The Manganese mine at Benallt, Rhiw, was on the western side of the mountain under where the radar station stands today, and it was mined on and off from about 1840 to 1946. In 1900 it was decided to build a jetty at Hells Mouth, and a cable car was added to take the ore the mile or so over the village, and down the steep hill to the sea, transporting the ore to England and even Europe could be undertaken far more efficiently this way. This was a huge investment for a small company, and a lot of fingers would be burnt if the venture failed. 

"Rhiw Jetty"

The jetty which was situated between Rhuol and Graig Ddu, operated efficiently and without mishaps, for four years, until the night of August the fifth 1904, when the Belgian 474 ton coaster "Ganda" arrived to load ore for Antwerp. Ships would sometimes anchor for days till the swell and wind would be low enough for loading, and it was nice and still when she came alongside in early evening. But during the night the wind came up and the ‘Ganda’ broke from her moorings, and one of her ropes tangled around her propeller, as her captain tried to get his ship away from the jetty, and she drifted helplessly on to the rocky ashore. The following day, the line was cleared and she steamed away, heading for a safe anchorage at St. Tudwal’s Islands Abersoch. Unfortunately, before she got half way across Hells Mouth she was found to be leaking badly, so she returned to the pier where she grounded on a stony seabed, split her hull, and filled with seawater.  

On a humorous note. The foreman of the jetty was ordered by the mine owners to raise the "Ganda" from her watery grave, but this poor chap knew less about salvaging sunken ships, than I know about breeding haggis!!!! and within a week he'd been sacked. To pass the time, he started frequenting the Ty Newydd Inn, at Sarn, and when someone asked him why he'd been  fired, he replied "Because I couldn't empty Hells Mouth"

Lloyd’s List

 9/8/1904 Ganda owners superintendent due here to report.

Lloyd’s List August 8th. The steamer Ganda of Gent, for Antwerp with manganese ore, while lying at Rhiw Jetty, broke her moorings on the night of August 5th, got a rope round her propeller and drifted ashore. After clearing propeller, vessel got off next day and proceeded for St. Tudwals Islands. Soon afterwards, she was found to be making so much water that she was beached in Hell’s Mouth to prevent sinking. Crew safely landed.

Lloyd’s List August 9th. Estimate cargo 500 tons. Bound Antwerp. Stranded off Rhiw, Hell’s Mouth. Head inshore, exposed SES to SW weather. Sitting on level, sandy ground. Captain reports vessel having bumped on stony ground when she broke adrift from loading jetty. At 4 hours ebb tide, water in hold 20’ higher than outside level. When high tide, reaches about 3’ below afterdeck.



ganda_prop_rudder.jpg (31866 bytes)

Photograph of Ganda's rudder and propeller taken by Chris Holden in June 2005.

Footnote. When we had lobster pots on this wreck, the lobsters bellies were always bright red, and we presumed it was because of the rusty steel plates of the Ganda.


Chris Holdens book  'The Essential Underwater Guide to North Wales. Volume One. Barmouth to South Stack'.

Published by Calgo Publications.  www.calgopublications.co.uk 

For details of stockists and mail order.

Paul Kay is a friend of Chris  who lives in Llanfairfechan and is a professional underwater photographer. 

Check Paul's site at www.marinewildlife.co.uk


As always, a big thanks to Chris Holden, for all his help, and sharing his knowledge with us.

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