After a short climb you will encounter a wall of slate on your right with yet another archway. Walk under this and veer up the bank to your left where you will reach a plateau scattered with abandoned mining equipment.
The climb from the start of the path to this point takes around 15-minutes depending on how many sight-seeing (rest) stops you take.
The entrance to the Blue Lake is through a short low tunnel (20 metres or so), which is always wet, to your right.
Don’t be put-off at this point, as we were initially, by the apparent depth of the water. There are plenty of stepping stones and the odd plank to walk on, and even if you do manage to slip-off, the water is only an inch or less deep. A far greater hazard is the unforgiving tunnel roof – keep your head down. Further in to the tunnel, you will encounter the remains of the narrow gauge track built to transport the mined slate.
Is the Blue Lake Really Blue?
The tunnel finishes at the Blue Lake, a water-filled excavated cavity, and yes, the water really is a vivid blue. As the colour is due to the dissolved natural minerals — copper sulphate according to my source (please see comments section for my researcher credit) — it does not matter if you visit the lake on an overcast day or, as we did, when the sun has got his hat on. If there are no bathers, you will be struck, not only by the water’s colour, but also by its calmness with scarcely a ripple visible – the lake being protected from the elements on all four sides by steep walls.
The lake is crystal-clear and you can see 5-6 metres down before the light gives way to the shadows. Rumoured to be bottomless, the more savvy reckon it is no more than 12-metres deep but this is still sufficient for the lake to maintain its own population of small fish; however, the lake is not devoid of mystery: it has its very own WiFi hot-spot. Have no idea where the signal comes from but we were able to post four photographs of the lake to our Facebook page in under 3-seconds! We sat around 10-metres from the water’s edge to the right of the tunnel entrance. Let us know if the WiFi signal is still there when you visit.
When you leave the lake, back through the tunnel, follow a path to your left which will lead you up a slope enabling you to gaze on the lake from above. Here you will find a few more mining relics together with one or two ankle snapping crevices. On the north- and south-side of the cavern an outward boundsey group have riveted abseiling anchor points enabling a more direct route down to the Blue Lake. On the north-side there is also a hobbit hut constructed from slate.
Remember that this was a working quarry area so there are steep embankments and cliff edges; if you have young children with you, then bear this in mind.
Now that I have whetted your appetite, here are a few images of the Blue Lake and the surrounding area.
Very Brief History of Goleuwern Quarry
The quarry was opened in 1867 and operated until 1920. The Blue Lake was filled deliberately to act as a reservoir for an abandoned scheme to provide Fairbourne with electric lighting.
The ‘Secret Britain’ effect
This site isn’t the most popular on the world wide web. We don’t get many visitors. But at 10:45 ish on the morning of the 5th November 2016 we had a sudden rush. And I just happened to be looking at my Google Analytics page! I spotted 2 or 3 visitors on the Blue Lake Blog. We then got 4, then 5, then 9 and so on. It peaked at 26. As I said, we don’t get many visitors. 26 is a world record for us.
What could have caused all the fuss? I had an inkling. I switched on the TV and flicked through the channels. And there it was: ‘Secret Britain’ was being shown on BBC 2! If you missed it, catch it on catch up. The Blue Lake stars in episode 2.
Hopefully, some of our visitors will be inspired to visit the Blue Lake for themselves. It’s definitely worth the walk. And if you do, please leave a comment below. I’m especially interested to learn about the history of the mine and so if you have any insights you can share please let me know.
A Selection of Other Places to Visit
The Dolgoch Falls are just 4-miles from the beaches of Tywyn and are one of the stops for the Talyllyn Railway. Apart from the falls themselves there are other sights to take in. For all the intel, visit our guide to the Dolgoch Falls.
Castell y Bere is the largest native Welsh castle ever built. Now little more than an ruin, it is hard to imagine how the castle would have looked in its pomp, but if there is a more atmospheric spot for a castle, then I haven’t seen it. Visit our guide to Castell y Bere for more information including how to get there.