day 1,Viivtar 24mm 2.8 against the world, only this time I had the sense to open the aperture!

Cae'r Nant Quarry

Cae'r Nant Crusher station head


I started in the same place, the car park above Nant Gwrtheyrn, in much worse weather, but the weatherman said it would brghten up so I perservered. Cae’r Nant was hard going. When the workers left in the 50s it seems not much of anyone went there since. I was determined to get to the crusher station. I had wanted to get to the bottom of it, butit just wasn’t going to happen without ending in a hospotal visit, so defeated I headed for the car, and took the road down to the village of Porth y Nant.

Lathe in Porth Y Nant

Lathe in Porth y Nant


The weather by now was getting better, and by the tme I’d hit the beach, was beautiful sunshine, which was no end of help to getting the shutter speed somewhere near useful!

Now as a child, I lived in Nant Gwrtheyrn for a spell, and had come to know every nook and cranny of Porth y Nant quarry, however I had forgotten about, or perhaps not realised the significance of, and old metaworking lathe at the site of the old pier. It’s presence I only discovered through a series of black and white photos from the 70s on

Lathe Gearing

Lathe gearing


I was determined that I should find and photograph this lathe. I expect it to be high in the quarry, on some innaccessible level, and was suprised to find it near the ore bins on the beach!

By now the sun was really out, and a stroll along the beach was particularly enjoyable. Also through I had become aquainted with the wreck of the Amy Sommerfield, a vessel wrecked during a storm whilst attempting to moor at the Cae’r Nant jetty.

Ore bins

Abstract of Orebins

I think that will become the subject of afuture post though, as the photos taken on this occasion do it no justice.

At the site of the Cae’r Nant jetty is a massive concrete castle like structure, slowly tumbling into the sea. It’s only resident on my visit was a solitary sheep.

The walk back was punctuated by an incredibly large Spider crap, and fighting goats, although I was not quick enough to catch a shot of them in action!

Cae're Nant orebins

Cae're Nant Castle

So waht did I learn from this trip? Well a few things. The E520 is not a great camera for using manual focus legacy lenses, unless you have the luxury of a tripod in order to use Live view. The vivitar 24mm is  cracking little lens for 4/3 due to it’s almost 50mm EFL, good contrast, colour and sharpness (when not used at F22!) . It’s only let down by it’s tendency for flare indirect sunlight.


Cae're Nant Orebins

Along the battlements

Non photographically I learnt that Cae’r Nant is a Godless heathen land, which is best avoided unless you are part mountain goat!

And thus ended Day2, and there end this little tour.


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