With the last of several media interviews completed, I returned to the Trust’s office at Craflwyn yesterday afternoon to gather the team together to crack open a bottle of bubbly and break into a chocolate cake.
Although the drink was cheap bucks fizz served from paper cups and the cake was definitely ‘no-frills’, this was a well deserved – if modest – celebration for over a year’s work on the Llyndy Isaf appeal.
It’s true that the cause of saving such a special place has been a popular one from the start; but we know from experience that appeals like this don’t succeed on their own.
Dozens of people, here in Snowdonia, at our Wales Office and at our Head Office in Swindon, have worked with dedication and teamwork to ensure that we were able to put over our case convincingly, with the best possible coverage and have been able to respond to the hundreds of requests for more information, visits and interviews.
As I tucked into my second piece of cake, the team chatting enthusiastically around me, I reflected on some of the highlights of the appeal. I’ve jotted some of them down for you here – with links to the relevant blog post if you want to read more…
- Hosting a visit by David Bullock, the Trust’s Head of Nature Conservation, when we were first asked by Ken Owen whether we’d be interested in the acquiring the farm. David was bowled over by the great condition of the wetlands, heaths and regenerating woodlands – but was most impressed by the visit to the old copper mine at Llwyn Du. I must have been ‘on form’ that day, as my recounting of this evocative site’s social history convinced him that this site was worthy of Trust protection.
- Visiting Llyndy Isaf in the depth of last winter’s deep-freeze to get photos of the farm covered with snow. I’ll never forget following otter tracks across the frozen lake.
- The convivial gathering of colleagues, supporters, friends, schoolchildren and other stakeholders at the appeal launch on the 31st of March listening to actor Matthew Rhys talking passionately about his love of this area, as the sun came out onto a mirror-still Llyn Dinas.
- Chatting to owner Ken Owen in his kitchen about the history of the lost smallholdings that can be found on the farm.
- Guiding various prospective donors around the lake throughout the summer and realising that I did not really need to say much to convince them to give – the place speaks for itself.
- Spending a perfect morning walking with landscape photographer Jo Cornish, and being delighted by the photos that he’d taken from the various vantage points I’d pointed out to him.
- Meeting volunteer film-makers Pete and Jo, who’s superb “Imprisoned Paradise” film was made in atrocious weather in August.
- Receiving a generous donation from wild swimmers, Matthew and Heather who did a charity swim on the Thames
- Hearing that Julie and Mark’s epic cycle challenge up Mont Ventoux had been successful
- Enjoying a wonderful three-course roast beef dinner on a mountain as a guest of the Columbus Fellowship
- Travelling to London’s square mile and finding generosity to our cause at a major investment bank in the heart of capitalism.
Now that the appeal has reached its goal, we will get going with the purchase and start work on a management plan in discussion with the community and stakeholder organisations such as the Snowdonia National Park and the Countryside Council for Wales.
I keep you updated with news about how things are going – on an occasional basis from now on. If you are not already subscribed, please click the email subscription button on the right to get updates. You can also join the Eryri & Llyn Facebook site for news of our conservation work and events in the area.
Diolch i bawb am eich cefnogaeth.