Arianne relaxes after scaling the broken dam at Dolgarrog*
Arianne relaxes after scaling the broken dam at Dolgarrog

Halfway along the Conwy Valley, on the west side of the river, is the village of Dolgarrog - a long line of houses strung out along the road, with a shabby shop or two. On the other side of the road is the reason for the town's existence: a huge aluminium factory.

At one time aluminium was the rarest metal on earth, so rare and precious that it was even used for making royal crowns! Then came electricity and the discovery that aluminium could be easily and cheaply produced by fused-salt ectrolysis. Aluminium went from crowns to saucepans in one swift leap.

The cheapest electricity is, of course, hydro-electricity, and the aluminium works constructed a dam and system of feeder canals to drain the hills above the village and channel the water down through huge pipes to a couple of turbines. Unfortunately, for reasons best known to themselves, they built the dam on a foundation of peat, with the inevitable result that the dam burst and swept the village away.

Well, that's the story of Dolgarrog. Join Arianne and Jamie as they climb the steep hill to view the remains of the dam.

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