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We walked the entire Orange route yesterday with ease so today we felt like challenging something longer. We studied the map and decided to start from the north side of green route and connect to purple route to visit the miner’s village. Purple route is long but flat and categorized as easy. It has 0 difficulty therefore is very ideal for the lazy pair.
Of course we got up for breakfast. We had breakfast cereals, toast and jam and some fruity yogurt.
Heading out from our hotel and following the north side of the Green route, we soon began to walk on the boardwalk featuring at this part of the route. The weather was better than yesterday, warmer and sunnier.
We had only begun to walk for about 20 minutes and he’s already stripping off?
The view of the north side of the Green route is totally different from that of the south. Though two sides both thread along the Lower Lake, south side’s route is surrounded by trees. You sort of have a tunnel vision when walking in it and feel embraced by nature. The boardwalk on the north side leads you to an open view which you can see the grassland in the valley and the mountains in the distance. You’d also have a better view of the Lower Lake.
We were reaching the Lower Lake here and you could spot sheep munching on the grass. Because the sun was so strong most of them stayed in the shades of trees. After that you’d go through a small patch of woodland and reach the southern edge of the Upper Lake. If you don’t want to continue west, you can stop here and go about the lake, heading back to the visitor center by the south side of the green route. This way you complete the entire Green route.
Starting from here the landscape begin to change from lower trees and grassland to tall, pine trees. Though we can’t really feel the drastic change, I think the elevation is constantly climbing as we walked towards the west.
The purple route begins around here, it continues along the lake all the way to the end.
I felt small when walking on this route, the trees were just so tall. It is very pleasant to have a stroll here, too. Sunshine, scattering through the tree leaves, gently sprinkled on you while breezes slightly brushed against your face, it felt so nice. A lot of people brought their pets here to have a run as well.
We walked for about 50 minutes and finally reached the end of the Upper Lake, here we saw a golden retriever playing at the shore with its owners. I am so jealous! Where is my dog? My french bull? My blue heeler? (I really want to keep a dog.)
After passing the wetland at the edge of the Upper Lake, you begin to walk on a trail with open views and without any trees or shades overhead.
As we reaching the miner’s village, the side of the hills began to get rocky and full of debris. The number and amount grew bigger as we got closer, it seemed to be what was left here during the mining time.
The spoil heaps left from the mining industry were massive. It was actually a bit intimidating walking along the debris. It felt like the rocks could fall down any minute.
Here is the miner’s village. You can see a string running through this area and some ruins.
We discovered that the river is filled with beautiful rocks!
Judging by the colors and texture, it tells us how rich the mineral here is. The Wicklow Mountains have a rich mining history. Copper was mined in Avoca, and lead was mined in Glendalough.
這一帶之所以有豐富的礦資源，得從四千兩百萬年前說起，威克洛山脈的形成就是因為兩個巨大的板塊碰撞、相互擠壓、向上推擠。地表下的大量岩漿也被向上推擠，但是岩漿並沒有噴出地面，而是在地底逐漸冷卻、凝固，形成了花崗岩。岩漿在冷卻的過程中，和附近的岩石（圍岩）相熔，產生可能的物理、化學變化（像是蝕變、 熔結或是冷凝後產生的結晶等等） ，進而生成種類不同的礦物，就威克洛這裡的天然條件，最後得到的就是鉛、鋅、銀礦等等。
If we are going to understand why this area is abundant in minerals, we have to talk a bit about history and geography. 420 million years ago, two tectonic plates collided. The area that is now Co. Wicklow, buckled and twisted, and a large batholith of molten magma was squeezed up. The magma did not break the surface, but cooled slowly underground, to form granite. At the edge of the magma, where it met the overlying rocks, minerals formed – lead, zinc, silver and others.
However the story did not end here, over the following 420 million years, the overlying rocks were eroded, exposing the granite that now forms much of the Wicklow Mountains. Where the granite meets the mica-schist, the minerals became the target for a mining industry that operated between 1800 and 1963.
最早在１７９８年，一位叫做湯瑪士維福的工程師，在這附近建造軍事用路時，發現格倫達山河谷的上游山脈有鉛礦。 接著１８０９年開始，挖礦公司開始開挖他們發現的第一條礦脈，但是這條名為陸加諾爾（ Luganure ）的礦脈挖到１８２０年左右，挖礦公司覺得獲利不夠高，就停止挖礦、關閉礦場。
In 1798, Thomas Weaver, an engineer working on the development of the Military Road, discovered lead in the hills above Glendasan Valley. By 1809 mining had begun and the first vein to be exploited was Luganure. By 1820, the mine had ceased to be profitable, and it was closed and sold.
多年以後，愛爾蘭挖礦公司（ Mining Company of Ireland, M.C.I.）於１８２４年，買下陸加諾爾 礦脈，重新開挖了６６年，這段時間的獲利起起伏伏，但是大抵來說這個礦脈是有讓他們賺到錢的，他們在這裡總共挖到了５萬噸鉛、２．５萬盎司的銀，是愛爾蘭當時最重要的鉛脈。大多數的挖礦工程圍繞在格倫達山河谷的上方，總共有八條礦道。
A few years later, in 1824, the Mining Company of Ireland (M.C.I.), purchased the Luganure Mine and worked it for the next 66 years. During this period profits fluctuated, but as a whole, the mines prospered, extracting 50,000 tonnes of lead and 25,000 ounces of silver, making it the most important lead mine in Ireland at the time. Most of the exploitation took place above the Glendasan Valley where eight tunnels were worked.
During the following years several attempts were made to discover new veins, particularly in the 1960s, but nothing of note was discovered. Mining the Luganure mines became no longer viable. In 1963 the Mining Company met for the last time, ending 163 years of mining in the area.
Mining in the valley thus became history and was left in the past. These wreckage and ruins are the only things still stand here. Looking at these gravels and stones, it makes you wander how it might be for those miners to work so diligently here day and night just to bring food to the table. Mining is a high risk occupation, the working environment isn’t friendly nor always safe. A miner’s average life expectancy was 42 years. Lung diseases and lead poisoning were the main causes of death. Due to the fissured nature of the rock, the risk of collapse was always present. In 1825 two miners were trapped for 33 hours after an adit in which they were working collapsed. On hearing the news, a team from other mines came to assist the trapped men. In its 163 year history only three fatalities were recorded as a result of accidents. Lung diseases and lead poisoning were much more of a threat to these miners life expectancy.
The only sound you hear when standing in the valley is the wind gushing through the cracks of the ruins. Those who were here are no longer in sight, and those are still here, are passengers like us who can only imagine what once was.
After walking around the miner’s village, we began to turn back to where we came from.
As we turned around, this village behind us will also become a part of our memory.
After a whole day’s walking, we were starving. We had finished our instant noddles therefore we went to a local pub for dinner this evening. This was also our last evening here in the Park.
Someone ordered ribs and looked very excited!
I ordered penne with prawns and some kind of sauce. We ended this day with a lovely dinner.
I think the Wicklow Mountains National Park is truly a ideal vacation destination for family, couples and groups of friends. The nine trails in the Park are varied in difficulty, you always have options to go from just strolling or hard-core hiking and each trial has its own landscape and feature. If you plan to see animals in the wild, the chances are high to spot red deer and all sorts of birds. People who enjoy photography will find the Park a resourceful location, you’ve got mountains and lakes. In Summer you can capture the lush and green of the forest and in Winter you can frame a picture of the gloomy Spinc.
It was an extremely relaxing trip to us, it didn’t exhaust us too much however still guaranteed some good exercise. I concur the Wicklow Mountain National Park is a great place to spend your holiday days.
部分資料參考自 威克洛山脈國家公園官方網站 Reference: the official website of the Wicklow Mountains National Park
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