It was Friday the 15th, but it felt like Friday the 13th as the rain became heavier and we drove down little country lanes looking for “la Igloo“, the restaurant where we were meeting for lunch, before going to our visit to Souterroscope Ardoisières. The water running down the road from the restaurant car park resembled a small river. However, once in-side and divested of waterproofs and umbrellas we were greeted by the owner and his wife and shown to the prepared table. The food was very good and, enjoyed with good company, cheered us up no end.
At Souterroscope Ardoisières, the weather continued to do its worst to dampen our spirits. We donned hard hats and set off, in small groups at 10 min-ute intervals. Every 100 metres, there were stopping points where, in better weather, you would stop to listen to informa-tion about the site and how, over millennia, it had become what it is now. Needless to say, after the first we abandoned the educational spiel to get down to the entrance to the tunnels, where we could get out of the rain.
The tunnel led to caverns, where the miners, starting at the top, had extracted the slate. As one level was removed, they carried on down forming vast caverns. These had been lit and water spouts installed to make a quite dramatic visualisation.
At other caverns, the story of the slate mining was shown in old black and white film, projected on to screens. This gave you the feeling of looking back in time to the same place in a different era.
The last cavern was devoted to exhibits of minerals and semi-precious stones found in the earth (not necessarily on this site).
Back outside, the rain was still falling. All in all, an enjoyable trip.
“You don’t need a weather man to know which way the rain falls”