Meet our fantastic tour guides!
As one of our longest serving tour guides he has for the last six generations all of the men in Phil’s family have worked at slate quarries and mines here in the Ffestiniog area. He has some fascinating stories that give real insight into how our communities lived and worked and of the dangers that the men faced.
Phil thinks it is really important to have local tour guides who can tell the mine’s story from the heart and not a book. By working here at Llechwedd he feels he is close to his ancestors and is helping to keep their story alive. Phil is proud of the fact that he is now also part of the same story.
Val has lived in the Blaenau Ffestiniog area for 15 years and joined Llechwedd as a tour guide 2 years ago, this is her third season! she is absolutely passionate about the social history and heritage of the slate industry. Her children’s great-grandmother was actually born on Llechwedd’s site – the family’s former home is now used as Zip World’s kitting up area.
Val’s children have direct links with the quarries as their paternal family has worked in the Ffestiniog area for five generations. Many of the men in the family died of silicosis, a common condition amongst miners, associated with inhaling slate dust.
Altogether Rich has been working at Llechwedd for over 35 years. He began working in the quarry at the early age of 15, starting his apprenticeship in the mill. Rich then went on to work in the mill at Llechwedd for twenty years, producing roofing tiles.
In 2013, Rich joined Llechwedd Quarry Tours as a tour guide where he loves being able to pass on his great knowledge and passion for the history of the slate industry. If you’re lucky he might even teach you how to split your very own slate.
Many of the men in Shane’s family, including his father, have worked in the slate industry in the Ffestiniog area. As a teenager Shane did his work experience at Llechwedd, and – although his father was set against it – went on to work as a driver in one of the local quarries. He subsequently took a job at the Miner’s Arms pub at Llechwedd. He enjoys a good old sing especially underground where his voice is amplified 10 fold.
After his father died Shane found that working in Llechwedd made him feel closer to his dad and other family members. Shane thinks it is really important to talk about the remarkable men who worked in the mines and what their labour and courage achieved.
Mike Jones has been working as tour guide at Llechwedd since March 2015. His work here has moved him all over the park with many roles to fill. When Mike is giving tours to visitors his tours are very factual although, there is a little bit of humour to keep children interested and feel involved.