Rediscovering traditional Welsh names in the Dinorwig Quarries

Posted by Team BMC on 20/06/2024

This Sunday 23 June will see a gathering at Llyn Padarn’s Llafn y Cewri (“Blade of the Giants") sword monument in Llanberis, North Wales. The event marks the 150th anniversary of the founding of the North Wales Quarrymen’s Union and is being held to recognise the estimated 1,500 men killed in rock falls and blasts, and the many thousands more who died from the lung disease silicosis, from working for so many hours down the dusty mines.

There is also a move towards the protection of historic Welsh names for areas in the quarries, many of which have been replaced with English names in climbing guides and websites, for example Dali’s Hole - Yw Sinc Harriet, Never Never land – Dyffryn and Bus Stop Quarry – Ponc Allt Ddu. 

Tom Carrick, BMC’s Access & Conservation officer for Wales, says “Having grown up with the Welsh language and living in Gwynedd, North Wales for most of my life, it often saddens me to see the conflict between my native language and my sport, passion and career that’s all interlinked. There is space for both in my eyes. It’s important to remember our history, but also that climbing has brought a whole new industry into the area and new meanings to the lines and experiences that climbers have. 

“Across the world we are not alone in this and I advocate for trying to use local languages. The original, indigenous names of Denali, Sagarmatha and Uluru are all used more widely now, in the same way that we encourage the use of Eryri (Snowdonia) and Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon). It’s great to see the encouragement of these names, but through education and demonstration of the importance of our history and traditions, rather than division.”

BMC statement

As the representative body for climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers in Wales and England, the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) supports the principle of protecting and retaining Welsh language names for geographic features in Wales. We have adopted the use of Eryri (Snowdonia) and the Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) as the official names of these national parks in line with this principle. Similarly, we support the retention of Welsh language place names for the galleries (known to climbers as levels) of the Dinorwig Quarries and other slate quarries used for climbing.

It is, however, important to make a distinction between the names already given to certain features of the quarry by quarrymen (the distinct pits, galleries, industrial features) and those given for specific routes up the rock faces by climbers over the years. We feel that the retention of Welsh place names and these newer route names are not mutually incompatible – some route names are in Welsh and pay tribute to the quarrymen, such as "Y Rhaffwr" ("The Roper” who did the dangerous job of roping down the quarry face to place charges, then swinging to the side while they detonated) or "Hogiau Pen Garet" (“Boys of Pen Garet”). In many cases names for individual climbs were colloquially applied to the galleries, in the absence of information about the original names for these areas. In these cases, the BMC are committed to promoting awareness of the original names.

Many climbers are interested to learn more about the history and culture of the places they climb, and there has been an effort to ensure the original Welsh names are used in many newer climbing guides. The BMC are committed to continuing to promote understanding and information-sharing between these two communities, between which there is now a significant crossover – many of our members, volunteers and two of our staff members are Welsh speakers and feel passionately about this issue.

 

Cymraeg: 

Ddydd Sul yma, 23 Mehefin, bydd pobl yn ymgynull wrth gofgolofn Cleddyf Llyn Padarn, Llafn y Cewri, Llanberis, Gogledd Cymru.

Mae’r digwyddiad yn nodi 150 mlynedd ers sefydlu Undeb Chwarelwyr Gogledd Cymru ac yn cael ei gynnal i gydnabod yr oddeutu

1,500 o ddynion a laddwyd mewn cwympiadau creigiau a ffrwydradau, a’r miloedd lawer yn rhagor a fu farw o’r clefyd yr ysgyfaint silicosis, o weithio am gynifer o oriau i lawr y pyllau llychlyd.

Mae gofyn hefyd tuag at warchod enwau Cymraeg hanesyddol ar ardaloedd yn y chwareli, gyda llawer ohonynt wedi eu disodli gan enwau Saesneg mewn canllawiau dringo a gwefannau, er enghraifft Dali’s Hole - Sinc Harriet, Never Never Land - Dyffryn and Bus Stop Quarry – Ponc Allt Ddu.

Meddai Tom Carrick, Swyddog Mynediad a Chadwraeth BMC yng Nghymru “Ar ôl tyfu i fyny gyda’r Gymraeg a byw yng Ngwynedd, am y rhan fwyaf o’m bywyd, mae’n aml yn fy nhristau i weld y gwrthdaro rhwng fy mamiaith a’m camp, fy angerdd a gyrfa sydd i gyd yn rhyng-gysylltiedig. Mae lle i'r ddau yn fy llygaid. Mae’n bwysig cofio ein hanes, ond hefyd bod dringo wedi dod â diwydiant cwbl newydd i’r ardal ac ystyron newydd i’r llinellau a’r profiadau sydd gan ddringwyr.

O un ochr o’r byd i’r llall nid ydym ar ein pennau ein hunain yn hynny o beth ac rwy’n eirioli dros ddefnyddio ieithoedd lleol lle y gallaf . Mae enwau gwreiddiol, brodorol Denali, Sagarmatha ac Uluru i gyd yn cael eu defnyddio’n ehangach nawr, yn yr un modd ag yr ydym yn annog defnydd o Eryri a’r Wyddfa. Mae’n wych gweld anogaeth yr enwau hyn, ond trwy addysg ac arddangosiad o bwysigrwydd ein hanes a’n traddodiadau, yn hytrach na creu gwrthdaro.”

 

Datganiad gan y BMC

Fel y corff cynrychioliadol ar gyfer dringwyr, cerddwyr bryniau a mynyddwyr yng Nghymru a Lloegr, mae Cyngor Mynydda Prydain (BMC) yn cefnogi’r egwyddor o warchod a chadw enwau Cymraeg ar gyfer nodweddion daearyddol yng Nghymru. Rydym wedi mabwysiadu'r defnydd o Eryri a Bannau Brycheiniog fel enwau swyddogol y parciau cenedlaethol hyn yn unol â'r egwyddor hon. Yn yr un modd, rydym yn cefnogi cadw enwau lleoedd Cymraeg ar gyfer orielau (a adwaenir i ddringwyr fel lefelau) Chwareli Dinorwig a chwareli llechi eraill a ddefnyddir ar gyfer dringo.

Fodd bynnag, mae'n bwysig gwahaniaethu rhwng yr enwau a roddwyd eisoes i rai o nodweddion y chwarel gan chwarelwyr (y pyllau, orielau, nodweddion diwydiannol arbennig) a'r rhai a roddwyd ar gyfer llwybrau penodol i fyny wynebau'r creigiau gan ddringwyr dros y blynyddoedd. Teimlwn nad yw cadw enwau lleoedd Cymraeg a’r enwau llwybrau mwy newydd hyn yn anghydnaws – mae rhai enwau llwybrau yn Gymraeg ac yn talu teyrnged i’r chwarelwyr, megis “Y Rhaffwr” a wnaeth y gwaith peryglus o ropio. i lawr y chwarel codi tâl wyneb i le, yna'n troi i'r ochr tra'u bod yn tanio) neu "Hogiau Pen Garet" ("Bechgyn Pen Garet") gwybodaeth am yr enwau gwreiddiol ar gyfer yr ardaloedd hyn.

Mae llawer o ddringwyr â diddordeb mewn dysgu mwy am hanes a diwylliant y lleoedd y maent yn eu dringo, a bu ymdrech i sicrhau bod yr enwau Cymraeg gwreiddiol yn cael eu defnyddio mewn llawer o ganllawiau dringo mwy newydd. Mae’r BMC wedi ymrwymo i barhau i hyrwyddo dealltwriaeth a rhannu gwybodaeth rhwng y ddwy gymuned hyn, y mae gorgyffwrdd sylweddol rhyngddynt bellach – mae llawer o’n haelodau, gwirfoddolwyr a dau o’n haelodau staff yn siaradwyr Cymraeg ac yn teimlo’n angerddol am y mater hwn.

 

 


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