Kyrle Probus Club
   of Ross-on-Wye


Holiday Visit to Snowdonia - September 2010
  FROM the mountains to the coast and even a bus ride into a vast underground cavern, Kyrle Probus Club, Ross, enjoyed a memorable few days in Snowdonia on the club’s annual holiday, last month.

The trip ‘took off’ with a visit to the impressive RAF Museum at Cosford, on the way north to the party’s hotel in Llanberis. Using three massive hangers, the Museum houses one of the largest aircraft collections in the United Kingdom, spanning close on 100 years of aviation history.

The first full day in Snowdonia, saw the party take an excursion to Llandudno on the coast, via the scenic beauty of Bettws-y-Coed and Conwy Valley. No visit to Llandudno would be complete without a walk along the broad promenade overlooked by the elegant Victorian buiildings and a tramway ride to the top of the Great Orme. The coach-ride back to Llanberis took the party via Caernarfon where they were able to admire Edward 1’s majestic castle.dominating the walled town.
  The following day, the group travelled to the Centre for Alternative technology, Europe’s leading eco-centre, near Machynlleth. The alternative technology began with the visitors being taken up on the water-balanced cliff railway to arrive at the seven-acre centre filled with gardens, exhibitions and displays. Here you could learn about the environment, how to save energy and money in your home, or just enjoy the gardens

After lunch at the vegetarian restaurant at the centre, the Probus group travelled on to Tywyn for a ride on the famous Tall-y-llyn narrow gauge railway. Founded in 1865 to carry slate from the quarry at Bryn Eglyws to Tywyn for shipment to the mainline coast railway, it also carried passengers along its seven mile route.

It served the area and the quarry for the best part of a century until the demand for slate dwindled with the introduction of roofing tiles and the quarry closed in 1947. In 1950, a group of individuals formed a society to save and operate the railway and the Tallyllyn became the world’s first preserved railway.
  One wouldn’t think that something as simple as going to put the kettle on after watching a televised sporting event, such as a World Cup match or an F1 race, could cause a problem. However, when millions of people go to put the pot on at the same time, the electricity National Grid comes under pressure to cope.

But deep inside a mountain in Snowdonia, help is immediately at hand. That is when the Dinorwig Power Station comes into its own. As well as providing electricity to the Grid on a daily basis, it provides back-up for periods of heavy demand. The station, through its pumped storage hydro-electric system, offers probably the fastest response time of any power facility in the world – 1,728MW from standstill in just 90 seconds.

After watching a film in the visitor centre on Dinorwig’s supply of electricity to the National Grid, the Probus party was taken by bus inside the Elidir Mountain to experience close up, the massive turbines at work. The vast machine hall that houses six turbines and generators is Europe’s largest man-made cavern and when excavated was large enough to contain St Paul’s Cathedral.

On the last night of their stay at the Royal Victoria Hotel, the Kyrle Probus party was royally entertained by two choirs – a mixed choir from Morbegna in northern Italy and a local choir made up of young singers from around Llanberis, which is twinned with Morbegna.

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