Snowdonia Champions First Group Leader Visit


Eight Community Champions spent a weekend in the stunning scenery of Nant Gwynant in the heart of Snowdonia, starting with coffee and cakes at the famous Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel, training base for the Hillary and Tensing team which conquered Everest 60 years ago.

Storyteller Twm Elias, a National Trust farm visit, walks and, under the direction of the Snowdonia Society,  a chance to clear some invasive rhododendron all helped the group to discover more about Wales’ largest national park and inspire others to visit.

Community Champion Brian Almond gives his impressions of the weekend:

Coming on this trip was to say the least, a challenge, an unknown quantity, which could go any way.  Luckily, everything went fine and we had a lovely day the first day, meeting the nice farmer at the National Trust farm, Hafod-y-Llan, where we were shown around and saw many animals and new methods of saving energy which was quite fascinating.

They were using the new technical knowledge.  Solar cells use photovoltaics to convert sunlight directly into electricity by converting photons (light particles) into electrons (negatively charged particles). They were using water from the side of the mountain to make electricity too. One system was making 17kw 24/7 which is selling electricity to the grid. A new one with much wider pipes will make more than 200kw 24/7. This will bring in a tidy income and means they don’t have any electric bills.

Half the group went up Watkin path to go in the direction of the summit of Snowdon and the group who were not into mountain climbing went to Beddgelert for a stroll around the village and a short walk to the Grave of Gelert, the dog who was killed by LLwyellyn back in history. It was such a sunny day which helped a lot with both the climbers and the walkers.  We all ate our packed lunches provided by the Bryn Gwynant YHA and slowly made our way back to the hostel.

The people at the Bryn Gwynant hostel were very pleasant and helpful and we had a good time chatting with the other guests. We had a good quiz in the evening before going off to our rooms.

The next day was not so nice as it had already began to rain before we had breakfast, but with our chins up we decided to battle the weather and go for the battering of the rhododendron bushes. We cleared a lot of bushes and it was fun too.  I think it should be incorporated into other weekend activities. It was like paying back for the use of the land and being a part of the nature.

Brian is a Community Champion with the Mosaic project in Wales, which runs in partnership with the three Welsh National Park Authorities and the YHA. The project is funded by the Big Lottery People and Places fund.