A Brief Review of North Wales Branch Activities in 2010
The year had started with the pleasant surprise of the Branch receiving the award for the Association's best small branch in 2009, with Stonechat receiving special commendation.
Press coverage through the year was good with training in the Clwydian Range AoNB generating interest in the local papers. The Farm & Country section of the Daily Post had published a range of articles on our activities.
Training saw the establishment of a link with and grant from Clwydian Range AoNB. Overall there had been 18 Dry Stone Walling Training days (8 tasters 5 weekends). 39 different individuals had received training totalling 71 trainee days, in addition 2 people had totalled 6 practice days. In addition the Clawdd course had seen 5 trainees for 2 days (all from South Wales Branch), plus 2 members totalling 3 practice days. Overall total of 90 trainee days. A test day had been held at Tyddyn Isa Tal y Bont Bangor there had been 5 Initial passes.
There have been 3 guided walks one at our training site in Nant Ffrancon , another to Dorothea quarry, and one looking at various dry stone quarry structures related to the Slate industry in the Porthmadog area.
The Branch took a leading role in the onsite organisation of the Snowdonia Society competition which had attracted 18 entrants although only 4 Branch members entered with notable Branch success in all 3 classes. The Branch competition had moved temporarily to a new venue in Nant Peris weather interfered and there were only 12 entrants.
Displays and demonstrations outside of competition had been limited with organisational problems and weather curtailing the programme. Sean helped at RWS for a day, Craig had taken the display to 2 events and the boards had been at Conwy before and after the Clawdd course, with large leaflet uptake. A "Stonechat" display had been taken to the International Congress at Ambleside and the DSWA AGM in Northumberland.
The Branch had successfully applied for another CCW grant for a standards promotion, to produce separate bilingual standard guides to dry stone walling and clawdd construction, add to the display panels in this respect, develop a website in association with South Wales and to improve the Branch image through various banners, signs and a new marquee.
Dan Snows video had been shown in Brynrefail and to Prenteg Film Society along with a general talk. Other talks have been given to local FWAG and Caernarfon Round Table, Sean also made presentations at International Congress in Ambleside, and Stonework Symposium in California and had been invited again for 2011. These talks will form the hub of the winter talks programme.
Stonechat continues to develop and improve with 2 special editions produced for the congress.
DRY STONE WALLING ASSOCIATION
CYMDEITHAS WALIAU CERRIG SYCHION
Canghennau Gogledd a de Cymru
North and South Wales Branch
South Wales A Brief Report of 2010
The year started off with all good intentions and plans but low attendance at training days and poor weather at the Royal Welsh Show had its effect.
Training days were very poorly attended during spring & summer with only one or two people turning up at our training days, although there was a great improvement in September at Mynydd Illtyd, Libanus near Brecon where 10 trainees and 5 branch members attended. Although it rained on Saturday it didn't dampen the enthusiasm or effort with approximately 15 metres of walling taken down, with the footings and first lift put back. Sunday was a lot more pleasant day where through stones, second lift and copings were finished, the day ended at about 3.30pm and all involved enjoyed the course.
The Royal Welsh Show saw us build another bench and a small display wall, which was demonstrated in the morning and afternoon as part of a display. The stone was supplied by Rhys Bunford. The weather was not very kind to us again over the 4 days but as all good wallers we just got on with it, but it was nice to see Sean Adcock come down on the Tuesday from North Wales for a spot of stone walling in extremely wet conditions. Branch members met up, practiced some walling along with chatting and drinking lots of tea over the 4 days.
Pembrokeshire Show Haverfordwest was attended for the first time by the South Wales Branch, a 5 metre curved wall was built on the entrance to the showground using blue pennant stone supplied by Gwyrdd quarry of the Swansea valley. The Branch rated this show as very successful.
COMPETITIONS AND TRAINING
Vaynor Show Merthyr Tydfil 5 competitors took part in our competition with Sean Adcock winning the professional class while Stephen Meredith
took the amateur class. An information and display tent was put on the show field, but more effort must be put in for it to be a success next year. The Branch must support this show & competition more in the future as the show always supports the Branch
A Certification Test Week was held at the end of September at Mynydd Maen Common Newbridge, a successful test day was had in appalling weather conditions with 2 initial passes and 6 intermediate passes.
October saw 5 members of the branch travel to north Wales for a Clawdd course weekend; we stayed at Blaen y Nant Farmhouse what a beautiful place (check it out). The course was excellent we also had a guided tour of the walling at Blaen y Nant and a slide presentation in the evening, which was most enjoyable.
The year came to an end at our AGM in November with slight changes to the committee so for 2011. Things are looking good with one extra show to attend, The Smallholder & Garden Festival at Builth Wells on May 21/22. So keep clicking on and see how we are doing.