Going underground

On a visit to Amlwch during my recent Anglesey holiday I found out that it’s possible, with the aid of an experienced guide, to explore some of the many miles of passages and caves underneath Parys mountain. I’ve walked round the mountain (above ground) a couple of times and found it to be an amazing and fascinating place so to be able to explore underground would be a brilliant experience. Unfortunately I couldn’t take the opportunity when I found out about it as pre-booked visits only take place on Wednesdays and I was a day too late, however I’m seriously thinking about doing it next year.
The following is taken from the underground group’s website and the information sheet I got while at Amlwch –
Only visitors with valid British Caving Association third party insurance may enter the mine. If you are not a caver with this insurance you can join the group as a temporary member at a cost of £10 per person; this will provide BCA insurance for the trip as well as allowing the use of our club caving lamps, helmets and belts. Personal insurance is not covered by the group and must be arranged by each individual.
The mine is much as it was when abandoned 100-150 years ago – it is not a sanitised show cave. There is no lighting other than that provided by a headlamp, and there are areas of obvious hazard, deep and acidic pools and steep drops, but with due care the usual visitor route is safe. The passages are muddy and frequently uneven with some water on the floor. Visitors must be at least 17 years of age and physically fit as the trip involves areas of restricted height, some steep areas, short crawls and climbing a number of unprotected wooden and metal ladders up to 25ft long. 
Due to the acidity and secondary ochre deposits wellingtons, gloves and a boiler suit should be worn; wellingtons rather than boots are recommended as some areas are above ankle deep in water. You should allow around 3 hours to complete the tour and return to the car park.
The more I look at the photos on the group’s website the more I want to do this – I just hope they take individuals and I don’t have to be part of a group. I’ll be making some enquiries soon and if I get the answers I’m hoping for then I’ll really have something to look forward to on my Anglesey holiday next year. Bring it on!

12 thoughts on “Going underground

    1. I certainly will Eileen. My only worry will be leaving the dogs in the van for so long, but the tours are done in the evenings when it will be a bit cooler so in a shady spot with the blinds up and plenty of ventilation they should be ok – they would just curl up and sleep until I got back 🙂


  1. Aargh, getting claustrophobia just reading this! When I met John he was a keen caver. I went with him a couple of times, but the third time I saw the tiny passageway I was expected to crawl through and bolted. I’m ok in show caves and mines, but this sounds a bit too enclosed for me (plus I’ve lost most of the flexibility I had in my 20s).


  2. I had a great experience visiting caves in South Africa several years ago. Admittedly they had been set up as a tourist attraction so the passages were lit at intervals most of the way round, but there were still several places where you had to crawl or slide along or bend almost double to get through. One of the best bits was the Post Box, a slit in the passage wall about 4ft up – you had to post yourself through it head first, not knowing what was on the other side where it was really dark. It was ok though as the floor was only a couple of feet down on that side. There were several obstacles along the route, including a very long almost vertical Jacob’s Ladder and The Chimney, so narrow that anyone of more than average build would never get up it. On completion of the course you got a certificate to say you’d done it – it was a brilliant experience and I’d love to go there again 🙂


  3. That’s just made me laugh Jayne. I have a friend who quite frequently tells me I’m mad but that’s the first time someone I’ve never met before has told me 🙂 🙂 I mentioned it to my son the other day and he said “If that’s what you want to do Mum then you go for it” – I don’t think anything I do surprises him any more 🙂


  4. I spent 13 years visiting Coal Mines all over the UK. A few of them had acidic waters too. I found your post most interesting but I could not bring myself to make the visit ! Prefer the East coast villages and Newborough Forest when we visit Anglesey ! Must visit the surface at the mine area though. Thanks for a great blog.


  5. There are some pics of Parys mountain here –


    I took those three years ago but I went back on the last morning of this holiday and took some more. I’m still in the process of updating the blog but I’ll be putting some of the mountain photos on soon. It’s well worth a visit and a walk round, the colours are amazing especially in the sunshine when the light makes them more intense 🙂


  6. So do I, but having explored the mountain above ground and researched the history of it, it would be nice to see what’s below the surface – plus it’ll be something different to do on my holiday 🙂


  7. That sounds exciting and fun, Eunice. More than several years ago, the Husband and I, with friends, did an underground tour of a once-upon-a-time mine. It was amazing. I felt for the miners, appreciated what they did, and glad that was not my fate.


  8. This underground mine was first created in the late 1700s using just picks, shovels and gunpowder – the working conditions must have been horrendous so it will be interesting to see just what it’s like down there.


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