Continuing with my Neolithic theme, caving has become a popular outdoor pursuit in the Lake District and North Wales, and many of the old mines and caves beneath the breath-taking surface which we associate with the area can now be explored. Caving in the Lake District and North Wales offers the chance for visitors to experience guided tours and see for themselves the wonders of the underworld.
The Lake District and North Wales is just as spectacular on the inside as it is on the outside. They are home to a host of stunning underground caves for you to explore. It is hard to imagine that many of the hillsides around Cumbria and Snowdon and the Lake District National Park and Snowdonia National Park, used to be once the home to cave men and miners in large numbers, and that many still contain the old abandoned entrances to once highly productive mines.
Sadly many of these mines and caves are now lost, never to be entered again, but some do still provide the opportunity for a safe exploration under expert guidance and the scenery and environment inspires me to paint the landscapes you see below.
Under the guidelines of the British Caving Association, any mining trip in the UK must be carried out only in venues which have been inspected by the BCA’s appointed Mining Engineer; as such we there are a number of venues in Cumbria and Gwynedd which we can take guided trips into.
Coniston area is one of my favourite places
Here we have the old Coniston Copper mines, Horse Level. The hillside below the Old Man of Coniston is riddled with mines, many started by Neolithic man searching for flint and continuing on with human evolution of the search for flint and ore, intersecting each other leading to vast workings, which saw the employment of many locals and incomers over the many thousands of centuries.
In Gwynedd and Snowdonia we have the famous Blaenau Ffestinog mines.
The trips underground enables the visitor, under guidance and instruction to experience the harsh working conditions of the miners and learn about the skills used to win the Flint, Malachite, Copper Ore, from the surrounding rock, which in turn was turned into Copper.
The areas hillside, lake and sea shores of these areas are littered with humans mining activity and my pictures I hope evoke the history that shaped man.