A Newtown attraction is offering businesses and groups a Christmas party with a difference this year.
Beyond Breakout, located on the fourth floor of Newtown’s Royal Welsh Warehouse, Pryce Jones Building, has a choice of three escape rooms for festive party groups
“As well as being great fun, escape rooms can double up as both a party and a team building exercise,” said Lorna Morris, who runs Beyond Breakout with business partner Jo Woodall.
“Escape rooms are a great way to bond with colleagues, allowing between two to six players per group to team up and solve the puzzles in the room that will lead to their escape.
“For larger groups, Beyond Breakout can make it competitive for all by allowing teams to play against each other and the clock to see who can escape the fastest with the fewest clues along the way.
“We have three different escape room themes to choose from: Lost in Puzzleland, The Mask and our Christmas room, Elfin’ Mistake, which is opening on November 1.
“Playing an escape game together is an excellent way to connect and leaves participants with a lot to talk about post game.”
Lorna says playing an escape room can develop a positive mindset, as solving puzzles stimulates both sides of the brain, which improves mental health, mental clarity and heightens memory power.
“Playing the game can trigger the secretion of a hormone called serotonin - the happy chemical - which keeps us all excited and happy,” she added. “Most importantly, we hear a lot of laughter coming from our escape rooms, and laughter is indeed the best medicine!”
Beyond Breakout creates bespoke experiences for corporate clients to meet their requirements. For prices and more information about team building packages, visit www.beyondbreakout.com .
Beyond Breakout is a member of MWT Cymru, an independent organisation that represents more than 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and the Meirionnydd region of Gwynedd.
One of the many groups that has taken up the Beyond Breakout escape room challenge.
>> Beyond Breakout on Visit Mid Wales
The modified layout will require the building of a new platform as part of a larger scale and longer term intention to build a new Corris station including an overall roof, which was a feature of the original station in the village.
Work on the new track layout will begin after the two days of Santa Trains which will take place on December 11 and 12. Santa train tickets can be purchased online from www.corris.co.uk
The dry and warm weather through most of September allowed more construction work on the embankment which will replace a lost section of the original trackbed south of Maespoeth Junction and eventually allow trains to run further southwards along the Dulas Valley.
Material continues to arrive from Dolgellau. Important work completed also included connecting the drainage layer below the embankment base with a drain to the Dulas, clearing the flood plain of debris from earlier site work and levelling of the topsoil in front of the stone filled gabions at the base of the embankment.
New build carriage number 24, which will offer first class accommodation and an observation section, is being worked on in the carriage shed at Maespoeth Junction. with the flooring complete and hardwood sections being fitted to the outside of the vehicle.
Donations to assist with the work at Corris station and/or the Southern Extension embankment can be made online via www.corris.co.uk or cheques payable to Corris Railway can be sent to Corris Railway, Station Yard, Corris, Machynlleth, SY20 9SH. Donors are asked to indicate for which work their cheque donation is intended.
Corris Railway – major winter work planned on track layout and station platform.
>> Corris Railway on Visit Mid Wales
The Silver Mountain Experience, a family visitor attraction based just outside Aberystwyth, is gearing up for a fun-filled Halloween season during the school half-term between October 23-31.
Visitors to the Victorian mine, located at Llywernog, near Ponterwyd on the A44 between Aberystwyth and Llangurig, can experience a variety of guided tours, as well as plenty of spook-tacular Halloween activities.
Adventurers can enjoy three different guided tours, which explore the history of the site, both above and below ground. Those feeling adventurous can explore Welsh myths and legends in ‘Black Chasm: Unearthed’, a thrilling journey underground, with even more frights for Halloween. This tour is only suitable for those over the age of 10, and for those who are feeling brave!
‘A Miner’s Life’ is another of guided tour which delves into the fascinating story of the Victorian mine, giving a glimpse into the gruelling work conditions its hey-day.
Families with younger visitors can enjoy ‘A Dragon’s Tale’, a brave quest to hunt a friendly, mythical Welsh dragon hiding somewhere in the mines.
Alongside the exciting guided tours, visitors will find a range of extra Halloween activities for all ‘little monsters’ to enjoy.
New for 2021 is The Witches Potion Halloween Trail, where young visitors can help a resident witch to find her missing potion ingredients. She might treat those who find them all!
A captivating Storyteller will retell spine-tingling ghost stories. Visitors can also have fun Pumpkin carving - a supplement applies to this activity.
To find out more information and pre-book your tickets, visit at www.silvermountainexperience.co.uk/spooky
As well as all the exciting attractions, there is also The Miner’s Rest Café, which can be visited without booking the attractions. There’s also the Ultimate Xscape, on-site escape rooms, which have recently reopened with two brand new experiences for all the family.
Help find the missing potion ingredients on The Witches Potion Halloween Trail.
>> Silver Mountain Experience on Visit Mid Wales
Terror Mountain returns later this month with its biggest ever live Halloween event which is guaranteed to make visitors scream and laugh in equal measure.
Set in the heart of the Cambrian Mountains, just outside Aberystwyth, Terror Mountain is ready to deliver a night of terror, thrills and fun for all attending on selected nights between October 22-31.
Visitors can experience five terrifying live action horror attractions and many more surprises. The creative team at Terror Mountain has developed an array of attractions that bring a variety of horrors to life, in terrifyingly themed experiences, all whilst being set in a genuine Victorian mine.
There are two brand new additions in the 2021 line-up, as well as some returning fan favourites. The Coven, one of the new additions, will see visitors search for legendary witches in pitch black woods.
Visitors may discover why things go bump in the night in the second new attraction, Haunted: Live. This thrilling horror experience sees visitors taking part in a live filming of a paranormal investigation that has the potential to go horribly wrong.
Returning favourites include the terrifying Summoning, where visitors witness a séance that doesn’t quite go to plan. Those feeling very brave can enter the mine itself and come face to face with a variety of twisted demonic creatures in Retribution.
Finally, Night Stalker is a live action show that will have visitors on the edge of their seat, as they try to discover the true identity of a mysterious murderer.
As well as the terrifying attractions, visitors can enjoy delicious food, a spooky atmosphere and hilariously odd wandering actors who love to say hello!
Located at the Silver Mountain Experience near Ponterwyd, on the A44 between Aberystwyth and Llangurig, Terror Mountain is running on selected nights from the October 22-31. Pre-booking at www.terrormountain.co.uk/tickets is strongly advised as tickets are limited.
The Silver Mountain Experience is a member of MWT Cymru, an independent company representing more than 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and the Meirionnydd region of Gwynedd.
Brave visitors will be hunting witches in black wood in the new Terror Mountain attraction, The Coven.
A poster promoting the Terror Mountain event.
Terror Mountain 2021 at Silver Mountain Experience | Live Entertainment | Aberystwyth|Ceredigion (visitmidwales.co.uk)
The attraction says there will be lots of festive fun thrown in too.
Mark Waite, mine guide, said: “Our vast underground caverns, hand dug by Victorian slate miners, provide a perfect setting to escape the workplace and enjoy some festive fun.
“Each Christmas exploration will be bespoke but adventure, fun and a safe environment are 100% guaranteed. This year has been tough and we wanted to provide a safe, fun space for staff teams to be rewarded this Christmas.”
The Underground Christmas Explorations can be arranged for an hour, two hours or half a day and are available to book from now until Christmas.
Individually tailored trips are available for a minimum of six explorers up to a team of 40. To arrange a bespoke Christmas Exploration, contact Mark Waite 01650 511720.
Mark Waite and Santa prepare for the Underground Christmas Explorations at Corris Mine Explorers.
New caravan and motorhome models for 2022 will be revealed by leading manufacturers at a Shropshire event next month.
The West Midlands Caravan & Motorhome New 2022 Model Show is being hosted by Salop Leisure at the company’s headquarters alongside Shrewsbury bypass at Emstrey from October 9 to 17.
The UK’s largest free caravan and motorhome show follows one of the busiest summers on record for the industry with staycationing booming due to the Covid 19 pandemic.
Ed Glover, Salop Leisure’s marketing manager, stressed that the company will be following the latest government pandemic advice to keep visitors and staff safe throughout the show.
“This show is a great opportunity to see a selection of the new 2022 caravan and motorhome models for the first time right here in Shropshire” he said. “Visitors can take their time to see all the new smart ideas, innovations and fresh designs on display. It’s a great day out for all the family.
“More British people than ever have staycationed this year, due to restrictions on foreign travel, which has been a great boost for the UK’s caravan and motorhome industry as well as tourism businesses.
“The percentage of first-time buyers has increased as families and couples recognise and appreciate the flexibility of owning a caravan or motorhome.”
The show, which provides free parking for visitors, will feature new touring caravans from the Swift Group and Coachman, new caravan holiday homes and luxury lodges from ABI, Atlas, Carnaby, Swift and Willerby and new motorhomes from the Swift group. Pre-owned models will also be available.
Visitors who invest in a caravan holiday home or luxury lodge will be helped by a holiday park finder service to identify their ideal location, with more than 250 parks to choose from in Mid Wales and the Heart of England. Park representatives will be on hand to provide information
Experts will also be on hand to guide first time buyers through the complete process of owning a touring caravan, motorhome or caravan holiday home.
Love Coffee restaurant will be open for snacks, meals and drinks throughout the show and staff at specialist plants centre, Love Plants, will have a wide selection of plants and advice to offer for autumn, winter and spring gardens.
Money raised by selling teas and coffees to customers during the show will be donated to the Lingen Davies Cancer Centre at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.
Salop Leisure’s holiday homes trade associate director Dave Attfield with a customer at a previous West Midlands Caravan & Motorhome New Model Show.
Customers are offered a choice of six, carefully curated, spirit bases and up to three “hero” botanicals, including favourites such as rhubarb, Earl Grey and cardamom, to define the flavour profile.
Next, they name their creation and distiller – a thoughtful, personalised present for gin lovers. In the Welsh Wind then distils the gin to the customer’s bespoke recipe, labels the bottle by hand and packages it for delivery.
Gift vouchers for Tailor Your Gin, which cost £50, are also available, allowing the recipient to create a bespoke gin to their own favourite flavour profile. The voucher itself is luxuriously embossed with copper foil to create a beautiful present.
Ellen Wakelam, the distillery’s co-owner and director, said: “Sharing our love of gin and distillation with others has always been an important part of In The Welsh Wind.
“This online experience means that customers can still enjoy choosing botanicals and deciding on a name for their gin even if they can’t travel to West Wales. Both the personalised gin and the gift vouchers make thoughtful Christmas presents for the spirit lover in your life.”
Limited Edition Palo Cortado Cask Aged Gin|43% ABV |70cl |£45 RRP
Tailor Your Gin experience | £50
Tailor Your Gin gift voucher | £50
inthewelshwind.co.uk | @IntheWelshWind
Always innovating, fellow co-owner and director, Alex Jungmayr, has developed a limited-edition, cask-aged version of the distillery’s award-winning Signature Style Gin which is filled with deliciously festive flavour notes.
Inspired by Spanish sherries that would have been landed in New Quay, he selected Palo Cortado casks and rested 400 litres of Signature Style in them.
The casks lend beautiful almond notes and a rich colour to the Limited Edition Palo Cortado Cask Aged Gin (£45), while the finished product has rich spice, dried stone fruit and Christmas notes with juniper and citrus. The gin won a Master medal at The Gin Masters 2021.
“It’s almost as if we made Limited Edition Palo Cortado Cask Aged Gin with Christmas in mind!” said Alex. “The underlying warmth of the botanical profile of our Signature Style Gin is complemented beautifully by the rich spices it gains from its time spent in Palo Cortado sherry casks. Together, they create an exceptionally festive sipper.”
The three Christmas gifts are available to buy online at inthewelshwind.co.uk.
A Tailor Your Gin online experience.
Limited Edition Palo Cortado Cask Aged Gin.
>> In the Welsh Wind Distillery on Visit Mid Wales
Shropshire business joins forces with border vineyard
Shrewsbury-based double glazing specialist Heritage Glass Group has announced a new partnership with Kerry Vale Vineyard on the county border with Powys.
Heritage Glass has been supplying and installing quality replacement windows and doors to homes throughout Shropshire and the surrounding areas for more than 12 years.
Established in 2010, Kerry Vale Vineyard, near Montgomery, is home to 6,000 vines, used to make still and sparkling English wine. The vineyard hosts a cellar door shop and café and boasts an impressive array of awards, earned over the past decade.
Heritage Glass will be giving executive customers a bottle of Kerry Vale Vineyard’s award winning wine. In return, the vineyard will deliver corporate hospitality to the company’s most valued customers.
Tony Randell, managing director of Heritage Glass, said “Partnering with Kerry Vale Vineyard to provide gifts and deliver hospitality for our executive clients will enable us to thank our highly valued customers in a very special way.
“Both Heritage Glass Group and Kerry Vale Vineyard share the same important core values, with excellent customer service at its heart.”
Russell Cooke, vineyard owner, said: “We are thrilled to be able to work with Heritage Glass and are proud that this discerning business has chosen us to partner with.
“We are both family-run Shropshire businesses who place high emphasis on sourcing locally and pride ourselves on the quality of our provision and our excellent products and services.
“I am confident this will be a great partnership which will host many benefits for both of our businesses and our customers.”
Kerry Vale Vineyard owner Russell Cooke (left) with Tony Randell and Jason Richards from Heritage Glass.
A Talyllyn Railway locomotive has had a busy and varied few weeks celebrating its centenary during September.
Locomotive No 4, named ‘Edward Thomas’ after the former general manager prior to Talyllyn becoming the UK’s first ever preserved railway, was originally built by manufacturers Kerr Stuart of Stoke on Trent in 1921 for Corris Railway.
It was Corris Railway’s fourth operational locomotive, the other three being, at that time, in a poor condition and in need of overhaul.
When the railway was taken over by Great Western Railway in 1930, Loco No 4 was working the line with the one surviving and now overhauled Loco No 3, dating back to 1878.
By the time of nationalisation in 1948, Loco No 4 was out of service and in need of overhaul. When Corris Railway was closed by British Railways in the same year, Corris Locos No 3 and No 4, were stored under a tarpaulin on a siding behind Machynlleth Station.
They remained there for a further three years until both were purchased by the newly formed Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society in 1951, to be named “Sir Haydn” and “Edward Thomas” respectively. They joined existing Talyllyn locos No 1 (Talyllyn) and No 2 (Dolgoch), both of which needed overhaul.
On September 4 and 5, Loco No 4 made a nostalgic return visit to Corris Railway for a gala weekend in celebration of its 100th birthday. The loco back at Talyllyn Railway to continue is centenary celebrations on September 11 and 12.
Over the weekend, special trains were made up in which Edward Thomas ran as a double header with visiting Corris Loco No 7.
The gala weekend also featured Diana and Apedale Valley Light Railway locomotive S4 “Stanhope” Kerr Stuart Tattoo Class 2395. These two locos ran on a temporary 2ft gauge track, giving cab rides in the yard at Tywyn Wharf Station.
Diana was purchased in 2014 by Talyllyn Railway member and volunteer Phil Mason who completed its restoration following year and the loco was serving on Bala Lake Railway by the end of that year.
Diana’s own centenary, in 2017, was celebrated by a tour of several of the UK railways including Statfold Barn, Beamish, Ffestiniog and the Welsh Highland. The loco is currently operating on the Amerton Railway, Staffordshire
Stanhope was also completed in 1917 and has passed through the ownership of a number of companies, including civil engineers ‘Holloway Brothers’ for work on the construction of 1,000 homes in Rosyth, relating to the Royal Naval Dockyard.
It then transferred to Kent for the construction of the Swanley bypass, following which ownership passed to Durham County Water Board, where it acquired its name “Stanhope.”
The gala weekend was complemented by Talyllyn Railway Craft Beer, Cider and Gin Festival, with 10 locally brewed real ales available as well as a variety of ciders and locally sourced gins.
Society chairman, Jonathan Mann, said: “It was a real treat to have the two visiting Kerr Stuart locomotives with us for the event. Seeing ‘Stanhope’ and our No 4 ‘Edward Thomas’ side by side revealed both the similarities and the differences.
“I would like to thank the owners for making their locomotives available and for letting me drive them both. Thanks also go to our friends at Corris Railway for their co-operation and for allowing their replica locomotive, No 7, to visit us.”
>> Find out more about Talyllyn Railway on the Visit Mid Wales website
Visiting Kerr Stuart locomotives Diana and Stanhope.
Edward Thomas double heads with Corris Railway locomotive No 7.
Photos: Glenn Cannon.
Welsh Government has announced the appointment of Ashok Ahir as interim president and trustee of the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth.
Mr Ahir, 52, is deputy director of Cabinet Office communications for the UK Government. He joined the UK Government in Wales in July 2018 as the director of communications, having previously ran a successful bilingual communications agency based in Cardiff.
Before that, he worked for the BBC as a journalist, editor and programme maker in London and Cardiff. For more than a decade, he was responsible for BBC Cymru Wales’ politics team, overseeing coverage of Welsh politics on television, radio and on digital services.
Pedr ap Llwyd, the national library’s chief executive and librarian, welcomed the “excellent appointment” and thanked Meri Huws, the former interim president, for her contribution to the library.
“We are really looking forward to Ashok joining us, to benefiting from his broad experience and knowledge and to working with him over the coming months,” he said.
“In welcoming Ashok, I would like to thank Meri Huws, the former interim president, for the enormous contribution she has made to the library during the past two years and wish her, and the organisations she serves, well for the future.
“Ashok joins us at the start of a new and exciting chapter in our history as we launch our new Strategic Plan 2021-2026 – A library for Wales and the World - in a few weeks’ time.
“Regardless of the significant progress made during the last few years, we enter this new chapter with hunger and determination to achieve even more.
“Our plan points to a future where we will continue to use our unique range of skills and expertise to cultivate and care for the nation’s memory, lay the foundation for a knowledge economy, empower learning and research, be at the heart of national life and support Welsh Government’s public policy objectives.
“Ashok’s appointment will help us achieve our aims and strengthen the relationships with our partners around Wales for the benefit of everyone we serve. Today is certainly a day of celebration at the National Library of Wales.”
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