Continuing our study of the deserted farms and dwellings around the ardal Nasereth/Nebo area is this look at a slightly larger structure, Tal-eithin uchaf. It's to be found off the road, but on a public footpath below Maen-y-gaseg. This area is a fascinating post-industrial landscape of quarry tips, scrub and birch re-colonisation - and of course, ruined farms and dwellings. Because of the stunning views and the rural nature of the former industry, the scene is never less than picturesque. An excellent map can be found on the Visit Snowdonia site here . Footpaths can be hard to locate and are often impossible to follow without local knowledge- I found this really excellent blog, "News from the Big Field"which has a handy description of the paths around Tal-eithin uchaf.
The farm lies a mile or so above one of the quarry pits in the South Nantlle series, Fron Heulog, later incorporated into the Nant-y-Fron operation, which was working in 1840. It was a source of the famous rich green Nantlle slate.
The ruins are obviously the remains of a proper farm rather than a simple smallholding or "Tyddyn". The house was an imposing structure, surrounded by steadings which included a pig-sty and a cow byre. A look at the NLS database and the Caernarvonshire XX.SE sheet for 1880 shows the farm clearly- but according to the parish records of St Rhedyw. Llanllyfni, a William Williams was born in the house, (1759 - 1834) and married Margaret Roberts (1756-1832). They had five children and the last entry for the house that I have found gives 1953. The WLS census archive shows two sons working at the quarry in 1881.
As always, exploring and photographing a place like this is a bitter sweet experience. You are only too aware that each stone of the crumbling walls was placed by someone impossible to trace or record. There are still echoes of habitation; the fireplace, a window seat, some slate slabs from the kitchen. Overall is a sense of blankness and loss, not just for the house, but for the stories, hopes and lives of the folk who lived there. I looked out on the stunning view from the front window and imagined others looking out in the same way. It always reminds me of how insignificant my own life is- but also how lucky I am to have seen this place and been able to appreciate it.