Friday, 31 May 2013

Talks from north Wales

I provide illustrated talks in north and mid Wales to groups such as U3A, Rotary, WI, Garden Clubs, National Trust Associations, Wildlife Trusts, RSPB, Ramblers and so on. The fee for a talk depends upon the size of the audience and my travelling distance. Current talks on offer are:

Snowdonia and Triglav

Chamois; shammy leather?
In the early 1990s I was living and working in former Yugoslavia as it broke apart into separate countries including Slovenia. I spent many happy times in the Triglav National Park, in the north of Slovenia near the Italian border. To move to Snowdonia many years later and discover that two of my favourite places had been ‘twinned’ since 1993 was a great coincidence. They have much in common; both countries are small with their own languages and mountainous landscape. The talk compares and contrasts these two national parks - we’ve got wild goats, they’ve got chamois and ibex.  We used to have an alpine farming tradition, they still have. We’ve got a few arctic alpines but they’ve got masses.

Not Just a Pretty Place (updated)

Not Just a Pretty Place: Survival in Snowdonia is a book of 32 stories linked by the theme of survival. Some things are thriving whilst others, like the Snowdon Lily, are just hanging on. 'The stories link landscape, people and wildlife into an optimistic view of the future with subjects as diverse as the rare and elusive pine marten, freshwater pearl mussels and local foods.  Underneath the humour and optimism, however, there are serious messages about the viability of our lifestyles' - Iolo Williams.

I am always adding new stories and film clips into this talk to illustrate the central themes of the book i.e. if you heard it a couple of years ago it is significantly different today!

The House on the Black Hillside

We live in an ancient house where the modern extension was added in 1605. Built for a family of minor nobles, tracing their descent from Llywelyn the Great, it’s packed full of history and character. This talk explains the background to the house and the people who have lived in it including the charismatic Colonel Campbell. He brought the place back from dereliction in the 1960s and commuted to work in his private engine from Campbell’s Platform on the Ffestiniog Railway. Also included are the neighbours such as the ghost (the house was used as a location for filming an episode of Most Haunted), William Joyce or Lord Haw-Haw, who allegedly  was resident half a mile away at the outbreak of WWII and the wild mountain goats that roam the mountains and play havoc with some gardens. We have just had the house tree-ring dated as part of the project Dating Old Welsh Houses.

Plas y Dduallt
HuwTubeable in North Wales

This is based on film rather than photo for illustration. I love making short films and have published over 250 on YouTube under the names of HuwTubeable and NaturCymru. A typical talk would include 15 to 20 films of between 1 to 3 minutes which are grouped into themes and separately introduced. The choice of films depends upon what I think the target audience would appreciate; for example, Grass Snake in the Greenhouse might be good for a garden club. The formula works well with a much higher degree of interactivity than  normal – each film tends to provoke short comment and discussion whereas in a conventional slideshow there are usually just  questions at the end. No-one has fallen asleep in this one!

If you would like to make a booking please contact me by email or phone 01766 590272.


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