Monday, 14 March 2011

Exciting last field trips for the Llandovery schools

Ysgol Pantycelyn

Today we went on our longest journey, all the way up to see the young Sawdde river below the source of the famous story about the Lady of the Lake, Lyn y Fan Fach. After a bus trip that took us to Llangadog, then up the mountain road to the Three Horse Shoes, where we turned left, we arrived at the village of Llanddeusant. Turning right and immediately left we carried on over narrowing roads and rugged mountain scenery to finally arrive at our destination, the parking area at the foot of the track up to the lake.

Above: Pantycelyn students by the Sawdde River

The weather was bright and the light good, which suited our purposes perfectly. The tumbling brook with the early spring sun shining on it was a very attractive subject for photography, as were the little streams running down the mountain and the glistening rocks. Making our way up the track, there were lots more opportunities for lovely pictures, with subjects ranging from dramatic landscapes through details of lichens to wonderfully gnarled and stunted trees.

It was a shame that we had to leave this lovely spot, but the wind was a bit too keen and the distance back to school a little too far to allow a longer stay. Later, in the classroom, it was obvious from the quality of the work that the children had enjoyed the assignment. It was also gratifying to see the improvement in standards: everybody has understood the need to look through the camera at the landscape and compose pictures that satisfy their creative urges and promote a greater understanding of the world in which they live.

Ysgol Rhys Pritchard

In contrast to this mornings outing, the juniors went to a very different landscape, one where wildness is actively managed to create parkland of great beauty. Llwynywermod is an outstanding example of a piece of countryside that has been enhanced over centuries to provide a wide variety of environments and visual elements. For the class there was much to get their creative juices flowing: rolling pasture lands with scattered veteran trees and newly planted replacements; a fast running stream with alder carr all the way along; ponds and rush filled rills; an ancient bridge that was on the drover road; a ruined mansion; and dramatic skyscapes that even had wheeling red kites.

Above: Rhys Pritchard kids and staff at the old drover's bridge

There was great excitement about a huge log of a fallen sweet chestnut and we took some group shots of the kids sitting and standing on it. We are very grateful for the opportunity to visit this wonderful place and hope that we might get a special visitor to the children's exhibition.

On the way back we stopped twice to look at different kinds of landscape features. First a stream running through a small woodland where a waterfall played the water into a pool. Secondly, a small quarry next to the road where the stone was exposed as a vertical cliff face. It was a busy afternoon and we just had time in the classroom to view all the kids' best three pictures. They were superb and it was a fitting finale to the field trips. Next we meet it will be after Easter and we shall begin the work on the computers.

Exhibition news

The Carmarthen schools exhibition will be on Tuesday 22nd March starting at 12 noon with an opening by the Mayor of Carmarthen followed by the presentation of prizes and a buffet lunch. It will take place at St. Peter's Civic Hall. The exhibition will be open the next day, 23rd March from 9 am until 5 pm and will be open to the public.