Another Blackburn Hamlet spot; the greatest of them all in my opinion. The quarry on Bearbrook Road came to be from Lafarge, a France-based mining company, blasting large segments of rock with dynamite for concrete extraction. After years of doing so, it has resulted in a breathtakingly huge quarry, with a small (in comparison) but growing blue body of water at the bottom.
Because Lafarge still owns the quarry, access is considered trespassing. This doesn't stop teenagers from finding a way in for a swim in the summer, and it didn't stop my friends and I from hopping a six-foot-high spiked fence to get onto Lafarge property, and begin our short walk to the edge of the quarry. After hopping the fence, we found a semi-clear path straight ahead that leads to the quarry, forest to our left, and backyards to our right. This can make going to the quarry an awkward experience; you may be reported to the police for trespassing, or you might just receive a friendly greeting. Thankfully, we got an awkward hello. After a bit of bushwacking, we found the path opens up wide to about the width of a car, and what looks like tire tracks are visible up until the quarry. When you finally reach the edge, you get a full view of the quarry and all its glory.
Trekking down to the bottom takes awhile, as all the feasible paths spiral from top to bottom. My friends and I took a shortcut by cautiously sliding down half of the way on a dangerously steep, rocky decline. One small slip, and we would have had a harsh tumble of about 100 feet until we hit flat ground. After reaching the path unscathed and walking along the spiral for about 10 more minutes, we had reached the bottom. All around us were cliffs, rocky edges, and giant mounds of gravel. We fooled around for some time before we heard a voice in the distance, and decided that we had better leave before we get into trouble. We jogged up along the path, and climbed the steep rocky slope that we had descended from. We reached the top and gave the quarry a tired but satisfied last look.
The quarry's vastness is captivating in both a beautiful and sad way. On one hand, the immensity is humbling. Being around something so large makes you feel small, in that good way that some things in nature do. But on the other hand, sometimes I look down from the top and see a pit that represents humankind's spoiling of the Earth through mining, deforestation, and pollution. I often wonder what would be in the quarry's place had it never existed.
Photo Credit: Adam Brown