With a morning of freedom at my disposal before starting work today I used it to visit the Dolaucothi Gold Mine [nationaltrust.org.uk]. The unusual combination of shale and quartz on this spot has been attracting people here to mine gold for around 2000 years. The Romans started things off and it was then left, undiscovered until Victorian times, when mining resumed. By the 1930s the quartz containing the prized flakes of gold was being shipped off to Germany where they had the technology to extract the precious metal with arsenic. This arrangement ceased in 1938 thanks to the imminent war and mining at Dolaucothi ended for good that year. Today visitors are welcomed to the mine and I went on both of the guided tours on offer, exploring both the Victorian drift mine and the Roman tunnels. It's not a place suitable for those who suffer from claustrophobia but I found it fascinating, even if it was somewhat challenging to take photos in near darkness at times!