Monday, 24 January 2011

Llandovery schools’ first field trips

Pantycelyn Comprehensive students go to town

We were lucky with the weather – it was cold, but not freezing and the rain stayed away – for the first time out for the students at Pantycelyn. It's only a short walk to the town from school and there are plenty of exciting subjects to photograph. The first stop was the car park beneath the castle, where we were able to get shots looking upward to the remains of the castle itself and to the stainless steel sculpture. A short walk up the hill and were next to the wonderful statue of the local hero Llywelyn ap Gruffydd Fychan. Martyred in 1401 as a supporter of Owain Glyn Dwr, his shining monument overlooks the town.

Above: Pantycelyn visit the statue of Llewelyn ap Gruffydd Fychan

The children were quick to take lots of pictures of it from all perspectives. Further up, Llandovery Castle has dramatic landscape views of the town and hills around from its massive masonry walls. Pausing to take a group picture at the statue, we then walked to the market square where scenes of townscapes, buildings, the market hall and fountain made a contrast to the previous location. There were plenty of photo opportunities here, ranging from close-ups of cobbles and trees to roofscapes and town buildings. It was a very good example of a built environment and, as proof of the children's commitment to the project, it was gratifying to see the high quality of their work back in class.

Ysgol Rhys Pritchard look up to the Heart of Wales line

In contrast to the morning session, the children of Ysgol Rhys Pritchard chose to make the short journey in the minibus to Cynghordy. Here the huge railway viaduct dwarfs the local landscape. Built in the 1867, it carries the Heart of Wales railway line. It's a dramatic subject for photography and its dizzying height of ninety three feet gave everybody plenty of creative options, both as close-up shots of the monumentally sized stone blocks from which it is made, and as unusual perspective pictures. The viaduct curves away, allowing photos that fill the frame with pillars and arches. The clear but cold weather continued as we walked up the valley.

Above: The Rhys Pritchard team dwarfed by viaduct at Cynghordy

Now the fields by the side of the road were laced with shallow ice-filled depressions, which offered different creative options, especially viewed against the woods and pastures of the valley sides. Afon Brân flows near the lane and we were able to take pictures of its fast flowing stream before turning back and getting images of the viaduct filling the valley. Back in the bus, we made a detour up the mountain, where we stopped to photograph the distant viaduct in its setting of the Cambrian Mountains. It was very pleasing to view the children's work back in class and to realise again the value of this project in raising their confidence.

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