Thrillseekers slammed after breaking into disused Llangollen mine

Reporter:

Hayley Collins

A MINING expert has blasted a team of thrillseekers who put their lives in danger by breaking into an abandoned mine.

The group, who call themselves ‘urban explorers’, managed to gain entry to a disused slate mine, near Llangollen, which has been shut off to the public since 1998.

An account of the exploits as well as pictures taken from inside the mine were then posted on urban exploration website 28dayslater.

The pictures show piles of slate, old trolleys and dummy miners from the days when the mine was open to the public.

One group member Georgie boasted about how easy it was to access the mineshaft.

They posted: “It’s a good one to do. Access isn’t a big problem just watch where you’re trespassing really.”

But the feat has been branded “absolutely foolish” by former coal miner Ted McKay, of Gwersyllt, who is now a director of the North Wales Mines Association Trust.

He said: “They are going into the dark and the unknown. There may not be the risk of gas like in coal mines, but you can have slate falling from the roof, holes and deep pools of water. It’s not only dangerous it’s absolutely foolish for anyone to go underground like that.

“You don’t know the state of the roof – if a piece of slate was to fall from a height of 10 or 20 feet and hit you on the head you are dead.”

Mr McKay, who worked down the mines for 25 years, says even he would not set foot down there.

“I certainly wouldn’t go in there,” he said.

“What would happen if you got lost – these underground caverns extend for miles and the lower ones are flooded.”

The mine finally closed in 1947 when miners downed their tools after learning they could earn more money shovelling snow.

It was eventually bought by Brian and Angela James in 1978 who operated it as a tourist attraction, complete with museum until 1998.

Mine owner Angela, 80, says she has spoken to the group who entered the mine when she spotted them on her land last month.

She said: “I think they are the first ones who have gone in there for about five years. I didn’t know they had taken photos, but they were most apologetic, they didn’t realise that it was private land.

“I don’t normally have a problem with trespassers. It is quite hard to find, I have let lots of fall down trees  near the entrance and you can’t see the entrance in the summer.”

Angela closed the mine off to the public after her husband Brian died.

She added: “I kept it on for about a year after, but you need two people to run something like that. It was a great pity because I do miss all that we had built up, but it was time to close.”

See full story in the Leader

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