As some know, as well as working for MWT, Phil & I also run 2 studio apartments in Newtown, Powys. (www.penygelli.co.uk)
When we first set up 8 years ago, we looked at the studio apartments as a blank canvas - interior design was not our strong point, and we didn’t really know who our visitors were back then; are they going to older, younger, working lads, holidaying couples? 🤷♀️, So, to play it safe, we went for a neutral colour scheme - safe, but to be honest quite boring!
Over the years we have have added new furniture, lamps, curtains as so on but it wasn’t until I entered the rooms for the first time in a while (partly coronavirus, and partly because Phil usually deals with that side) that I noticed what a mish mash of style and colours we had! 😬
Something had to be done, but with still uncertainty about the year ahead,how long we may be open and what the rules would be, we didn’t want to spend a lot but we definitely needed to do something. stat.
The oldest narrow gauge railway in Mid Wales is building a 21st century version of a trio of steam locomotives built at the Falcon Works in Loughborough in 1878 – with one major visual exception.
The cab on Corris Railway’s new Falcon Number 10 will be higher than the original because the average man is now 11cms - four and half inches - taller than in the Victorian era.
One of the original trio of Corris Railway locomotives is still in service on Talyllyn Railway, but Number 3 has been renamed Sir Haydn and now has a higher cab also.
“The new build differs from the originals in some respects, most notably a higher cab to accommodate drivers and firemen who are taller than their Victorian predecessors,” said a Corris Railway spokesman. “
“The new cab does, however, have a similar outline to that carried by the original trio during their time at the Corris.
“The cab of Number 10 will stand higher than those which were carried by the original Falcon engines on the Corris and by Number 3, now Sir Haydn, when she entered traffic on Talyllyn Railway in the 1950s,” said the Corris Railway spokesman.
“The footplate crew at the time found the height of the cab a problem to fit under. When Sir Haydn received its current cab, the original parts survived and these have been used as guides with the design profile of that for number 10.”
A major milestone in the progress of the new Falcon Number 10 was reached last week when the wheels and motion moved for the first time.
This significant took place courtesy of compressed air, and some temporary pipework fittings, at the workshops of Alan Keef Ltd near Ross-on-Wye. A video of this event can be seen at www.corris.co.uk .
Further fine tuning will be required but all went well on the first run of the new Falcon number 10. The project already has a boiler constructed by Israel Newton and other components made or ready for finishing include the smokebox and its fittings, buffers and chimney.
Volunteer input to the project has also included work on brake gear components and the pony truck for the 0-4-2ST. Cab components have also been produced. However, there is more construction to be done and components, including cab fittings, to be purchased, many of them distinctly expensive to obtain.
The target date for the completion of the locomotive, subject to continued successful fundraising, is September next year when it is planned to appear as the centrepiece of a charity open day at the workshops of Alan Keef Ltd. Subsequently it will enter traffic on the Corris.
The new steam locomotive will be the second to enter service on the revived section of the railway, situated in the beautiful Dulas Valley between Machynlleth and Dolgellau.
The Corris Railways spokesman thanked everyone who has donated money to the project to date and said further donations would be very welcome. Donations can be made online at www.corris.co.uk or cheques, payable to Corris Railway, can be sent to Peter Guest, 38, Underwood Close, Callow Hill, Redditch, B97 5YS.
The new Falcon Number 10 will look like Sir Haydn, now in service on Talyllyn Railway with a cab higher than the original.
Picture: Barbara Fuller.
A high quality restaurant with rooms which is developing its own staff team in a historic Mid Wales market town has reported a busy first month.
Chartists 1770 at The Trewythen, located at the former Trewythen Hotel in Llanidloes, has created 16 full and part-time jobs, including six apprenticeships, as part of a £250,000 investment in the new business.
The restaurant with rooms is owned by Cambrian Training Company, leading apprenticeship provider to the hospitality industry in Wales, who are hoping to develop a business template that could possibly be used in other towns in the future.
Faced with a UK-wide recruitment crisis in the hospitality industry, Chartists 1770 at The Trewythen is utilising apprenticeships to grow its own staff guided by experienced team members, including executive hotel manager Jo Davies and her husband, Nick, the executive head chef.
The apprentices are working towards Foundation Apprenticeships and Apprenticeships in licensed hospitality services, food production and cookery and cleaning supervision skills, which are delivered by Cambrian Training Company for the Welsh Government.
The new business is located in a Grade ll listed Georgian building which has been transformed into a restaurant with seven, refurbished, en suite bedrooms, each with free Wifi, flat-screen digital TV, tea and coffee making facilities and a range of toiletries. Large, family rooms accommodate up to five people. Bookings can be made at www.trewythenhotel.wales .
The restaurant, which offers “a dining experience” with table service, has 50 covers including four outdoor dining pods, each with a table for six. The focus is on fresh, seasonal ingredients and drinks from Wales.
The hotel is welcoming bookings and already has some guests booked in for 2022. The restaurant is especially busy, with customers enjoying the outdoor dining pod experience, with steaks and fresh fish proving menu favourites.
Cambrian Training Company’s managing director Arwyn Watkins said: “I am delighted to report that the opening of our new business, Chartists 1770 at The Trewythen, has been very well received and I would like to thank the local community and visitors alike for their support.
“We are at that start of the business journey and are taking a cautious approach because of the lack of an available workforce and the need to develop staff with hospitality skills.
“We are trying to showcase how good a career in the hospitality industry can be and what opportunities there are locally. Unfortunately, there are currently not enough people who consider hospitality as a rewarding career which is something we in the industry must change.
“For the next 18 months, our apprentices will get a really good grounding and opportunity to learn and demonstrate their skills and hopefully progress. There is nothing to stop them learning at The Trewythen and then progressing within our network or maybe seeking other future opportunities within the business.”
Chartists 1770 at The Trewythen is keen to play its part in establishing Llanidloes, the first town on the River Severn, as a popular tourist destination, at the gateway to the Cambrian Mountains.
Jo and Nick Davies (centre) with their staff outside Chartists 1770 at The Trewythen.
Corris Railway Society’s Model Railway Exhibition is scheduled to return to Machynlleth on August 28 and 29, the Bank Holiday weekend.
Organiser Bill Newton includes a number of exhibitors who were scheduled to attend in 2020 before the exhibition was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
There will be a variety of layouts in different scales in the hall at Y Plas, Machynlleth. The largest will feature 16mm scale live steam locomotives derives its inspiration from the world famous Darjeeling – Himalaya Railway.
At the other end of the narrow gauge modelling scales, there will be two 009 layouts, one of which occupies a minimal space of four square feet. Another visitor is a GWR layout in the ever popular OO scale which is designed to fit onto a window sill.
Two other OO layouts, one steam era and one featuring diesel locos, are due to appear whilst O gauge will be present with a layout representing the former LNWR/LMS lines in North Wales.
Another part of the North and Mid Wales railway scene will be represented by an N gauge layout including a slate mine, and a further N gauge visitor will depict the North German scene.
Visitors of an older vintage will have toy shop window memories stirred by a Triang TT layout featuring the model range which was in the catalogues between 1957 and 1964.
There is a further TT layout due to appear which will also feature vintage equipment from the Margate factory. As another nod to nostalgia, there will be a static display of 50 model lawnmowers.
Trade stands will include a new one from Corris Railway Society which will sell a variety of second hand goods, some earmarked for specific projects in the revival of the oldest narrow gauge railway in Mid Wales.
Admission costs £4 for adults, £3.50 for seniors £2 for children and £10 for a family (two adults and two children).
>> more about the Corris Railway
Tickets for the exhibition, which runs from June 22 to September 25, are free but need to be booked in advance. To find out more, and to book tickets, visit https://kresenkernow.org/event/mes-an-kemmyn-out-of-the-ordinary/.
Written in Cornish to spread Christian teachings and stories, the manuscripts feature well-known Bible stories - including Noah’s flood and the Passion of Christ - as well as more obscure and forgotten tales, such as the life of St Meriadoc, Camborne’s patron saint.
The Cornish Ordinalia, which dates from the 1400s, contains possibly Britain’s earliest full play scripts, pre-dating Shakespeare by 200 years. It also contains what may be the world’s earliest stage diagrams and is the oldest complete text in the Cornish language.
The Bodleian manuscripts have been part of the University of Oxford Libraries’ collection for more than 400 years and this is the first time they have returned to Cornwall.
The Life of St Meriadoc is recorded in Wales in the 1650s as part of a Welsh library collection, while The Life of St Kea caused a stir when it was discovered only 20 years ago in the papers of a then-recently deceased academic.
Pedr ap Llwyd, the National Library of Wales’ chief executive and librarian, said
‘I’m delighted that the National Library of Wales is able to support this much anticipated and rare opportunity to see such important historic Cornish manuscripts brought together and celebrated for the first time under one roof.
“It is also fitting that this will be happening at the heart of Cornwall itself. The four manuscripts provide a rich corpus of Middle Cornish literature and will encourage a renewed awareness of the language itself and of the rich outdoor theatre tradition upheld across Cornwall many centuries ago.”
The exhibition is funded through the National Lottery Heritage Fund, as part of the £11.7m grant which built Kresen Kernow, Cornwall’s state-of-the-art archive centre, which opened in 2019.
This summer’s celebrations include a wide range of events and activities, including a range of online talks, a symposium, school activities, creative workshops and summer holiday family learning.
A stage diagram from The Life of St Meriadoc, courtesy of The National Library of
GLTW secretary Ray Reid said: “The Great Little Trains of Wales was started in 1970 to encourage visitors to come to Wales in general and to ride the narrow-gauge railways in particular.
“The addition of Corris Railway to the existing 11 railways makes the GLTW’s Discount and Gold cards even better value and a must have for anyone intending to visit several of the railways during the year.”
Corris Railway is a 2’3” gauge railway and its origins date back to the 1850s. It was initially built to carry slate from the quarries at Corris Uchaf and Aberllefenni in the Dulas Valley. The railway ran until 1948, but preservation began in the 1960s.
Today, it operates regularly with a mix of steam and diesel traction between Maespoeth and Corris, and has exciting plans to extend operations.
Richard Hamilton-Foyn, Corris Railway chairman, said: “When the preservation of the Corris Railway started in 1966, the pioneer volunteers had nothing but one decrepit building to work on.
“Since then, we have purchased land, restored the infrastructure, laid track and built a completely new train with modern recreations of the original Corris Victorian carriages and a Corris steam locomotive.
“As we move into the next phase of the development of the railway with a second steam locomotive, a new station in Corris and a southern extension, we are delighted to have been invited to join the GLTW organisation. We are ready to contribute to the future prosperity of all of the Great Little Trains here in Wales.”
Costing £15, the GLTW Discount Card gives the holder a 20% discount on the price of a return journey on all 12 members railways. The card is valid for one year from the first date of use and there are also discounts for selected accommodation providers close to many member railways.
Cards are available at railway booking offices and online at www.greatlittletrainsofwales.co.uk
The other GLTW members are Bala Lake Railway, Brecon Mountain Railway (Merthyr Tydfil), Fairbourne Railway, Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways (Porthmadog), Llanberis Lake Railway, Snowdon Mountain Railway (Llanberis), Talyllyn Railway (Tywyn), Welshpool and Llanfair Railway (Llanfair Caereinion), Vale of Rheidol Railway (Aberystwyth) and Welsh Highland Heritage Railway (Porthmadog).
The famous Royal Welsh Show is to go ahead next month through a virtual platform for the second year running.
The physical event, which attracts thousands of visitors to Builth Wells every summer, is again a victim of the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society (RWAS) is teaming up with Business News Wales again to fulfil its charitable objectives by showcasing the agricultural industry online with a week-long celebration from July 19–22.
The RWAS is looking forward to educating people about the value of agriculture and local produce, sharing knowledge within the industry around best practice and discussing the latest topics within the sector.
In partnership with other key organisations, the RWAS will ensure that all sections of the show offer an experience to newcomers and bring back memories to those who would usually be spending the week in Llanelwedd.
This year’s virtual show will be laid out in a similar format for all to enjoy around the globe. Many award winners will be announced throughout the week, from celebrating stand-out university students to those who are notable within the agricultural sector in Wales.
Steve Hughson, RWAS chief executive, said: “The success of last year’s virtual show showed the potential that technology and modern communications offer events such as ours.
“Of course, we never expected to have to cancel two consecutive shows, however, as we are in that position, we feel that once again we want to create a different version of the virtual show to celebrate the event and allow everyone a taste of what we are all missing.
“I hope people enjoy this digital offering and we look forward to welcoming everyone back to the Royal Welsh Showground when restrictions allow.”
The virtual show will be launched on July 19 and be featured on the RWAS’s social media channels, where followers will be able to enjoy an array of informative videos.
The RWAS would like as many people as possible to get involved. Exhibitors, traders, members and anyone who has attended the show are being encouraged to share their memories to showcase what the event means to them.
Anyone wishing to get involved is asked to contact the RWAS for information on Tel: 01982 553683 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Royal Welsh Show in pre-Covid-19 times.
Credit image: © Crown copyright (2021) Cymru Wales
Warren Parc is a holiday home caravan and chalet park in the beautiful Dyfi Valley. Our 100 holiday homes are all privately owned by families and couples who return to enjoy the peace and tranquillity and explore Mid Wales year after year. Some have been returning to Warren parc for over 30 or 40 years; most travel from the Midlands and Shropshire but we’ve found in recent years more are coming from North and South Wales, and we even have a couple of owners who live as far away as Southampton.
Our customers are really important to us. We get to know them and their families well over the years, with many years of interaction and support. Nothing makes us happier than to see them relaxing and enjoying their time here between the challenges of everyday life, making friends within the park community or sharing a picnic with a neighbouring family. They look after one another, water one another’s flowers or invite elderly owners for tea and children play together and make lifelong friends. We see families return who have spent their childhood holidays here and want their own children to enjoy the same experience. They’re all individuals with their own stories and needs and it’s a pleasure to be able to provide a little R&R for them all in our own beautiful little corner of the world.
Obviously it’s not always plain sailing…as owners and managers we live on site and are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and because it’s like running a little village, we have to be flexible, take care of everything, and try to keep it all running smoothly while still smiling! There are always challenges and we will always try to do our best for our customers, so regular time off and holidays for ourselves are difficult to find. We’ve learnt that you have to take the opportunity for a break, even if it’s just a quick walk locally, whenever you can, because quiet time at home doesn’t often happen; there is always either someone knocking at the door, the phone is ringing or there’s a job to do, and as we all know people on holiday don’t do 9-5, we’re expected to be contactable, efficient, prompt and helpful 24/7, and no matter what plans we have for the day ahead there is always something different to do!
I think the great thing about a family business is that we can be flexible and when recession or challenging times present themselves we have the opportunity to review what we do and how we do it and to make changes quickly. When our business was closed due to Covid the first thing that worried us were our customers; the majority are elderly and many had health issues, and like everyone we wondered what kind of future was ahead, but it gave us time to explore some new digital technology, and new ways of doing things, (and the time to sit down and eat a meal together without interruption!) and when we re-opened there was huge demand from new customers most of whom were friends or family of existing owners already on site, which was very welcome.
Neil and I took over the running of the park in January 2000, when my parents retired. Dad has always still been involved in the business, which can bring its challenges as well as its advantages but we all adapted well to working together as a family, and have learned to recognise and appreciate our individual strengths and weaknesses to share the workload (my skills don’t include accounting, but thankfully Neil is fabulous at Maths!). I think that’s the same in any small team or family business; you have to support and encourage one another for it to be successful. Our previous careers could not have been further from tourism. Neil started his post grad life as a manager of several branches of McDonalds in Central Birmingham, before becoming a financial advisor and then an early years teacher, and I trained as a nurse, and enjoyed working in Neuro surgery, elderly care and mental health. My nursing career has always been incredibly valuable as we often find ourselves comforting customers following bereavement or ill health, but we love hearing about their family highlights too. I found it incredibly difficult at first coming from a caring role into a commercial one, but as I discovered how valuable our industry is to people’s wellbeing and mental health I found it really rewarding and fulfilling. We help create precious lovely family memories, in a diverse holiday community, and that feels like a great privilege.
Our family moved here 50 years ago to build and develop Warren Parc. My father was looking for a farm not a holiday park but was persuaded by a local farmer that caravans were a great prospect. During that time things have changed enormously from small static caravans without bathrooms to the luxury double glazed and centrally heated twin units of today. The awful old block-built toilet blocks of the 70’s were replaced and sales once undertaken on a handshake replaced with contracts, licences, legislation and virtual tours and technology. The current digital world evolves fast and continues without boundaries or 9-5 restrictions. When my parents ran a café here in the 70’s they said you could just get on and do it without inspections or licencing, but we all now find ourselves with the relentless challenges of red tape and legislation, mostly for good reason, but meaning that like most careers it takes us further away from the face to face and increasingly confines us to the office.
As landowners we feel a strong responsibility for our natural environment. When we first came into the business, this felt like an uphill struggle but over time I think the general public and local government are much more on board, and we’ve been fortunate to have been accredited with a gold award for Conservation by the BH&HPA for many years.
Next year will be the 50th anniversary of the opening of Warren Parc and we are already starting discussions to encourage the next generation to step in to join us in the next few years. It feels like an exciting opportunity (their technology skills are far better than ours!) and it’s always important to be looking forward with fresh eyes, open minds and energy.
We’ve always valued the support of our neighbouring tourism businesses, organisations and attractions. We all depend on one another for a successful future in the industry, and we must work together and take care of our local environment and communities for tourism to be successful going forward. For this reason we believe it’s so important to be members of Mid Wales Tourism, we need organisations that work together, communicate well and unite everyone no matter how large or small. A strong tourism community is powerful, supportive and flexible, and we’ve always been particularly grateful for their friendly open-door approach and valuable IT skills, which personally help us reach out and build a better customer and support network. As Covid restrictions have taught us, community and communication is so important in all aspects of our lives and business. Mid Wales is a beautiful part of the world and we all need to work together and listen to one another to take care of it and support and safeguard both our customers and our tourism industry.
Warren Parc, Penegoes, Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 8NN
Tel: 01654 702054
>> Visit Warren Parc website
One of the country’s leading apprenticeship providers is extending an open invitation to join in a virtual across Wales walk or run to raise money for Marie Curie.
Cambrian Training Company hopes individuals, families, businesses, organisations and sports clubs will join staff in covering the 291-mile distance of the Cambrian Way Path virtually in 60 days from August 1.
Everyone who registers to take on the fundraising challenge can do so alone or by splitting the distance as a team or with family and friends.
Cambrian Training Company’s initial idea of involving staff and the apprentices and business they work with across Wales has now grown to include anyone who would like to take part to boost their health and mental wellbeing, whilst supporting a much loved charity.
Children can also sign up and join in but must be accompanied by a participating adult.
The company, which has offices in Welshpool, Llanelli, Builth Wells, Holyhead and Colwyn Bay, has adopted Marie Curie as its 2021 charity.
Marie Curie, which has seen fundraising severely hit by the pandemic, provides frontline nursing and hospice care, a free support line and a wealth of information and support on all aspects of dying, death and bereavement.
Those taking part in the virtual walk or run can either secure sponsorship and record the miles they walk on a tracking sheet or donate to a fundraising page - https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/cambriantraining .
Constructiv Clothing Ltd, a leading supplier of branded clothing and sportswear in Mid Wales and Shropshire, is supporting the challenge by sponsoring t-shirts which all participants will receive as part of their £15 registration fee.
Cambrian Training Company is asking all those who take part to share their photos by tagging @cambriantrainingcompany on Facebook, @cambriantraining on Instagram and @CTCwbl on Twitter.
The Cambrian Way Path stretches from Cardiff to Conwy, crossing the Cambrian Mountains, after which Cambrian Training is named.
“The virtual Cambrian Way Path walk or run is open to anyone who would like to take part to improve their fitness, health or mental wellbeing,” said Katy Godsell, Cambrian Training’s marketing manager.
“We would especially love the businesses and apprentices that we work with, together with family members and friends, to join us by committing to do a section of the path virtually.
“The more miles we walk or run, the more money we will raise for Marie Curie, which touches the lives of so many people in Wales and needs public support more than ever.”
Vaughan Harding, from Constructiv Clothing Ltd, said: “We are delighted to be working with Cambrian Training Company to support this virtual event because Marie Curie is a great charity very close to our hearts.
“After spending much of the past year in lockdown, most people are keen to get out and exercise and they can now convert the miles they walk or run into much needed cash for a charity that does so much good work in our communities.”
Marie Curie community fundraiser, Charli Thomas said: “Marie Curie Cymru is thrilled to be chosen as Cambrian Training’s charity of the year. This past 18 months has been incredibly difficult for charities and our Marie Curie nurses and information support line officers have continued to support people living with terminal illness throughout.
“We are so happy to have Cambrian Training’s support to help fund these vital frontline services in Wales. Good luck to everyone taking part in the virtual Cambrian Way Path walk.”
Two years ago, Cambrian Training raised £2,290 for Cancer Research by running, walking and cycling 1,000 miles, visiting all 22 counties of Wales, during the year. A team of staff members also ran the Cardiff Half Marathon for the charity.
Cambrian Training specialises in the delivery of apprenticeships and employability opportunities across a range of industries pan-Wales. The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
Katy Godsell (right) and Ceri Nicholls from Cambrian Training Company’s marketing team with Vaughan Harding of Constructiv Clothing Ltd and the T-shirt his company is sponsoring for the virtual Cambrian Way walk for Marie Curie.
As we edge out of lockdown, the Cyber Resilience Centre for Wales (WCRC) is urging businesses in the travel and tourism sector to get protected against cybercrime.
Welsh-based businesses are gearing up for a record-breaking summer with hundreds of thousands of bookings being made through online systems for hotel reservations, car rentals, air travel, restaurants, and cafes etc. And without the necessary protection, organisations leave themselves wide open for cybercriminals to exploit personal data and attack networks.
Paul Peters, Director of the WCRC, which offers local businesses in the region free tools and tips to help improve cyber resilience, said: “Over £2,000 million was spent on tourism in Wales in 2019 and with overseas summer holidays looking increasingly unlikely this year, the sector is expecting an incredible season.
“And yet, with so many people making their bookings online and entrusting their personal information and payment details to private holiday-letting providers, holiday parks, guest houses and hotels, it is crucial these SMEs have cybersecurity measures in place to not only protect themselves but also their customers’ details.”
Such attacks can leave a devastating impact with far-reaching effect. Businesses can suffer from a long list of serious implications, including destruction, alteration, or loss of important files, unauthorised access to sensitive data, loss of billable hours, network access and website access, as well as potential closure, to name a few.
Jim Jones, CEO of North Wales Tourism, said: “As an organisation, we have had to learn the hard way, following a number of incidents relating to cyberattacks against our company. The disruptive experience has made us far more vigilant in protecting our digital assets.
“As we approach a very busy period, especially this summer, and following the lifting of many lockdown restrictions, that tourism businesses in Wales, increase their cyber awareness.”
The WCRC offers tourism providers a few points they should consider when it comes to their online protections. These include the following:
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