Cambodia has Angkor Wat, Jordan has Petra and Unesco may soon add the slate landscape of Snowdonia to its heritage list. We walk its old miners’ trails
‘It’s a new Machu Picchu!” I cried to my companion as we crested a high pass and gazed down. In a secret mountain fastness lay the remains of an ancient village. A grid of streets passed silent dwellings. Further below, two Nazca-straight lines led past a decaying temple. We were 21st-century Hiram Binghams. I could already hear Kirsty Young asking me what my first disc would be.
I was a little wide of the mark. We had climbed around 770-metre Moelwyn Mawr mountain from the tiny village of Croesor, and what we’d stumbled across were, in fact, the mouldering ruins of Rhosydd slate mine. The dwellings were terraces of workers’ cottages. The Nazca-like lines were a half-buried tramway that rolled past a crumbling Methodist chapel rather than a temple dedicated to Apu-punchau.