Clatchard Quarry

So there I was walking along the hill top at the back of Newburgh, along Ormiston Hill and Clatchard Craig to be precise, talking to the sheep and admiring the view.  That’s when I saw the signs … warning me of the quarry.  I’ve driven past it many times although you can’t really see the extent of it from the road. I’ve also heard the sirens blaring out warning that they’re about to blast the rock. It sounds a bit like an air raid warning – you get two warnings, then the explosions, then an all clear. Someone at the edge of the village told me they were sure they occasionally felt the earth tremble during the blasting. I’m not surprised, it is pretty close to the town.

Clatchard Quarry, run by Ennstone Thistle, is the only remaining working quarry in this area. Several others have been abandoned but I’ve yet to find those. They mine whinstone which is a very hard, dark, fine-grained rock like basalt.

Clatchard Craig means “Craig (crag) of the High Stone’ and refers to the fact that there used to be a high natural pillar of rock facing eastwards coming out of the hillside here. Before the quarry got underway there were a few archeological digs as this was once the site of an iron age, possibly Pictish, fort. There are no remains and the fort was probably destroyed by the Romans.

Although I did heed the warnings, I somehow managed to almost walk into the site. It was strangely photographic. I might even see if I can go in officially another day, borrow a hard hat and take some more photos of it at work. The most intriguing thing was the scale of it all. From the hilltop, everything looked like Dinky toys or a set from an animation film, but up close it all seemed so huge. The sounds were bizarre too. I heard this strange screeching sound, like the Tardis landing, but it was the digger slowly crawling up the road and scraping into the rock.

Of course, if you like quarries or industrial photos, you should follow the link to Edward Burtynsky’s work and view his photos from all over the world. His work is truly awesome.

~ by marysia on 3 June 2010.

One Response to “Clatchard Quarry”

  1. I love the way the sequence descends into the quarry. You should add “stone” to the tags!

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