Silver Mountain Experience Day Out
I promised I’d take Morgan to the Silver Moutnain Experience during the school holidays, and yesterday was the day.
The Silver Mountain Experience is the re-vamped Llywernog Silver-Lead Mine, a mine that stopped working in the early 1900’s and has been a visitor attraction as an historic mine and mining museum since 1973. It has recently been revamped and rebranded as the ‘Silver Mountain Experience’ and is now advertised more as a theme park with lots to do including a scary ‘Black Chasm’ tour.
We got there not long after opening on a breezy day with sunshine and showers, had a nice welcome and set off exploring the various things on offer. It was nice and quiet to start with so we had the panning area to ourselves, took a look at some of the old mining techniques and wandered up to ‘Woohoo Wood’.
Woohoo wood is a small area of conifers with a few little notice boards containing information about made up creatures that live in the area. Things such as Ding Bats and Grovels. Morgan had a little quiz sheet so we had to find the answers to those questions on these notice boards. It didn’t take too long to do. The only thing that took a while was looking for the final umbrella in the trees, but we later discovered that this had gone missing so wasn’t actually there. No wonder we couldn’t find it! The so called ‘maze’ was a bit of a disappointment as it’s just a few bits of netting in an area no bigger than our lounge, and the fact that you can see through the netting makes it less of a maze than it could be.
There’s a room with an 8 minute film about the mining history in the area and a few old mining relics to visit just beyond the woods. It was then approaching 11:30 so we headed back to the main building where we were to join the Black Chasm Tour. This is where we were ‘greeted’ by an Orc who then proceeded to take us on the tour. This involved being shouted at and generally abused by the ‘Orc’ as he guided us through some old mining tunnels lined with skeletons and such like all with some attempts at humour thrown in. It is billed as being scary and rated about the same as a 12A film. Morgan (7 years old) was certainly a little scared at times, but more from the fact that the Orc might shout at him and tell him to do something he didn’t want to do than by the ‘scary’ artefacts. He wasn’t particularly keen on the bit that was in complete darkness for a while either but afterwards said that it was the best bit. For me it was just all a little awkward having to play along with the Orc, pretending to be his human slave whilst following him through the mines – that we didn’t really get to see much of – whilst at the same time trying to make sure that Morgan was happy. It was OK and a bit of fun but I can’t see myself going back to do it again. Morgan says he wants to do it again for his birthday, although I think that is just to scare his friends.
After the Black Chasm tour we wandered around a bit more and went into a short mine tunnel that we were allowed to explore. Only the first 50 yards or so of this was lit though and once it got completely dark we couldn’t really go any further. We than had a picnic lunch in the sunshine followed by a coffee and ice cream in the little cafe there before heading back to the silver panning area. This was the best bit really. They have a bucket full of gravel, a little stream of water and some panning pans that we can use to look for various minerals. We found some bits of pyrite, galena and haematite and the very fine silt at the bottom of the pan was virtually all silver or lead. There is also a little network of water channels that were used for filtering out metals. Morgan enjoyed damming these and diverting the water so we played with these for a while too.
All in all it was a nice day out and we had fun together, but it isn’t quite the ‘theme park’ that it is billed as.