A wonderful day was had by all in the beautiful Elan Valley near Rhayader on Sunday. Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water very kindly offered to host an Away Day and at around 11am, a coach and two cars with around 60 people arrived. The group represented a plethora of nationalities (and language abilities!) and included families with children.
The Elan Valley catering team put together a lovely lunch, which everybody ate on the picnic benches in the sun, which were adjacent to a fantastic playground that the children loved. After lunch, the coach took the group to Pen-y-garreg dam from which there was the possibility of walking back after seeing the dam. Some of the group (especially those with small children) decided to head back for an afternoon of children’s activities (Al and Meg did a fantastic job of entertaining the families and looking after the children). The group that wanted to walk back to the visitor centre were treated to a rare tour through the atmospheric access tunnel (lit only by apertures) to the central tower. The walk back to the Visitor Centre took around 1.5-2 hours and was a relaxing time filled with chatter and picture taking. It is no surprise that many people slept on the coach journey back to Swansea!
The warm welcome, sunshine, spectacular views and activities ensured that the day was incredibly memorable for everybody involved. One of the ladies said that she had grown up in a rural area and she misses nature – coming to Elan Valley made her feel free and happy whereas in Swansea she often feels like she is in prison. Many people commented upon the beautiful scenery and how happy they felt to be there (also apparent through the multiple photos being snapped). One man said he didn’t know there was anywhere more beautiful than Rhossili! The families also had a wonderful time – the children loved the notepads and pens that Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water had kindly donated and they had a fantastic time doing arts and crafts with Meg and Al and playing in the play area.
We would just like to say a big thank you to all the fantastic people that helped on the day – all of the staff at Elan Valley – especially Ed (Area Land Manager) and Ellen for the fantastic tour through the dam and the scenic walk, Al and Meg for entertaining the families, and Steve and his team for the super catering (and providing a gluten free meal at no notice whatsoever!). A big thank you to the Elan Valley Trust for funding the transport and trustee (and HBTSR group member) Andrew for initiating the visit. We are also very grateful to Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water for hosting the day and providing so many thoughtful extras (in addition to the delicious lunch), such as the lovely water bottles and notepads for which there was much gratitude. A big thank you also to Unity in Diversity and the Swansea Bay Asylum Seekers Group and the volunteers, Nick and Adele, who accompanied the group. Lastly – thank you also to HBTSR group members Ailsa, Andrew, Margaret, Penny and Jo for helping out on the day.