Sunday, 27 May 2012

Pupils Meet their Ancestors on Llyn's Coast

Unloading goods from coasters at Porth Ferin, on the north coast of Llyn.  Notice the rope hoist used to lift the cargo onto the headland.
For centuries, seafaring was the lifeblood of our Welsh coastal communities.  Luxuries and staple goods of all description, both legal and illicit, were shipped into coves, creeks and beaches all around our rugged coast.

It's no coincidence that the word "Porth", so common around our shores, also means a doorway.

But nearly all these coves - which not so long ago echoed to the sounds of loading and unloading of cargoes - are now silent, save for the sounds of the waves, seabirds and the occasional walker or bather. 

So, where are the descendents of these fishermen, sailors and smugglers of old?  

Of course, many of them are still here, living lives far removed from those of their forefathers, in farms and villages dotted along our coastline.  

Wouldn't it be good if youngsters from these communities could catch a glimpse of the lives of their ancestors? Well, this is exactly what happened the other day at Porthor, or 'Whistling Sands' to the visitors.  

A group of primary schoolchildren from the nearby village of Rhoshirwaen were treated to a day they're unlikely to forget.  Their guide for the day was the National Trust's Community Ranger for Llyn, Robert Parkinson. 

Seaside Classroom: Community Ranger, Robert Parkinson challenges Rhoshirwaen pupils to discover clues to their seafaring heritage
Robert qualified as a teacher before joining the Trust's Llyn team and now spends his time working with community groups and schools around the peninsula.  His post is part-funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund under the Llyn Landscape Partnership, which aims to bring this area's unique heritage to life for the benefit communities and visitors.

Robert, who hails from the Llyn village of Llaniestyn, takes up the story:

"The children learned about the the sort of goods that were imported to the area in past centuries, like wine, tobacco and brandy"

"I got them to guess the identity of mystery objects by touch and with the aid of an aromatic clue.  We used "aroma cubes ", also used in the Yorvik visitor centre in York.  The "herring" and "fish-market" -scented ones were very popular!"

By involving all their senses, Robert was able to open up a window on the past for these Llyn youngsters; an experience that will ensure that the area's maritime heritage will live on for future generations. 

No comments:

Post a Comment