Blaenau Ffestiniog Cynefin


Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS


Blaenau Ffestiniog

Heledd Cynwal, Iestyn Jones a Siôn Tomos Owen sydd ar drywydd straeon difyr a chudd Bro Ffestiniog. New series seeking out local stories in different areas. First stop is Bro Ff...


Similar Content

Browse content similar to Blaenau Ffestiniog. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

-Subtitles

0:00:000:00:00

-Subtitles

-

-Subtitles

0:00:000:00:01

-Wales.

0:00:010:00:02

-A land of contrasts.

0:00:030:00:04

-Nature and industry,

-history and legends.

0:00:050:00:09

-But our story is also contemporary,

-created anew every day.

0:00:120:00:18

-This train no longer carries slates

-but rather thousands of tourists.

0:00:180:00:23

-The past feels so close at times...

0:00:240:00:27

-..as we walk paths

-where tales rise from the land.

0:00:270:00:31

-This place is amazing,

-but its legends are even better.

0:00:320:00:37

-This week,

-we're in the Vale of Ffestiniog...

0:00:390:00:43

-..an industrial area surrounded

-by outstanding natural beauty.

0:00:430:00:48

-There are wonders

-around every corner.

0:00:490:00:52

-An easy place to hide.

0:00:570:00:59

-I hope I don't get lost.

0:00:590:01:01

-People have quarried here

-for almost 200 years.

0:01:140:01:18

-Today, it's an ideal place to roam,

-both above and below ground.

0:01:180:01:23

-Past and present,

-mountains and streets.

0:01:230:01:27

-The Vale of Ffestiniog

-has them all.

0:01:280:01:31

-Beneath me here

-is the town of Blaenau Ffestiniog...

0:01:320:01:36

-..nestling on the slopes...

0:01:360:01:38

-..and protected

-by the hills and mountains.

0:01:380:01:41

-They also provide

-employment and pleasure...

0:01:420:01:45

-..and a reason

-for the town's existence.

0:01:450:01:48

-This is our habitat.

0:01:480:01:49

-We start our journey

-in Blaenau Ffestiniog...

0:02:040:02:08

-..before venturing

-into the surrounding countryside.

0:02:080:02:11

-At the height of the slate industry,

-the town had a population of 12,000.

0:02:120:02:17

-By now, it has more than halved...

0:02:180:02:23

-..but local people

-haven't forgotten the slates.

0:02:230:02:26

-Indeed, their history

-has been etched into the slates.

0:02:270:02:30

-This is the sort of sight that

-welcomes you to Blaenau Ffestiniog.

0:02:310:02:35

-I'm sure you'll agree,

-it's spectacular.

0:02:360:02:39

-I can imagine the impact of coming

-off the train and seeing them.

0:02:390:02:45

-As you can see, they've been laid

-at an angle of 30 degrees.

0:02:450:02:51

-That reflects how the rock lies

-within the mountain itself.

0:02:510:02:55

-Are the words we see on the sides

-local sayings?

0:02:550:02:58

-Quarrying terms, often,

-and lines of verse...

0:02:590:03:02

-..that convey ideas

-associated with quarrying...

0:03:020:03:06

-..and the kind of town

-in which we live.

0:03:070:03:09

-As far as I'm concerned,

-this is the best line of them all.

0:03:090:03:13

-"The quarrel closed down,

-and all here is still.

0:03:130:03:17

-"Submerged is the level,

-and quiet the mill."

0:03:170:03:20

-Who wrote that?

0:03:210:03:22

-Ah! You!

0:03:230:03:25

-Ah! You!

-

-That's why it's the best of them!

0:03:250:03:28

-I agree, Vivian.

0:03:290:03:30

-As part of the scheme

-to transform the town centre...

0:03:410:03:45

-..these small slates were laid...

0:03:450:03:47

-..to convey the wit and humour

-prevalent in the quarry cabins.

0:03:480:03:52

-It's important for people to know.

0:03:520:03:53

-It's important for people to know.

-

-What is this one here?

0:03:530:03:55

-"A face like a five month."

0:03:550:03:57

-Some months run into a fifth week.

0:03:570:04:00

-That meant an extra week's work

-before they'd get their wages.

0:04:010:04:06

-So, a face like a five month

-meant a sad look.

0:04:070:04:10

-Yes, because they had to work

-an extra week before being paid.

0:04:100:04:14

-They're gems, aren't they?

0:04:140:04:16

-This is a line from an englyn...

0:04:250:04:28

-..recited at the 1898

-National Eisteddfod...

0:04:290:04:32

-..the only time

-it has been held here.

0:04:320:04:35

-There were fears

-about holding it here...

0:04:350:04:38

-..because of the hoary old cliche

-that it always rains in Blaenau.

0:04:390:04:44

-"The festival

-was free of umbrellas."

0:04:440:04:47

-Praise for holding it here,

-and it was a dry week.

0:04:470:04:50

-"Barefoot lobscouse."

0:05:000:05:02

-What do you think that means?

0:05:030:05:04

-What do you think that means?

-

-No idea.

0:05:040:05:05

-Lobscouse with no meat in it.

0:05:060:05:08

-It's a sign of the times then.

0:05:080:05:10

-Money was tight

-and they couldn't afford meat.

0:05:100:05:13

-Barefoot lobscouse.

0:05:140:05:16

-Lobscouse, or cawl, without meat.

0:05:160:05:19

-This is the end of the trip,

-where we see the last saying.

0:05:260:05:29

-"Away from the cow's backside."

0:05:300:05:33

-Backside? Oh, right.

0:05:340:05:36

-Backside? Oh, right.

-

-This is what it means.

0:05:360:05:38

-When a farmhand

-has found a job at the quarry.

0:05:390:05:42

-He's come away

-from the cow's backside.

0:05:420:05:45

-I love this idea.

0:05:470:05:49

-Not many places can boast as many

-legends as the Vale of Ffestiniog.

0:05:580:06:02

-I'm in Llan Ffestiniog...

0:06:020:06:04

-..on the trail of both historic

-and legendary characters.

0:06:040:06:08

-Then I'll head north

-through Blaenau itself...

0:06:080:06:11

-..on the trail of more contemporary

-but no less interesting stories.

0:06:120:06:16

-These are the Cynfal Falls,

-and the water is extremely powerful.

0:06:190:06:24

-Over hundreds

-of thousands of years...

0:06:250:06:28

-..the falls and the river have worn

-all kinds of shapes into the rock.

0:06:280:06:33

-In the 17th century, Huw Llwyd,

-a local man from Maentwrog...

0:06:330:06:38

-..came up here to stand on a rock

-above the falls...

0:06:380:06:41

-..to recite poetry,

-to preach and to talk to ghosts.

0:06:420:06:45

-He thought he was safe on the rock

-because the Devil feared water.

0:06:460:06:51

-There are tales about Huw Llwyd

-travelling Wales weaving magic...

0:06:530:06:57

-..fighting witches in Betws-y-Coed

-and luring thieves in Pentrefoelas.

0:06:570:07:02

-He did the latter by making

-an animal horn grow out of a table.

0:07:020:07:08

-The thieves froze on the spot

-until morning...

0:07:090:07:12

-..by which time

-the police had come to arrest them.

0:07:120:07:16

-I'm not sure about that story,

-but this is Huw Llwyd's Pulpit...

0:07:160:07:20

-..where he ranted about things

-that were enchanting at the time...

0:07:200:07:25

-..including hypnotism.

0:07:250:07:27

-He was also a minister, a soldier,

-a poet and clearly a brave man!

0:07:270:07:32

-Look where the rock is!

0:07:320:07:33

-No, sorry, I'm not going near it.

0:07:340:07:36

-With our feet closer to the ground,

-we'll return to the town itself.

0:07:440:07:49

-CellB is a former police station

-that draws both young and old.

0:07:500:07:55

-It's a cafe, a bar,

-a hostel and a cinema.

0:07:550:07:59

-That gives us a chance to look at

-an unusual local mode of transport.

0:08:000:08:05

-This is the old LNWR,

-later the LMS railway station.

0:08:070:08:10

-At the back here,

-you can see a path.

0:08:110:08:14

-We called it the crooked path,

-because it zigzagged up...

0:08:150:08:19

-..all the way to the Oakeley

-and Gloddfa Ganol quarries.

0:08:200:08:24

-This was the path that the quarrymen

-walked to work every morning...

0:08:240:08:29

-..and back down in the evening.

0:08:290:08:31

-We'll move on to Graig Ddu quarry.

0:08:320:08:34

-They travelled differently here.

0:08:340:08:38

-The smith at the quarry in the 1860s

-came up with his own patent.

0:08:390:08:44

-It was called the car gwyllt -

-the wild car.

0:08:440:08:47

-It's earned its place

-in Ffestiniog's history.

0:08:470:08:50

-It was a form of skateboard

-with an iron rod attached...

0:08:510:08:54

-..designed to travel along rails.

0:08:540:08:57

-They came down three inclines

-all the way from Graig Ddu quarry.

0:08:570:09:01

-It doesn't look very substantial.

0:09:010:09:04

-And it travelled at a fair speed.

0:09:040:09:07

-I want to show you one more photo.

0:09:070:09:10

-It shows one woman

-who used this contraption.

0:09:100:09:16

-Is that her?

0:09:160:09:17

-Is that her?

-

-Yes, there she is.

0:09:170:09:18

-Her name was Kate Hughes.

0:09:190:09:21

-Rhiwbach quarry is on the border

-between here and Cwm Penmachno...

0:09:220:09:28

-..some 1,500 feet up,

-where a small village had developed.

0:09:280:09:33

-In 1908, parents in the village...

0:09:330:09:37

-..demanded a school be set up

-for the two dozen children there.

0:09:380:09:43

-Kate Hughes

-was appointed headmistress.

0:09:440:09:48

-How did she get there?

0:09:480:09:50

-She'd set off

-from Sgwar Diffwys in town...

0:09:500:09:54

-..and was winched up the inclines.

0:09:550:09:58

-Then she taught.

0:09:590:10:00

-Then she taught.

-

-She taught all day.

0:10:000:10:01

-Then back down on the car gwyllt.

0:10:010:10:04

-Then back down on the car gwyllt.

-

-You've heard the story!

0:10:040:10:06

-No, I've seen her photo!

0:10:060:10:08

-Imagine her coming down,

-her skirt over her face...

0:10:090:10:12

-..among all the men.

0:10:130:10:14

-There wasn't much dignity involved.

0:10:140:10:16

-There wasn't much dignity involved.

-

-Quite a woman!

0:10:160:10:17

-Reminders of quarrying are

-everywhere in Blaenau Ffestiniog.

0:10:230:10:29

-The wheels may have long since

-stopped turning on some wagons...

0:10:290:10:33

-..today's quarrymen are well aware

-of their honourable predecessors.

0:10:340:10:39

-I'm from a family of quarrymen.

0:10:410:10:43

-I've worked at the quarry

-for over 15 years.

0:10:430:10:46

-I'm the fourth generation to do so.

0:10:460:10:48

-I'm the fourth generation to do so.

-

-Slate must be in your blood!

0:10:480:10:51

-I'm steeped in slate, yes.

0:10:510:10:53

-And the products are roof slates.

0:10:530:10:56

-Yes, these are two examples.

0:10:560:10:57

-Yes, these are two examples.

-

-Different colours, I notice.

0:10:570:10:59

-The purple Caernarfon slate is older

-than the blue Meirionnydd slate.

0:11:000:11:05

-That's the best one, obviously.

0:11:060:11:07

-That's the best one, obviously.

-

-I won't argue with you.

0:11:070:11:09

-Blaenau Ffestiniog

-isn't just one large quarry, is it?

0:11:100:11:14

-No, there are several quarries.

0:11:140:11:16

-Sadly, many of them have closed.

0:11:160:11:18

-The main ones were the Oakeley...

0:11:190:11:21

-..once the world's largest

-subterranean slate quarry...

0:11:210:11:25

-..Llechwedd, Maenofferen, Lord,

-Diffwys, the first, and Manod.

0:11:250:11:30

-This device here

-was unique to Manod quarry.

0:11:300:11:35

-The famous car gwyllt.

0:11:360:11:37

-The famous car gwyllt.

-

-This is the actual car gwyllt?

0:11:370:11:40

-The quarrymen rode on this

-at the end of the shift.

0:11:400:11:44

-It's a simple enough device.

0:11:450:11:47

-Two wheels formed from iron

-attached to a piece of wood.

0:11:470:11:52

-And it just rested on the line.

0:11:540:11:56

-And that's the brake.

0:11:560:11:57

-And that's the brake.

-

-This is the brake, yes.

0:11:570:11:59

-Everyone had one of their own.

0:11:590:12:02

-You can see the initials here, RP.

0:12:020:12:03

-You can see the initials here, RP.

-

-Robert Parry, probably!

0:12:030:12:05

-And he'd own this.

0:12:060:12:07

-And he'd own this.

-

-This belonged to him, yes.

0:12:070:12:09

-How many quarrymen

-went home using these?

0:12:090:12:12

-About 200 of them

-would have raced down the incline.

0:12:120:12:16

-In one long line!

0:12:160:12:17

-Were there any accidents?

0:12:180:12:19

-Were there any accidents?

-

-Very few, I think, on the whole.

0:12:190:12:22

-Sit there, and throw your leg over.

0:12:220:12:26

-Facing this way?

0:12:260:12:27

-Both legs stretched out, crossed.

0:12:300:12:33

-One hand on the brake.

0:12:330:12:34

-One hand on the brake.

-

-OK, on the brake.

0:12:340:12:35

-The other one leaning left.

0:12:360:12:38

-Let's give it a go.

0:12:380:12:40

-It still works, fair play.

0:12:470:12:50

-Is this how you go home?

0:12:500:12:52

-Not quite!

-Things have changed a lot!

0:12:520:12:55

-.

0:12:560:12:57

-Subtitles

0:13:010:13:01

-Subtitles

-

-Subtitles

0:13:010:13:03

-We're in the Vale of Ffestiniog...

0:13:050:13:07

-..on the trail of local history,

-legends and natural wonders.

0:13:070:13:11

-Later, I'll sample produce

-that grows wild around us.

0:13:110:13:15

-But first,

-I need to find my bearings...

0:13:160:13:20

-..and I have the ideal guide.

0:13:200:13:23

-It's a nice place to go walking,

-and there are lots of paths.

0:13:250:13:28

-I've led tours now

-for over seven years...

0:13:290:13:32

-..and I'm still finding new paths,

-even though I grew up in Blaenau.

0:13:320:13:38

-You can walk and see no-one.

0:13:390:13:41

-If you do see someone,

-you have a chat and move on.

0:13:410:13:45

-There's so much history to see,

-round houses and so on.

0:13:450:13:50

-There's wildlife galore.

0:13:500:13:52

-Everything you need, in a way.

0:13:520:13:54

-It's also a good way to keep fit.

0:13:550:13:57

-Nordic walking

-uses 90% of your muscles.

0:13:570:14:00

-The only other sport

-that does that is swimming.

0:14:010:14:04

-It's good for the core muscles.

0:14:040:14:07

-It's good for batwings.

0:14:070:14:09

-And it's only a hop,

-step and jump from town.

0:14:090:14:13

-Here, you can see round houses.

0:14:140:14:18

-The circle comes around this way.

0:14:180:14:20

-The circle comes around this way.

-

-Yes, it's clear here.

0:14:200:14:22

-The main circle itself

-goes all the way round...

0:14:220:14:26

-..the other side of that stone wall

-and back this way.

0:14:270:14:30

-Maybe they kept their animals there,

-but we don't know.

0:14:300:14:34

-We'll go this way now

-and I'll show you more.

0:14:340:14:38

-Take care - the stones are slippery.

0:14:380:14:41

-This view takes your breath away.

0:14:480:14:50

-This view takes your breath away.

-

-Isn't it great?

0:14:500:14:51

-That's Moelwyn Bach over there,

-then the Stwlan dam...

0:14:520:14:57

-..then across to Moelwyn Mawr,

-Moel yr Hydd and Craigysgafn.

0:14:570:15:01

-In the hollow, that's Cwmorthin,

-a remarkable place.

0:15:010:15:05

-Make sure you go there.

0:15:060:15:07

-Then over there,

-Craig Nyth-y-Gigfran...

0:15:080:15:10

-..and the Oakeley quarries...

0:15:110:15:13

-..later known as Gloddfa Ganol,

-then over to Llechwedd...

0:15:130:15:17

-..with the zip wires and Antur

-Stiniog's downhill mountain biking.

0:15:170:15:21

-That has transformed

-Blaenau Ffestiniog.

0:15:210:15:25

-It's just...

0:15:250:15:26

-..the best place in the world.

0:15:260:15:28

-Further down the valley is something

-you wouldn't expect here in Wales.

0:15:320:15:38

-Woods with similar characteristics

-to the world's most famous forests.

0:15:380:15:43

-I'm walking through a rainforest,

-not far from Blaenau Ffestiniog.

0:15:450:15:49

-Essentially, there's not much

-difference between Coed Felenrhyd...

0:15:500:15:54

-..and the enormous Amazon forests.

0:15:550:15:57

-The special conditions,

-the moisture and humidity...

0:15:570:16:01

-..help a wide variety

-of plants and wildlife to flourish.

0:16:010:16:05

-That Felenrhyd is a rainforest

-isn't the only surprise.

0:16:080:16:13

-It's also exceptionally old.

0:16:130:16:16

-This is wood sorrel.

0:16:160:16:20

-It's a small, pretty flower.

0:16:200:16:23

-If you see wood sorrel, bluebells...

0:16:240:16:28

-..maybe wood anemones in woodland...

0:16:280:16:32

-..you can be fairly certain

-that they're ancient woods.

0:16:330:16:36

-Rory, this tree is enormous.

0:16:380:16:40

-It's an oak.

0:16:410:16:42

-It has to be over 500 years old.

0:16:420:16:46

-It was probably a sapling...

0:16:460:16:49

-..when William Morgan was busy

-translating the Bible into Welsh.

0:16:490:16:54

-Is there a record

-of people using the woods?

0:16:550:16:57

-These woods formed part

-of the Oakeley estate.

0:16:580:17:02

-Ffestiniog slates have been

-exported all over the world...

0:17:020:17:07

-..in ships made from timber

-from these very woods.

0:17:070:17:12

-Very interesting.

0:17:120:17:13

-While I continue

-my walk through the woods...

0:17:190:17:22

-..among the houses

-that cling to the rock...

0:17:220:17:26

-..you'll find some very unlikely

-crafts being pursued.

0:17:260:17:31

-The whole process is very complex.

0:17:370:17:40

-It's taken a hold of me

-and I can't let it go!

0:17:410:17:45

-I couldn't afford one...

0:17:470:17:49

-..so I decided to try to make one.

0:17:490:17:53

-I went to see a few people...

0:17:530:17:55

-..and eventually found a method

-that worked for me.

0:17:560:18:00

-But I had

-a lot of firewood initially!

0:18:010:18:03

-When you deal with wood,

-there isn't much leeway.

0:18:080:18:12

-A pine face,

-with maple back and sides.

0:18:160:18:21

-You wouldn't believe how many

-measurements I have to take.

0:18:220:18:26

-I'll make a violin sometimes...

0:18:280:18:30

-..with the exact same wood,

-strings and varnish...

0:18:310:18:34

-..and one sounds better

-than the others.

0:18:350:18:38

-Why? I don't know.

0:18:380:18:39

-I saw four big beams of Douglas fir

-supporting the chapel rooves.

0:18:430:18:49

-I made some violins out of them

-and they sounded so good.

0:18:500:18:53

-It's an art not many can aspire to.

0:18:550:19:00

-Apparently, they played

-Y Car Gwyllt in the Oakeley cabins.

0:19:030:19:08

-As it progresses, it gets faster,

-and there were no brakes.

0:19:110:19:15

-The second part sounds like a train

-hitting the barriers.

0:19:190:19:23

-This air was played

-in the quarry cabins.

0:19:240:19:27

-In 1934, it's said, a special stone

-was discovered down there...

0:19:320:19:37

-..on the bed of the River Cynfal.

0:19:380:19:40

-And here it is.

0:19:400:19:41

-It's been laid on dry land now.

0:19:420:19:44

-It has a unique feature,

-a perfect hole right through it.

0:19:450:19:48

-If you believe the stories,

-it didn't happen by chance.

0:19:490:19:53

-According to the Mabinogi...

0:19:530:19:55

-..Lleu Llaw Gyffes's girlfriend,

-Blodeuwedd, ran off with Gronw Pebr.

0:19:560:20:01

-Lleu wasn't too happy,

-so he chased after them.

0:20:010:20:05

-Gronw threw a spear at him.

0:20:050:20:07

-But Lleu turned into an eagle

-and flew away.

0:20:080:20:11

-Later, of course, the time came

-for Lleu to seek revenge.

0:20:120:20:17

-Once again,

-they were on the riverbank...

0:20:180:20:21

-..but this time,

-Lleu held the spear.

0:20:210:20:23

-He threw it across the river...

0:20:240:20:26

-..and it hit a stone between him

-and Gronw, which explains the hole.

0:20:260:20:30

-It then pierced Gronw's heart.

0:20:310:20:33

-That's the story, anyway.

0:20:330:20:35

-Llech Ronw

-stands on Bryn Saeth farm.

0:20:370:20:39

-Legend has it that it's so named...

0:20:400:20:42

-..because Lleu threw the spear

-from here all the way to the river.

0:20:420:20:47

-You're not allowed

-to hunt with spears any more...

0:20:470:20:50

-..but I was Year 7

-javelin champion in 1998...

0:20:510:20:54

-..so I'll have a go.

0:20:540:20:55

-Not even close.

0:21:010:21:02

-It's a load of nonsense.

0:21:030:21:05

-Legends aren't the only things

-that grow on trees here.

0:21:100:21:13

-The views are guaranteed

-to make your mouth water.

0:21:140:21:18

-You can even

-get a taste of the area...

0:21:180:21:22

-..by sampling some fare

-that grows wild at the roadside.

0:21:220:21:26

-This is a favourite of mine,

-sheep's sorrel.

0:21:270:21:30

-The base of the leaf

-resembles a ram's horns.

0:21:300:21:34

-Try a bit of that.

0:21:350:21:36

-The French make soup with it.

0:21:380:21:40

-It contains oxalic acid,

-which is poisonous.

0:21:410:21:45

-But you'd have to eat a lot of it.

0:21:450:21:47

-That won't kill you!

0:21:470:21:49

-These nettles have flowered.

0:21:490:21:52

-That leaves these seeds.

0:21:530:21:55

-They're considered

-a superfood nowadays.

0:21:560:21:58

-They contain up to 20% protein...

0:21:590:22:01

-..vitamins A, C and D,

-and potassium.

0:22:010:22:05

-It's remarkable stuff.

0:22:060:22:07

-If you get stung, cut the stem.

0:22:070:22:09

-Ignore dock leaves, they don't work.

0:22:100:22:12

-That's what I always use.

0:22:130:22:14

-Cut the stem and apply the sap

-from inside the stem.

0:22:140:22:18

-A wealth of benefits.

0:22:180:22:20

-A wealth of benefits.

-

-And free.

0:22:200:22:21

-Would you like to try this?

0:22:260:22:27

-Would you like to try this?

-

-What is it?

0:22:270:22:28

-Water and flowers.

0:22:280:22:30

-A small flower called meadowsweet.

0:22:300:22:33

-You can make champagne with it,

-as with elderflower.

0:22:330:22:37

-It's an exceptional plant.

0:22:380:22:40

-That's nice.

0:22:410:22:42

-It's very fresh.

0:22:420:22:44

-It contains salicylic acid,

-which is the basis of aspirin.

0:22:450:22:49

-This is the original aspirin.

0:22:490:22:51

-You can make champagne with it...

0:22:510:22:53

-..and drink it next day

-to clear the hangover!

0:22:540:22:57

-There's something else here, sloes.

0:22:570:23:02

-They're also called blackthorns,

-and they're sour!

0:23:040:23:08

-You'd use these to make sloe gin.

0:23:090:23:11

-You'd use these to make sloe gin.

-

-Oh!

0:23:110:23:12

-A third of sloes, a third of sugar

-and a third of cheap gin.

0:23:120:23:17

-Mix it daily until Christmas

-and enjoy it.

0:23:170:23:20

-This is nice, but I'll fling this!

0:23:200:23:23

-Let's go.

0:23:230:23:25

-So bitter.

0:23:280:23:29

-We'll now make a skin lotion...

0:23:360:23:40

-..with items foraged on our walk.

0:23:400:23:43

-First, pass me the yarrow,

-the hairy-looking one.

0:23:430:23:48

-Two or three of those.

0:23:490:23:51

-Pick them, then pennywort.

0:23:520:23:55

-This is very good to revive skin.

0:23:550:23:58

-Then we can either go for lavender

-or pineapple weed.

0:23:580:24:02

-We'll go for lavender.

0:24:030:24:04

-We'll go for lavender.

-

-That helps you to relax.

0:24:040:24:06

-That's really nice.

0:24:060:24:08

-Will the wax help it set?

0:24:080:24:11

-Will the wax help it set?

-

-It'll thicken it. This is beeswax.

0:24:110:24:14

-Wheatgerm oil

-is also good for reviving skin.

0:24:140:24:19

-A bit of elderflower honey.

0:24:200:24:22

-And that's it.

0:24:240:24:25

-The skin lotion is ready.

0:24:250:24:27

-It just has to set now.

0:24:280:24:29

-That was so easy.

0:24:300:24:30

-That was so easy.

-

-It takes hardly any time.

0:24:300:24:32

-You enjoy a nice, relaxing walk

-and it's all there for you.

0:24:330:24:38

-It's a nice end

-to a lovely walk.

0:24:380:24:40

-And you can take

-the walk home with you.

0:24:410:24:44

-.

0:24:460:24:47

-Subtitles

0:24:510:24:51

-Subtitles

-

-Subtitles

0:24:510:24:53

-You need to get up early

-to catch the people of Blaenau.

0:24:560:24:59

-But some things remain a mystery,

-even to the townspeople.

0:25:000:25:05

-I've almost finished my tour

-of local legends.

0:25:060:25:09

-I've been after a wizard and

-legendary characters to the south.

0:25:100:25:14

-Next, I'm heading north,

-to the edges of Snowdonia...

0:25:160:25:19

-..where more recent history

-is etched into the soil.

0:25:190:25:23

-If you've ever driven along the A470

-over the Crimea Pass...

0:25:270:25:31

-..you're sure to have noticed

-this strange patch of bare soil.

0:25:310:25:37

-It's known as Boot Hill.

0:25:370:25:39

-It looks like a UFO landing site...

0:25:410:25:43

-..but on closer inspection,

-the truth becomes apparent.

0:25:430:25:47

-Rusty hobnails and heel caps

-from old boots, thousands of them...

0:25:490:25:55

-..burnt in a fire a long time ago.

0:25:550:25:58

-In summer, the sun heats the metal.

0:25:590:26:02

-Locals will tell you

-that they can feel the heat...

0:26:020:26:05

-..through the soles of their

-wellingtons as they go fishing.

0:26:050:26:10

-Did the shoes belong to quarrymen

-fed up with working endlessly...

0:26:120:26:17

-..and burning their boots

-in protest?

0:26:170:26:20

-Or were they left behind by POWs

-before they fled the country?

0:26:210:26:25

-The stories are endless.

0:26:250:26:27

-The truth, it seems,

-is less dramatic.

0:26:280:26:30

-During WW2, there was a factory

-that repaired shoes in the area.

0:26:310:26:36

-The shoes came in, were repaired,

-and used again by soldiers.

0:26:360:26:41

-Those shoes that had seen better

-days were burned on the mountain.

0:26:420:26:47

-For such a recent event, it's

-strange how many stories there are.

0:26:480:26:53

-I'm sure the stories will persist,

-even after the remnants disappear.

0:26:530:26:58

-Down the valley

-from Blaenau's industrial areas...

0:27:030:27:06

-..is a wonder

-that belongs entirely to nature.

0:27:060:27:09

-A rainforest

-bearing similar characteristics...

0:27:090:27:13

-..to that of the Amazon,

-but here in Wales.

0:27:130:27:17

-The damp environment is ideal

-for some rare varieties of lichen.

0:27:190:27:23

-This lichen is very interesting.

0:27:260:27:29

-If you look at it...

0:27:300:27:32

-..you can see

-that it's slightly elastic.

0:27:320:27:36

-Lichen itself is interesting...

0:27:360:27:39

-..because it's a combination

-of fungi that has algae in it.

0:27:400:27:44

-The algae creates food, sugars...

0:27:450:27:48

-..and the fungus

-provides the structure.

0:27:490:27:51

-As a result, it doesn't need roots

-to get the nourishment it needs.

0:27:520:27:57

-It can absorb moisture

-from the atmosphere.

0:27:570:28:01

-But that means it can only grow

-in very damp places such as this.

0:28:010:28:07

-A rainforest.

0:28:080:28:09

-This moisture means that lichen

-grows in every nook and cranny.

0:28:150:28:19

-There are unique species

-at Felenrhyd as well.

0:28:190:28:23

-Two important finds have been made

-in these woods fairly recently.

0:28:280:28:33

-Thelotrema petractoides

-and pyrenula hibernica.

0:28:340:28:40

-Quite a tongue-twister.

0:28:400:28:41

-Quite a tongue-twister.

-

-Exactly.

0:28:410:28:43

-At the time, we didn't know

-of anywhere they grew in Wales.

0:28:430:28:49

-They grow on hazel and ash trees.

0:28:490:28:53

-One looks a bit like this...

0:28:540:28:57

-..and is described

-as blackberries in custard.

0:28:570:29:01

-Why do they grow on these trees...

0:29:010:29:05

-..rather than oaks and so on?

0:29:050:29:07

-The bark of some trees

-is more acidic.

0:29:070:29:11

-The bark of others,

-like ash trees, is more alkaline.

0:29:120:29:17

-That will be a problem...

0:29:170:29:22

-..if ash dieback does strike

-and many ash trees disappear.

0:29:220:29:28

-It will be bad news

-for lots of rare lichens.

0:29:280:29:32

-There's a vital balance

-in a place like this...

0:29:360:29:40

-..with so many

-rare plants and animals.

0:29:400:29:43

-Thankfully, it's in the care

-of the Woodland Trust.

0:29:430:29:46

-But the woods

-are totally dependent on one thing.

0:29:470:29:51

-Water.

0:29:510:29:52

-This is Rhaeadr Ddu

-on the River Prysor...

0:29:550:29:58

-..flowing from Trawsfynydd lake

-to the sea.

0:29:580:30:02

-There are two reasons

-why these woods are so damp.

0:30:020:30:07

-We get more than 100 days

-of rain in a year...

0:30:070:30:12

-..but we're also in a deep ravine

-with a river flowing through it.

0:30:130:30:19

-The resulting spray of water...

0:30:190:30:22

-..creates a very wet microclimate.

0:30:220:30:26

-If it wasn't for that...

0:30:260:30:28

-..we wouldn't have the wealth

-of lichen and flowers that we do.

0:30:280:30:34

-As we come down the ravine into this

-open area and see the waterfall...

0:30:340:30:39

-..it actually feels

-like a rainforest.

0:30:400:30:42

-It's a real gem and it wouldn't

-exist without the rain.

0:30:430:30:47

-During the summer of 1940,

-almost a year into World War Two...

0:30:520:30:58

-..rumours spread

-in Llan Ffestiniog...

0:30:580:31:01

-..that some of Britain's

-greatest treasures...

0:31:010:31:05

-..were to be hidden

-in the surrounding mountains.

0:31:050:31:09

-First of all,

-people that we didn't know...

0:31:090:31:13

-..came around asking questions..

0:31:130:31:17

-Naturally,

-my father was very suspicious...

0:31:170:31:20

-..of what was happening.

0:31:200:31:22

-Eventually, we started to grasp...

0:31:220:31:25

-..that something was happening

-in the quarry up at the top.

0:31:260:31:31

-What was going on there then?

0:31:310:31:32

-What was going on there then?

-

-Lorries brought various loads up.

0:31:320:31:37

-Treasures from the National Gallery

-to be stored in the quarry.

0:31:370:31:43

-You have a few

-black and white photographs there.

0:31:440:31:47

-Take this one.

0:31:470:31:48

-This here is the card

-seen in that photo.

0:31:490:31:52

-They could work out,

-as I could when I was there...

0:31:520:31:56

-..the exact air quality

-at any given time...

0:31:560:32:02

-..be it too dry or too humid.

0:32:020:32:04

-When you worked there,

-the threat was still ongoing.

0:32:050:32:09

-That if war broke out,

-you'd have to do the same...

0:32:100:32:13

-..as what happened

-during the Second World War.

0:32:130:32:17

-We'd get twelve hours' notice

-should anything have to come in.

0:32:170:32:21

-We had to take care of the roof...

0:32:210:32:25

-..the rock face itself...

0:32:250:32:27

-..and the internal temperature

-and air quality.

0:32:270:32:32

-And you looked after all that?

0:32:320:32:34

-And you looked after all that?

-

-That was my job there, yes.

0:32:340:32:36

-This is a rough map of the chamber.

0:32:360:32:39

-We called one the cathedral.

0:32:400:32:42

-That one was specially protected.

0:32:420:32:47

-It's said that the Crown Jewels

-and the like were kept there.

0:32:470:32:53

-In there?

0:32:530:32:54

-In there?

-

-Yes, in there.

0:32:540:32:55

-How much truth was there in that?

0:32:550:32:58

-How much truth was there in that?

-

-I think it was true.

0:32:580:32:59

-Yes, I'm fairly certain.

0:32:590:33:01

-Was everything there, I don't know,

-but they certainly came there.

0:33:010:33:06

-By today,

-nothing is stored at Manod.

0:33:110:33:14

-But one current employee...

0:33:140:33:16

-..will guide me along

-the same route as the treasures...

0:33:170:33:20

-..and give me a privileged glimpse

-of the historic chambers.

0:33:200:33:25

-This is where it all started,

-the paintings coming from London.

0:33:260:33:30

-The first problem

-was getting under the bridge.

0:33:310:33:35

-They had a few large paintings.

0:33:350:33:37

-The tarmac was higher

-than it is now, which was a problem.

0:33:370:33:42

-There were two large paintings...

0:33:420:33:44

-..King Charles I on Horseback,

-and The Raising Of Lazarus.

0:33:440:33:48

-It's said there was half an inch

-to spare after deflating the tyres.

0:33:480:33:53

-Whether or not that's true,

-I don't know.

0:33:540:33:56

-How long did this go on?

0:33:570:33:58

-Three containers a day...

0:33:580:34:00

-..six days a week, for five weeks.

0:34:000:34:03

-About 90 containers,

-a total of some 3,500 paintings.

0:34:030:34:09

-Shall we go?

0:34:090:34:10

-Yes, why not?

0:34:100:34:12

-Why did they choose that location?

0:34:160:34:19

-It's such a remote place,

-and it's difficult to get to.

0:34:190:34:23

-It's about three miles

-from the village.

0:34:230:34:26

-It's all uphill, the road's narrow.

0:34:260:34:29

-Apparently,

-Lloyd George recommended it.

0:34:290:34:34

-There was so much bombing

-during the Second World War.

0:34:350:34:38

-They probably thought

-this was the safest place.

0:34:390:34:42

-They were safe underground,

-so that's why.

0:34:420:34:45

-Right, this is the start.

0:34:580:34:59

-The paintings came up here

-on the wagons to be unloaded...

0:35:000:35:04

-..and were taken by narrow gauge

-railway to the far end...

0:35:040:35:08

-..and into the chambers.

0:35:080:35:11

-The loading bay was here

-and they went to different chambers.

0:35:110:35:16

-Great.

0:35:160:35:17

-Let's go in then.

0:35:180:35:19

-Let's go in then.

-

-Right.

0:35:190:35:20

-No-one has been in here

-for many years.

0:35:240:35:27

-It's a huge honour to go somewhere

-where time has stood still.

0:35:270:35:33

-We're approaching the chambers

-where they kept the paintings.

0:35:370:35:42

-As you can see, these levels have

-been expanded to bring them in.

0:35:420:35:46

-They were about six feet,

-but they're now about 14 feet high.

0:35:470:35:52

-A lot higher.

0:35:520:35:53

-Chains to hold up

-sections of the roof.

0:35:530:35:56

-Here are the buildings.

0:35:560:35:59

-These housed the air con units.

0:36:000:36:02

-They kept the temperature

-at a constant 65 degrees.

0:36:030:36:08

-The temperature had to be exact.

0:36:080:36:11

-It was meant to be constant

-and not fluctuate at all.

0:36:120:36:17

-There's something interesting

-on the other side as well...

0:36:180:36:22

-..if you'd like to see.

0:36:230:36:24

-There are steps going up.

0:36:250:36:27

-It's remarkable, isn't it?

0:36:280:36:29

-It's remarkable, isn't it?

-

-Yes, it is.

0:36:290:36:30

-We're in this area,

-having come all the way through.

0:36:330:36:37

-The loading bay was next door,

-then the paintings came in here.

0:36:370:36:41

-The other side here?

0:36:420:36:43

-Yes, on the other side.

0:36:430:36:45

-How long were they here?

0:36:470:36:48

-The paintings came here

-from August 1941 until 1945.

0:36:490:36:54

-It's incredible to think

-that they were here.

0:36:550:36:58

-That we're standing

-in the actual spot.

0:36:580:37:00

-Right.

0:37:030:37:04

-It's huge!

0:37:050:37:06

-Can you see the white squares?

0:37:060:37:09

-That's where the paintings were.

0:37:090:37:12

-Here?

0:37:120:37:13

-Here?

-

-That's right.

0:37:130:37:14

-There used to be labels,

-which I've since read about...

0:37:150:37:19

-..and there was one Michelangelo

-kept in here.

0:37:190:37:23

-I touch this wall and wonder

-which painting was here back then.

0:37:260:37:31

-It's said that a quarter

-of Britain's wealth was here.

0:37:310:37:35

-I don't know if that's true.

0:37:350:37:37

-I didn't know what to expect...

0:37:430:37:46

-..but it's truly remarkable...

0:37:460:37:48

-..the thought of all those treasures

-stored here.

0:37:490:37:53

-.

0:37:540:37:55

-Subtitles

0:38:000:38:00

-Subtitles

-

-Subtitles

0:38:000:38:02

-We're in the Vale of Ffestiniog,

-an area of extraordinary diversity.

0:38:040:38:09

-There's so much more to the area

-than quarries and slate.

0:38:090:38:13

-But I still want to ask

-what the weather is really like.

0:38:130:38:16

-The Moelwyn

-isn't wearing a cap today.

0:38:170:38:20

-What does that mean?

0:38:200:38:21

-What does that mean?

-

-That it's sunny.

0:38:210:38:22

-No cap means no mist or cloud?

0:38:230:38:26

-The lower the mist descends,

-the more rain falls in Blaenau.

0:38:270:38:32

-Are there lots of sayings

-and have you grown up with them?

0:38:320:38:37

-Yes, Dad used them often.

0:38:370:38:39

-The Moelwyn, maybe mountains

-in general, sometimes appear close.

0:38:400:38:45

-That's another sign of rain.

0:38:460:38:48

-If the mountains seem distant,

-it's set fair.

0:38:480:38:52

-Do all these sayings hold true?

0:38:520:38:54

-Nine times out of ten, yes,

-but there are exceptions.

0:38:550:39:00

-Even the weather people

-aren't always right.

0:39:000:39:04

-You gather information

-about the weather.

0:39:040:39:07

-I have done for years.

0:39:080:39:09

-I started to keep

-a written record in 1986.

0:39:100:39:14

-These old books

-show how I did it at first.

0:39:140:39:19

-This is a record of August 1987...

0:39:190:39:23

-..when the Eisteddfod

-was in Porthmadog.

0:39:230:39:27

-The handwriting's a bit untidy.

0:39:270:39:30

-Heavy rain overnight,

-a mess on the Eisteddfod field.

0:39:300:39:34

-At that time,

-I kept it in the form of a diary.

0:39:350:39:38

-But I've kept daily records

-over the years, without fail.

0:39:380:39:43

-Every day?

0:39:430:39:44

-Every day?

-

-Yes, every day.

0:39:440:39:46

-You've recorded the weather

-every day since 1986.

0:39:460:39:50

-Is it true

-that it rains here more often?

0:39:510:39:54

-I've got a rough graph

-at the back of this book.

0:39:540:39:57

-I'll show it to you.

0:39:570:40:00

-It's a simple graph...

0:40:000:40:01

-It's a simple graph...

-

-That's good.

0:40:010:40:02

-This is rainfall, is it?

0:40:030:40:07

-This is rainfall, is it?

-

-Yes, this is rain.

0:40:070:40:08

-It starts on the left with 1986.

0:40:080:40:10

-1989 was fairly dry,

-but 1994 was very wet.

0:40:110:40:15

-But there was worse to come.

0:40:160:40:17

-But there was worse to come.

-

-Yes, there was.

0:40:170:40:18

-The mountains

-and the fact that we're high up...

0:40:180:40:23

-..mean that we catch

-the Atlantic rains.

0:40:230:40:27

-There are lots of sayings about

-the different kind of rain as well.

0:40:280:40:34

-Light rain, it's pouring down,

-those kind of sayings.

0:40:340:40:38

-What would you say?

0:40:380:40:41

-"Tatsian y glaw."

0:40:410:40:44

-What does that mean?

0:40:440:40:45

-Really heavy rain!

0:40:460:40:48

-"Tatsian y glaw."

0:40:480:40:49

-It's throwing it down.

0:40:510:40:53

-When it's raining buckets.

0:40:530:40:55

-Or sweeping rain...

0:40:550:40:56

-..when the wind blows it and you

-can see it move horizontally.

0:40:570:41:01

-Then there are sayings about mist.

0:41:020:41:04

-"Mae'n niwl dopyn."

0:41:040:41:06

-When you can't see further

-than your nose.

0:41:060:41:09

-Winter mist, snow's servant.

0:41:090:41:11

-Winter mist, snow's servant?

0:41:110:41:14

-A sign that snow would soon follow.

0:41:150:41:17

-It's important

-to keep these local sayings alive.

0:41:170:41:20

-They describe the area,

-and also feature the local dialect.

0:41:210:41:26

-Other areas

-might say something similar...

0:41:270:41:30

-..but the odd word here and there

-belongs to us.

0:41:300:41:34

-The Crimea Pass is a steep road...

0:41:440:41:47

-..that snakes through the mountains

-near Blaenau Ffestiniog.

0:41:470:41:51

-It was opened in 1854,

-during the very bloody Crimean War.

0:41:510:41:57

-It was a religious war,

-against Russia.

0:42:000:42:03

-Locally, some people believe

-that Russian POWs built this road.

0:42:040:42:09

-A little piece of Russia

-on the A470? Perhaps.

0:42:090:42:13

-The Crimean War isn't the only war

-to leave its mark on this area.

0:42:140:42:19

-Not many people know about a hidden

-wonder by the side of the road.

0:42:190:42:23

-A small rock

-with dozens of names carved into it.

0:42:230:42:27

-Local youths came here to the exact

-same rock to leave their mark...

0:42:270:42:33

-..before setting off

-to fight in wars all over the world.

0:42:330:42:38

-It's called St Michael's Stone.

0:42:390:42:41

-A spring

-used to rise to the surface here.

0:42:420:42:45

-People came here

-for centuries to pray.

0:42:450:42:49

-In a way,

-the carved initials are a prayer.

0:42:520:42:55

-Local boys, about to leave home

-for maybe the last time...

0:42:560:43:00

-..asking for help from God,

-the mountains, anyone who'd listen.

0:43:000:43:05

-I wonder how many did come back.

0:43:060:43:08

-I've already sampled quarry culture

-here in the Vale of Ffestiniog.

0:43:170:43:22

-But seeing the scale of the work

-with your own eyes is amazing.

0:43:220:43:27

-In the late 19th century...

0:43:280:43:29

-..almost 500 thousand tons of slate

-was quarried here annually.

0:43:300:43:35

-The scale of the work is immense.

0:43:360:43:39

-Huge blocks of slate

-are treated and split in the mill...

0:43:390:43:42

-..to supply the building industry.

0:43:430:43:45

-You realized just how noisy it was

-when you took out the earplugs.

0:43:490:43:54

-It's also dusty in there.

0:43:540:43:55

-My own grandfather

-died of silicosis before I was born.

0:43:560:44:00

-Everyone in Blaenau knows someone

-who was affected by the slate dust.

0:44:000:44:05

-It takes years to master the art.

0:44:060:44:10

-These lads

-have been at it for years.

0:44:100:44:13

-The mill and quarry skills

-are similar.

0:44:140:44:16

-We split the rock,

-we pillar the rock...

0:44:160:44:20

-..only on a much bigger scale.

0:44:200:44:22

-We use explosives where the lads

-at the mill use a hammer and chisel.

0:44:230:44:27

-As we head to the rock face,

-the source of all these slates...

0:44:270:44:32

-..I find that much information

-has been passed down...

0:44:320:44:36

-..and remained unchanged

-for generations.

0:44:360:44:39

-I can read layers in soil...

0:44:400:44:42

-..but the rock is totally different.

0:44:420:44:45

-Explain what we have here.

0:44:450:44:47

-The rock has various faults,

-and we target them to work the rock.

0:44:470:44:53

-The skills are the same

-as they were centuries ago.

0:44:530:44:57

-We use precisely the same skills

-that the quarrymen used.

0:44:570:45:01

-At the base here,

-we have what we call a "slont."

0:45:010:45:04

-There's a slont

-beneath our feet here.

0:45:040:45:07

-A fault or weakness, a parallel

-joint that will push the rock out.

0:45:070:45:11

-That's a natural fault, is it?

0:45:120:45:14

-Yes, that's right.

0:45:140:45:15

-A "pleriad", a columnar formation

-that has been dug and blasted.

0:45:150:45:20

-This is a vertical fissure,

-a natural weakness in the rock.

0:45:210:45:27

-Then a foot-joint, at a right angle

-to the vertical fissure.

0:45:280:45:32

-This is like a new language -

-"slont", "cefn", "troed".

0:45:320:45:36

-Cwt-y-Bugail quarry maintains the

-quarrying tradition in Ffestiniog.

0:45:440:45:49

-Many workers come

-from a long line of quarrymen...

0:45:500:45:53

-..for whom reading the rock

-is almost instinctive.

0:45:530:45:57

-How do you decide where to place

-the explosives to get at the slate?

0:45:570:46:02

-We look for the fissures,

-the natural weaknesses.

0:46:020:46:06

-Because we make roof slates...

0:46:060:46:09

-..we want the rock out in one block,

-not in fist-sized lumps.

0:46:090:46:13

-If I look at the top of the rock...

0:46:130:46:16

-..I might find a fissure here.

0:46:190:46:22

-I'd drill a hole further back

-from the fissure, and explode it...

0:46:230:46:28

-..giving us two blocks

-from only one blast.

0:46:280:46:32

-I get it.

-Well, I'm beginning to understand.

0:46:320:46:36

-What's happening here?

0:46:430:46:45

-Llion is drilling

-the last hole now...

0:46:450:46:48

-..down towards the slont.

0:46:480:46:50

-Hopefully, the blast will free

-two or three blocks of slate.

0:46:510:46:56

-We're almost ready.

0:46:560:46:58

-So, it'll explode outwards

-from the holes?

0:46:580:47:01

-That was much louder

-than I anticipated!

0:47:180:47:21

-As more slate is extracted

-from Ffestiniog's hills...

0:47:320:47:35

-..this place is clearly different

-to other industrial parts of Wales.

0:47:360:47:40

-The reason for its existence,

-the quarries, are still operating.

0:47:410:47:46

-Still splitting the rock.

0:47:460:47:48

-Two things have become apparent from

-our time in the Vale of Ffestiniog.

0:47:500:47:55

-The extraordinary natural beauty

-and the doggedness of local people.

0:47:550:47:59

-Solace and adversity

-are two very different concepts...

0:48:000:48:03

-..but in a place like this,

-they go hand in hand perfectly.

0:48:040:48:07

-S4C Subtitles by Testun Cyf.

0:48:230:48:25

-.

0:48:250:48:26

Heledd Cynwal, Iestyn Jones a Siôn Tomos Owen sydd ar drywydd straeon difyr a chudd Bro Ffestiniog. New series seeking out local stories in different areas. First stop is Bro Ffestiniog.