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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Llan motorist highlights snow danger in Trevor

Council should act says professional driver

 

* Many of the pavements through Trevor are still blocked by snow.
 

A professional driver has highlighted what he claims are the dangerous road conditions left on the main through Trevor in the aftermath of last weekend’s heavy snowfall.

The man, who does not wish to be named, says he was heading home through the village on Saturday night when he almost hit a family forced to walk along the carriageway because the pavements on both sides were still blocked by snow
He said: “It was a father pushing a pram with other children walking alongside him near the Aussie Rooster pub.
“They were wearing dark clothing so I only spotted them at the very last minute and managed to steer around them.
“It was so lucky I didn’t hit them.
“It wasn’t their fault they were having to walk in the road. The pavements on either side were still completely blocked by deep snow so they had to make their way down the carriageway.”
The driver added: “The council in Denbighshire has done a great job clearing the roads and pavements in and around Llangollen but Trevor is the responsibility of Wrexham Council which obviously doesn’t consider making the pavements safe for pedestrians a priority.
“This is a very dangerous situation and Wrexham should do something about it before someone is hurt.” 

Noah follows in Pavarotti's footsteps



* Noah Stewart is to appear at the eisteddfod in July.

The first black musician to top the British classical music charts is following in the footsteps of one of his all-time heroes.

Top tenor Noah Stewart will be performing at the Llangollen International Music Eisteddfod where opera superstar Luciano Pavarotti launched himself on the world stage.

Noah, who was born to a single mum in Harlem, New York, arrived  on British shores a little over two years ago after been signed up to play the role of Lt B F Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madame Butterfly for Northern Opera.

Noah was fascinated to learn of Pavarotti’s love affair with the international festival of music and dance in the picturesque town of Llangollen.

When the chance came emulate the famous Italian tenor, he was determined to seize the opportunity with both hands.

He said: “I learnt that Pavarotti actually competed at Llangollen. My career has followed a similar path in many ways as, like Pavarotti, I too entered and won, a singing competition, although I was only 12.

“But it was how I started in music. It gave me the first clue that I might have a career doing what I love most, singing. There have been tough and difficult times getting to where I am today but in truth I suppose I haven’t done too badly for a black kid from Harlem.”

Noah is devoted to his single mother, Patricia, who fought hard to put food on the table and raise him and his sister, Belinda, the right way.

He said: “New York is the greatest city in the world as far as I am concerned and Harlem is such a special neighbourhood. I know Harlem has a reputation, undeserved, but there all the same, as being a tough desperately poor place where black people lived.

“But what people don’t realise is that Harlem has changed so much. In fact there are now more white people than blacks living in Harlem. It’s actually become quite a fashionable area in which to settle.

“But going back a few years Harlem was the centre of a kind of renaissance with many influential black musicians, writers and artists arriving from across America and Europe.”

Noah is fiercely protective of Harlem and its residents and says, growing up the area was, if anything, simply overflowing with love.

He said: “Don’t believe the hype that the district was nothing more than a crime-ridden ghetto. That just isn’t true; sure there are rough areas but you get rough areas anywhere.

“We never had a great deal of money but mum used to say being poor had nothing to do with how much money you did or didn’t have because you could be rich in love and knowledge.”

Noah was drawn to classical music as a child despite the fact that, being from New Orleans, his mum often played jazz, gospel and creole around the Stewart home.

He said: “I just found classical music different, it had a sort of richness to it and I always wanted to hear more. Sure, I played basketball, soccer and all the other stuff but mum didn’t want me out hanging around the streets at night so I listened to music instead.

“I really believe young people can lead better lives if they are exposed to the arts whether its poetry, literature, music, painting or some other form.

 “The first time I actually listened to an opera, that was it, I was hooked. I just wanted to sing like that. Of course it was far more fashionable to aspire to be a pop singer but I knew that wasn’t for me. Others were better at that sort of music than me.

“I wanted to sing in Latin, Italian, French and German and I wanted to work on my voice, to set it free. In a way opera is like some sports such as archery or tennis, it’s about perfection and about being precise and accurate.

“Of course there were not many opera singers from Harlem and in a strange way that drew me to the art form, despite people telling me if I wanted to become rich then opera wasn’t the way forward. And they were right about that!

“But opera meant I could use the full range of my voice allowing me to explore and use its full colour. After I won the singing competition I enrolled in LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts and I used to watch recordings every day before classes started.

"During that time I sang back-up vocals for various pop acts such as Hootie and the Blowfish and Mariah Carey, all good experience."

Winning a scholarship to the Big Apple’s prestigious Juilliard School of Music was the next piece in Noah’s operatic jigsaw.

After graduating he took a year or so out taking odd jobs and even working as a receptionist at Carnegie Hall before winning a place on the Adler Programme at San Francisco Opera.

It was in California that he got his big break, singing the role of Macduff in Verdi’s Macbeth to rave reviews despite taking to the stage with just 15 minutes’ notice.

Since then Noah admits life has been something of a whirlwind as he’s travelled the world starring in operas and performing to ever growing audiences.

And, last year, his début album, Noah, topped the British Classical Music Charts.

He said: “My biggest fan is my own mum. She retired not so long ago after 44 years working at the food store check-out. She gave up so much to help me along the musical path I’m on.

“I owe my career to her and everyone who has helped and inspired me, such as Luciano Pavarotti. And when I appear at Llangollen International Music Eistedffod I’ll be following in his footsteps and that really excites me.”  

Noah will be performing in concert on Wednesday, July 10, with former Royal harpist Claire Jones and percussionist Evelyn Glennie.

Among the other stars t the International Eisteddfod this year, are Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, English soprano Claire Rutter, Kiwi bass Jonathan Lemalu and the choir Only Men Aloud who shot to fame on the hit TV show, Last Choir Standing.

To book tickets and for more details on this year’s event go to the website at www.international-eisteddfod.co.uk and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/llangollen

 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Trains steam through the snow at Llan Railway

 
Volunteers' massive effort to clear the line
 
 
 
* The loco takes on water at Llangollen (above) and on arrival at Carrog (below).
 
A herculean effort by volunteers over the past few days has enabled trains to start running again on the Llangollen Railway.

Railway spokesman George Jones said: "All the hard work to clear snow from stations and junctions, as well as some 24 fallen trees, paid dividends on Friday when steam train services to Carrog resumed.
 
"The GWR Pannier tank No.6430 provided the two-hourly service and took passengers into a winter wonderland down the Dee Valley, the snowfield at Llantysilio being especially noteworthy for its almost alpine-like scenery.
 
"Train services continue over the weekend with an hourly service, although modified from the published timetable to be alternatively provided by one steam train and one diesel railcar.
 
"It is to be hoped that although a thaw has set in, the snow will remain in most places to provide the wintery scenes which people enjoyed on Friday."

Friday, March 29, 2013

Full steam ahead for Anything Goes



* From left: Stephanie Cottam (Bonnie), Dani Chamberlain (Hope Harcourt)
and Louisa Jones (Reno Sweeney).



* Cast members rehearse for Anything Goes.

Rehearsals are now steaming ahead for Llangollen Operatic Society’s production of  Cole Porter's Anything Goes which will be performed April 16-20 in the Town Hall.

Set on board an ocean liner bound for England in the 1930s, this lively, witty musical tells the story of stowaway Billy Crocker who, aided by a glamorous evangelist turned nightclub singer and a New York gangster, sets out on a mission to get his girl before she marries an ageing English gentleman.

This show has everything from comedy to romance, poignant solos and rousing chorus numbers guaranteed to have your toes tapping.

Porter’s jazzy score is a triumph and recognisable songs include I Get a Kick Out of You, Blow Gabriel Blow and the title number Anything Goes.   

Tickets are priced £9 and £7.50 (concessions) and are on sale now from Llangollen Tourist Information Centre, Jades Hair & Beauty or for telephone bookings call Stella Bond on 01978 860441. 

The society is also offering local companies or individuals the opportunity to sponsor one of the five performances.

For just £100, sponsors will receive tickets for front row balcony seats for four people, a drink each from the bar and programmes.

They will also have the chance to display and distribute their marketing material during the evening.

If you or your company would be interested, ontact Louisa Jones on 07989 986644, or e-mail louisa.jones@live.com.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

"We don't need thrill-seekers" say police

As the Easter holidays approach police are advising visitors to North Wales to ensure they take sensible precautions and not to go on off-road trails ‘in search of thrills.’

Chief Inspector David Roome said: “We recognise that people will be travelling over the Easter weekend and many visitors will be coming to North Wales, so we are keen to emphasise that everyone visiting the area should be prepared for the weather conditions.”
 
The main routes are mostly now clear, but minor roads are still hazardous and temperatures are expected to remain around freezing.
 
“We don’t expect conditions to improve for several days so we want to advise people to plan their route properly, allow plenty of time for journeys and to make sure they are well equipped,” said CI Roome, adding that all the highways departments are working extremely hard to ensure that as many roads as possible are cleared.
 
“Everyone is working together to resolve the all the issues as quickly as possible.”
 
Police are also reiterating the message that people should keep checking on vulnerable neighbours, especially in remote rural areas.
 
“Some people have not been out for over a week. Their supplies may be running low and they may have health issues. If you have concerns about people in isolated areas please check on them, or contact the relevant authority. We ask that you look after yourselves and your neighbours.”
 
Police says the Horseshoe Pass will remain closed throughout the Easter period.
 
The A543 remains closed over the Denbigh Moors as does the A494 at Loggerheads and the B4500 from Llanarmon to Llanrhaeadr.

Warm praise for council's snowbusters

The Leader, Chief Executive of Denbighshire County Council and Cabinet Member have all paid tribute to the teams of staff, contractors for their tireless efforts in dealing with the prolonged wintry conditions as they prepare to work on into the Easter weekend. 

Leader of the Council, Councillor Hugh Evans OBE, said: "I would like to pay tribute to the tireless work of our teams and contractors who have been working round the clock since the snow fell. I would also like to thank those people who have also offered their help to clear the snow, which has cut off many parts of the south of the county.


 "Our staff have told us that this weather event has been exceptional and it is fair to say our resources have been stretched but I am proud of how the teams have pulled together and we can see progress being made every day and I commend their efforts."

"The strong winds have caused major drifting and teams are still working with local contractors around the clock to try and clear these roads. This has proved difficult, particularly on higher routes, as the strong breeze has seen snow drifting back on roads which have been cleared. "

Chief Executive, Mohammed Mehmet, said: "I am very proud of our staff who have worked in terrible conditions to try and keep us safe. Many roads have been blocked hedge to hedge. It has been a really testing time and my thanks go to all the teams and contractors but also to colleagues in many other departments who have rallied together to assist with the efforts.


"We have also worked closely with colleagues from a number of other agencies to respond to this on-going situation and we will continue to deploy our resources to get the situation back to normal as quickly as possible. We are aware there are now increasing welfare issues for both residents and animals and we are looking to provide assistance to those who need it."


Councillor David Smith, Cabinet Lead Member for Environment, said: "Many of our highways staff say these have been the worst conditions they have experienced. "Our gritting and ploughing teams are doing great work and I would also like to pay tribute to the contractors that have been assisting us. We would like to reassure residents that we are doing our utmost to clear the roads and to get things moving again - and we are making progress despite any news of a thaw in the coming days.

"We would like to thank the public for their understanding. We have seen examples of where communities have really pulled together to help each other - even in these difficult circumstances it's great to see community spirit alive and kicking and I would urge people to keep an eye on their elderly or vulnerable neighbours at this time."

Body found at foot of aqueduct

The Leader is reporting this morning that a body has been found at the foot of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. Emergency services were called to the aqueduct in Trevor at 5.30pm yesterday.

See the full story at:


http://www.leaderlive.co.uk/news/121244/body-found-at-foot-of-pontcysyllte-aqueduct.aspx

Snow keeps Plas Newydd shut over Easter


* Snow will keep Plas Newydd closed over Easter.

Plas Newydd in Llangollen, home of ‘The Ladies’ will now be closed to the public during the Easter weekend.

Originally due to open on Good Friday, recent severe weather conditions have caused serious damage to trees and property on the site and despite the efforts of contractors, staff and volunteers it is currently unsafe to receive public visits.

Manager Sam Williams said ‘Llangollen was severely hit by the recent harsh weather conditions and although things are gradually returning to normal in the town we have had to take the decision to remain closed at Plas Newydd this weekend. A large number of damaged trees are still classified as unsafe and contractors have been unable to reach many of them in the snow.

We have work ongoing to clear the site and make it safe and we intend to open to the public in a weeks’ time.

The house, gardens and tea rooms will re-open on Friday April 5th, 10am – 5pm and remain open 6 days a week (closed Tuesdays) until the end of September.

Our other properties Nantclwyd Y Dre in Ruthin and Ruthin Gaol will open as usual on Good Friday and we have a family egg-hunt taking place at Nantclwyd Y Dre on Easter Saturday

For more information please visit www.denbighshire.gov.uk/heritage  or call Denbighshire Heritage Service on 01824 708274 / 708259.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Llangollen Railway man speaks to the BBC

George Jones of Llangollen Railway Trust (pictured below) has taken part in a special BBC Radio Wales news item marking the 50th anniversary of the Beeching Report, which led to the closure of the town's mainline station in the 1960s.

Mr Jones talked about the 1970s re-birth of the station and the heritage railway's plans for the future.

George Jones

"We are still attempting to get through to Corwen and have a 10 mile town-to-town railway through what is really the most scenic part of the Dee Valley.”


The item was aired just before 9am today (Wednesday) is can be seen on the BBC website at:
 
 
 

Latest snow update from county council


* A snow blower in action on a minor county road.

Snow update 27 March as at 3.45pm

Work to clear the snow is continuing today and good progress is now being made on the smaller roads but many of these are blocked from hedge to hedge.

 
In some areas though, drifts are still reforming over roads that have been cleared and so access is with 4x4s only - it is still a constantly shifting picture at the moment. Every available resource is being used and 30
 highways crews and contractors will be working into the Easter weekend to continue the clearance work.

Teams of staff have been deployed to clear the town centres at Llangollen and Corwen in time for the Easter weekend and good progress is being made here too.

There are concerns however, that there is a large amount of snow on the roofs that could come down at any minute posing a risk to anyone underneath so extra care is needed in these areas (some sections of the streets have been cordoned off to protect the public). There is also a risk to fittings such as guttering.

The council is reminding people with any immediate and urgent welfare issues to contact Denbighshire's Customer Service Centre on 01824 706100 (Welsh) or 01824 706101 (English).


The council has have been receiving help from other organisations such as British Red Cross to assist people who are still snowbound. 

Council announces Easter recycling plans

Denbighshire County Council is reminding householders today that recycling and refuse collections will take place on the usual day over Easter.

Collection teams will be out working as normal on both the Good Friday and Easter Monday bank holidays.  In addition, the three manned Recycling Parks at Denbigh, Rhyl and Ruthin will be open throughout the Easter weekend.

With the clocks going forward on the night of Sunday 31st March, the Recycling Parks will switch to the extended summer opening hours from Easter Monday (more details at denbighshire.gov.uk/recycling). 

The recent heavy snowfalls have affected recycling and refuse services to many residents, particularly those in the south of Denbighshire.

The council says it wishes to apologise for any inconvenience and assures householders that it is attempting to make collections wherever it is safe to do so.  With Denbighshire unlikely to see a rise in temperatures before the Easter weekend there is still a risk of disruption to services over Easter, according to the council.

However, where collections are missed due to snow the council says it will collect additional recycling or refuse if it is set out on the next due collection date.

AM praises search and rescue team members

North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood has praised North East Wales Search and  Rescue Team (NEWSAR) for their “incredible commitment’ during the recent heavy snow fall in North Wales.
 
Over the weekend, NEWSAR was called to a remote farm on the Horseshoe Pass above Llangollen to rescue an elderly couple who has collapsed from carbon monoxide poisoning after by fumes from their emergency generator came into the house.   
 
Mr Isherwood, who met NEWSAR’s Deputy Team Leader, Chris Griffiths, at their base on the Kingswood Outdoor Education Centre at Loggerheads, near Mold, on Tuesday,  said the way in which the volunteer team has dealt with the increased number of call outs due to the heavy snow fall is extremely commendable.
 
He said: "North East Wales Search and Rescue are owed a particular debt of gratitude for their incredible commitment and for the long hours they have worked during this period of heavy snow fall. Although they normally receive about 60-70 requests for their services each year, they have received some 20 calls over the last weekend alone. This is all the more incredible given that they are all volunteers and that almost all their funding comes from their own fundraising efforts.”
 
NEWSAR covers an area of 1,126 square miles (2,918 square kilometres) comprising the counties of Flintshire, Denbighshire, Wrexham and parts of Conwy , Powys, Wirral and Cheshire . The team also responds to calls from West Mercia Police in Shropshire and Cheshire Police in Cheshire.
Mountain rescue teams are on standby 24/7, 365 days a year, whatever the conditions, with fast response times helping those in difficult to access areas.
 
Mr Isherwood added: “The teams in North Wales, North East Wales Search and Rescue and Ogwen Mountain Rescue,  have been pushing the boundaries of mountain rescue for a long time, supporting the Emergency Service response at incidents such as the recent heavy snow falls, the St Asaph floods and the search for April Jones in Machynlleth. However, teams across Wales share just £13,000 Welsh Government funding, which is only £1,000 per team, which contrasts with the £312,000  Scottish Government funding for the teams there, equivalent to £11,500 each.”     
 

Horseshoe Pass rescue drama

The Leader is reporting today how rescue workers battled for hours to reach an elderly couple who had been poisoned by carbon monoxide at their remote farm on the Horseshoe Pass.

See the full story at http://www.leaderlive.co.uk/news/121172/couple-poisoned-in-farm-snow-drift.aspx  

Railway battles to be open in time for Friday

 
 
* The scene at Llangollen station on Tuesday as work got underway to clear the station driveway of snow.

Heavy snow fall in the Dee Valley has presented the Llangollen Railway with a major challenge to be back in operation by Good Friday.
 
The snowfall last Friday and Saturday caused train services to be suspended over the weekend and no trains have been able to run so far this week when daily train services were scheduled for the school holiday period.
 
With platforms and the railway track piled high with snow in places the need to begin clearance work is being tackled by full time railway staff and volunteers starting at Llangollen station.
 
George Jones, for Llangollen Railway, said: "With no thaw in sight the need is for spade work to clear the public access to stations and platforms, as well as to clear the points and lineside mechanical equipment to allow trains to operate.
 
"The depth of the snow in places has not been seen for many years and it will require a tremendous effort to reopen the line in time for Easter.
 
"If we do succeed in running steam trains along the line to Carrog it is likely visitors to the Railway will have a momentous trip into a winter wonderland where near alpine conditions exist in this part of North Wales."

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Marvellous readers' pictures

Another reader, Susan Stokes, has just posted this fabulous picture on our Facebook page, and it's so good we're including it on our main blogsite.









Reader Kathy Davies has sent a selection of pictures showing Llangollen in the big freeze.

But one of them isn't a scene from the latest artic spell and dates back all the way to 1982.

Snapped on January 28 of that year, it shows Castle Street under a layer of snow which doesn't look far off the depth it reached last weekend.

We thank Kathy very much for sending them in.

If you have any pictures to share with readers please send them in to llanblogger@gmail.com




* Castle Street under snow in January 1982.



* An icy River Dee.



* Fallen trees blocking Pen-y-Maes.


* Cars buried in the Hermitage.


* Grapes Hill on Saturday.
 

Latest weather updates


* Council staff clear the snow from Castle Street on Tuesday afternoon.
 
 

Latest update from the county council:


Highways teams, contractors and individuals have been working round the clock but are now reporting significant progress in clearing the large number of roads which have been impassable since the heavy snowfall last week.
At it's peak, huge swathes of county were covered in several feet of snow and clearance efforts were particularly hampered by extreme and treacherous weather conditions. A strong breeze saw roads becoming blocked again by drifting snow no sooner than they were cleared. Efforts on some major roads, like the A5, were further hampered by a number of fallen trees and abandoned cars.


Cabinet Lead Member for Environment, Councillor David Smith, said: "This was an exceptional weather event and our highways staff were telling us they'd never seen conditions like this.

"Our priority was to clear the major roads and gritting routes first of all, which is now more or less complete.


"In the meantime, we have also been mapping the large amount of minor roads and country lanes, some of which are blocked hedge to hedge with snow, and we are now increasingly able to turn our attention to these and good progress is being made on clearing these today."

Staff have also been deployed to clear the town centres in Llangollen and Corwen in time for the Easter weekend and we are making good progress."


Earlier ...


* Bache Mill Road, Llangollen is closed.

A tree has fallen and is putting strain on considerable sized branches that may also come away and create a serious safety hazard.

* The heavy lifters have been in town this afternoon.

Teams of county council workers were using bulldozers and other heavy vehicles to shift piles of compacted snow from roads in the towns centre, including Castle Street, Market Street and Regent Street.

* A meeting due to be held tonight by the campaign group Keep Llangollen Health Services to discuss tactics in the wake of the closure of the cottage hospital has been cancelled due to the weather.
 
The meeting was to have taken place at the Hand Hotel at 7pm.
 
But organiser Mabon Ap Gwynfor said: "Unfortunately, due to the unseasonal snow we have cancelled tonight's meeting at the Hand Hotel.
 
"We'll reorganise it and contact you with the information as soon as possible."

Keep an eye on your neighbours

As most areas of North Wales returns to a form of normality following the inclement weather, people are reminded to keep an eye on vulnerable members of the community.
 
The majority of roads are now passable, but some of the estates in Wrexham, Flintshire and Denbighshire remain impassable as do the roads to the remote rural properties.
 
“All the agencies have worked together to address the issues, but we have to prioritise, and we are asking people to consider their neighbours,” said Chief Inspector Dave Roome.
 
Alistair Read of the North Wales Mountain Rescue Association explained: “There are some isolated pockets and we are advising people to plan ahead given the forecast. People should conserve food and look at energy supplies, we would ask people to make an assessment of their vulnerability and preparedness due to the uncertainty of the weather.”
.
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As the snow falls again this morning (Tuesday) Llangollen gets a number of mentions in this weather update story from the BBC North East Wales website:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-21930029

KLS urges wide consultation on new tourism plan

Community group Keep Llangollen Special (KLS) has written to the company preparing a sustainable tourism strategy for the area stressing that a range of interested parties must be consulted as it is being drawn up.

In a letter to the consultants working on the project, KLS chair Mike Edwards (pictured below) says: “We trust you will be consulting fully when formulating your strategy and talking to residents, retailers, producers, hoteliers and outdoor activity providers etc.
“We are a constructive, properly constituted community organisation and our principal aim is to protect and promote the identity, image and brand of Llangollen.
"We have been holding monthly Buy Local days on the second Friday of every month since the middle of last year. “The aim of these is to support and promote independent local businesses (retailers and suppliers) to keep money circulating in the local economy rather than being it being exported to corporate HQs elsewhere.
 
“We are working with Cittaslow Llangollen and the Town Council to support Field2Fork encouraging residents to buy local fresh produce sufficient for their immediate needs and not buy and waste excess food as they are persuaded  into doing by supermarkets.
“We also want to promote local food producers and farmers whose meat products have trusted provenance and help particular local butchers, greengrocers, delicatessens and cafes who will shortly face severe competition from an out-of-town supermarket who propose to export £18.4m pa out of the Llangollen economy.
 
“We are actively investigating a number of key schemes to promote these aims.
“If your consultations are open and truly involve local residents, we would be happy to share our ideas and plans with you.
“One of the problems we have identified is that there are numerous organisations in Llangollen some of which have their own agenda and there is a need to pull these fragmented interest together because at the end of the day surely everyone is interested in protecting and enhancing everything which is special about Llangollen and the Dee Valley.”

Monday, March 25, 2013

Melting snow causes structural damage

llanblogger's narrow escape from falling gutter ...


Reports are coming in of damage to property all over town caused by tons of melting snow.

As a partial thaw set in llanblogger has been hearing of snow-laden trees crashing on to patios and carports and through the windows of parked cars. 

Llanblogger’s own property in Regent Street was among those hit earlier this afternoon.

A huge area of melting snow slid down the roof of the house bringing over 20 feet of heavy cast-iron guttering (pictured right) crashing to the ground. 

One of the heavy sections went straight through the rear of a car parked on the driveway at the side. It later had to be towed away for repairs.

The falling guttering, which came down along with a massive wooden faceboard, landed only feet away from where llanblogger editor Phil Robinson was out clearing away snow.

Out on the road, the A5 which had been closed between Llangollen and Corwen since Saturday, was finally re-opened at around 5pm today.  

Meanwhile, Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones has written to ScottishPower’s headquarters in Glasgow to ask what the company is doing to help customers in her constituency through the current spell of arctic weather. 

In her letter she says: “Following recent bad weather experienced within my constituency, I am writing to ascertain what action ScottishPower has taken in the Clwyd South area in order to help constituents through this difficult time. 

“A number of constituents have reported blackouts to their power over the past week as a result of the extreme weather conditions that have hit North East Wales. Some have been left without power for a number of days. 

“I would appreciate clarification of what has happened and any details on action taken by Scottish Power in order to combat the issues that my constituents have been experiencing. Furthermore, I would be grateful if you could provide details of the compensation package available to those who have been affected by the cuts in power and what can be expected by constituents who have been experiencing these problems.”

11am weather update


* A North Wales Police traffic officer took this picture of the Ponderosa Café on the Horseshoe Pass - which remains closed to traffic - about 11am on Monday. 


Snow update (Monday morning) from Denbighshire County Council

Efforts to clear snow and fallen trees from roads in south Denbighshire is continuing today (Monday).

Highways  As at 10.30am, a number of main roads remain affected and the priority today is to re-open the A5, which is still closed between Corwen and Llangollen.  Crews are battling to get through to a number of fallen trees to remove them. There are also concerns about the safety of a number of trees, which could fall at any time under the weight of the snow.  We are hopeful that the Horseshoe pass will be cleared today  B5430 Nant y Garth is passable with care.  A5104 is open but continuing to widen the carriageway.  B5437 Carrog to Corwen - is open but not from Carrog to Bryneglwys.  Eryrys to Graianrhyd is open.  A543 Denbigh Moors is still closed.  B4501 Denbigh to Cerrigydrudion is still closed.  Travellers Inn to Tremeirchion off the A55 is still closed.  Many smaller routes, in particular in the south of the county remain impassable but the situation is constantly changing and we will update progress later this afternoon.  Council teams are using a range of machinery as part of efforts to get the road network clear as quickly as possible. This machinery includes loading shovels, JCBs, large excavators, snow blowers, gritters and agri-ploughs. Local contractors have been drafted in to assist with the clear-up operation.  Crews have also been deployed to clear town centre street in Llangollen.  Public transport is still being affected

X50 Ruthin to Wrexham section: in spite of early running this morning, this is now WITHDRAWN temporarily, owing to road widths on the tops at the Wrexham end.  Buses are meeting other vehicles, including cars, and cannot manoeuvre around each other in the snow.

The X94 Barmouth-Dolgellau-Bala-Corwen-Llangollen-Wrexham is operating Barmouth to Dolgellau in the west only; and Wrexham to Acrefair in the east only, according to Arriva managers. This owing to the road closure between Corwen and Llangollen. There are no alternative routes for buses of 12m in length.

Service 76 Denbigh-Llandyrnog-Ruthin-Graigfechan. A bus has met with a collision between Llangwyfan to Llangynhafal and the service will operate normally except for this section. This is owing to drifting snow on to road that has frozen.

Service 10 (Bodfari - Rhyl) not serving Cwm village.  Welfare issues  Thoughts are now turning to welfare issues as the cold snap conitnues and anyone experiencing difficulties should contact Denbighshire Customer Services on 01824 706100 (Welsh line) or 01824 706101 (English) to ask for assistance. Calls will be prioritised to target those who need immediate and urgent help.  Animal welfare officers will also be prioritising and animal welfare issues. Again, please contact the above numbers to raise any concerns.  Denbighshire County Council would like to reassure residents that teams are working around the clock in often atrocious conditions and we would like to thank people for their patience and understanding. People should continue to monitor websites, social media, news and weather bulletins for the latest information.

Llan filmed for national TV

 
 
* The ITN film unit's van parked opposite the Royal Hotel this morning.
 
 

* Traffic queues up in Castle Street while lorries deliver to the shops.

A crew from ITN were in town this morning filming shots of Llangollen under its heavy layer of spring snow.

They beamed panoramic pictures of the bridge, Castle Street, the River Dee and the Methodist Church live into the Daybreak news magazine programme on ITV and later into the Lorraine show.

The crew arrived in a large white and orange van, complete with satellite dish on the roof, which was parked up opposite the Royal Hotel while the filming went ahead.

Speaking to llanblogger, the cameraman, who said he was based near Manchester, explained the crew was one of three outside broadcast units which had been despatched to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to provide live footage of snow scenes for ITV.

Meanwhile, traffic jams developed in Castle Street and along the A5 in Regent Street as lorries had to park directly outside shops because they could not get into snow-bound side-streets or car parks as usual.

Pavements around town still buried under tons of snow were more treacherous than ever this morning after an overnight freeze left them coated with ice.

Traffic Wales reported earlier that the A5 between Llan and Corwen remained closed in both directions because of trees brought down by the snow lying across the carriageway.  

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Weather update Sunday evening

Council bosses pay tribute to their teams


The Leader and Chief Executive of Denbighshire County Council have paid tribute to the Council's teams of staff for their tireless efforts in dealing with the wintry conditions.


Leader of the Council, Councillor Hugh Evans OBE, said: "Teams have battled the elements, often working in atrocious conditions to try and keep the county's roads open. It's certainly a long time since we've experienced such severe snowfall and many communities were affected over the weekend, in particular in the south of the county.


"The strong winds caused major drifting and the Council's teams, working with local contractors have worked around the clock to try and clear these roads. I really commend their efforts."

Chief Executive, Mohammed Mehmet, said: "I am very proud of the efforts of staff who have worked in terrible conditions to try and keep us safe. It has been a really testing time and my thanks go to all the teams and contractors that have worked together on the ground but also to colleagues in many other departments that have rallied together to assist with the efforts.


"They have dealt with numerous enquiries over recent days and have made every effort to ensure that the best possible levels of service have been maintained and that residents have been kept informed.

"The Council has also worked closely with colleagues from a number of other agencies to respond to this on-going situation and we will continue to deploy our resources to get the situation back to normal as quickly as possible.

"We would also like to thank the public for their understanding. We ha ve seen examples of where communities have really pulled together to help each other in the snowy conditions -it's great to see community spirit alive and kicking in our county."

Council efforts continue in snowy conditions

Efforts to clear snow and fallen trees from roads in south Denbighshire is continuing this afternoon (Sunday).

A number of main roads remain affected:
  • A5104 is partly open between Bryneglwys and Corwen
  • Horseshoe Pass is unlikely to open for some time and work is on-going to try and clear the snow
  • The Council is attempting to open the Llanelidan link. Work ongoing in Llanelidan through Brynegwlys to Carrog
  • A5 remains closed between Corwen and Llangollen

Many smaller routes, in particular in the south of the county remain impassable.

Council teams are using a range of machinery as part of efforts to get the road network clear as quickly as possible. These machinery include loading shovels, JCBs, large excavators, snow blowers, gritters and agri-ploughs. Local contractors have been drafted in to assist with the clear-up operation.

Denbighshire County Council would like to reassure residents that teams are working around the clock in often atrocious conditions  and we would like to thank people for their patience and understanding.  People should continue to monitor websites, social media, news and weather bulletins for the latest information. 

Update on snow in Denbighshire - Sunday morning from the county council.

"Weather unprecedented" says council chief


A number of roads in Denbighshire remain closed due to the heavy snowfall over recent days.  The roads closed are:  A5 Corwen to Llangollen remains closed, and will be prioritised. The road is open from Llangollen to Wrexham  A5104 Closed, Llandegla to Corwen

A542 Horseshoe pass between Llandegla and Llangollen Closed

B5431 into LLanarmon Yn Ial village still closed

Teams of staff from the Council are working around the clock to clear roads, often working in atrocious conditions. Fallen trees are also a hazard in the county and contractors have been deployed again this morning to assist the Council in dealing with the fallen trees, in particular on the A5 between Corwen and Llangollen.  Councillor David Smith, Cabinet Lead Member for Environment, said: "This weather is unprecedented in Denbighshire. Many of our highways staff say they are the worst conditions they have experienced and a number of our communities, in particular in south Denbighshire have been greatly affected.  "We would like to reassure residents that we are doing our utmost to clear the county's roads and to get things moving again and our gritting and ploughing teams have been working through the night to assist in these efforts. They are doing great work and I would also like to pay tribute to the contractors that have been assisting us in this work".  Weather forecasts predict that light snow may become more persistent again through this morning and linger into the afternoon to give the chance of further slight accumulations, especially over the high routes. However, the snow should die out by evening to leave a dry night with some clear intervals developing and temperatures falling below zero with the risk of ice. With fresh easterly winds, further drifting of lying snow is likely.

More snow pictures from a reader

Latest reader's snow pictures


W Fowler sent in the two pictures below.

He says: "Snowy pictures from Pentredwr...and.main road past Britannia to Llangollen this afternoon.








Afternoon update from Diane Slater ...

It is going to take ages to clear all this snow. Everybody saying it is the worst since 1963. Good job folks look after their neighbours . We have been feeding the birds constantly . So many local people cannot get out at all . Apparently there are loads of trees down by the old YHA , real shame .



Reader Diane Slater has been in touch to say: "Here are a few photos I took this morning.

"The car covered in snow is ours next to our cottage on the Geraint.

"There is a photo of our dog Bramble walking home along a trench we dug yesterday.

"The fallen trees are across the road going up the Geraint. No chance of getting passed there until the Council remove them!"

Other readers can send their snow pictures to llanblogger@gmail.com




* The buried car.


* Bramble walks home.



 * The fallen trees.
 

Elihu Yale talk at museum becomes snow victim

Hanes-Llangollen-History regrets that the talk on Elihu Yale by Gareth Williams at the Llangollen Museum on Monday evening has had to be cancelled due to the weather.

This will now take place in April (date to be confirmed).

Gill Thomas of the history group said: "We apologise for any inconvenience caused."

Eisteddfod goes back to black


* Selwyn Evans, Treasurer of Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.

Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod has staged a dramatic reversal of fortune - by making a profit for the first time in five years and providing a £1.5 million boost to the local economy.

While other festivals have struggled, the world-renowned event defied the recession and bad weather to record a profit of £22,668 after a number of difficult years.

Meanwhile, advance sales for this year's International Eisteddfod are already breaking previous records.

Last year’s event attracted 36,000 people and with an average daily visitor spend of £42 that adds up to a massive £1.5 million cash injection to the local economy.

The result has been welcomed by Eisteddfod treasurer Selwyn Evans who said: “This is very encouraging after a number of difficult years and the fact that it was achieved against the odds is also significant.

“Not only did we manage it in the worst economic downturn in our 67-year history we also did it in a very wet week in the middle of the wettest summer on record.

“That did affect daytime ground admissions in particular but we managed to more than maintain our concert attendance figures.

“That was down to the extremely hard work of the staff, one only of whom was full time, and our dedicated army of volunteers and helpers.

“Our aim now is to improve on this result in 2013 and continue improving in subsequent years and to do that every line of income and expenditure will continue to be carefully monitored in order to achieve our aim.

“But what we will also do is continue to back our Musical Director and his plans for the future and to maintain the standards of our superlative concert lineup and the wonderful atmosphere that the Eisteddfod always creates on the field and in the town.”

This year’s Eisteddfod starts on Tuesday, July 9, and runs until Sunday, July 14, when a concert by keyboard king Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra will be the climax to six days of music and dance and competitions.

Also in a star-studded line-up are a Strictly Cuban evening featuring Strictly Come Dancing stars James and Ola Jordan and the music of Havana’s Buena Vista Social Club.

Concerts include a performance of Verdi’s Requiem on the 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth and performances from harpist Claire Jones, tenor Noah Stewart, and percussionist Evelyn Glennie as well as Only Men Aloud on the Choir of the World competition night, Saturday, July 13.

Advance sales for this year’s concerts are going very well and Selwyn Evans added: “In just four weeks we have sold £170,000 worth of tickets and are more than halfway to our target for the year.

“The Jools Holland concert is already over half sold and there is also lots of demand for the other events, especially Strictly Latin and Only Men Aloud.

“That’s very poitive and we’re really pleased with the results after a few very tough years.

“To have turned it round the way we have is a wonderful achievement.”

The 67th Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod kicks off on Tuesday, July 9, with International Children’s Day including interactive performances from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the colourful procession of the competitors to the Royal International Pavilion, led by Eisteddfod President Terry Waite, CBE, the former Archbishop’s Special Envoy and a long-time supporter.

The evening concerts start with Tuesday night’s Carnival of Nations featuring four of Wales’s finest male voice choirs, the Rhos Orpheus, Cor Godre’r Aran, Cor y Brythoniaid and the chart topping Fron Choir, performing on the 60th anniversary of the historic visit of Germany’s Obernkirchen Choir. They will be joined by the St Melodians Steel Band, from Trinidad and international competitors.

Wednesday night will feature An Evening with Scottish percussionist Evelyn Glennie who will be joined by the rising American tenor Noah Stewart and harpist Claire Jones, former official harpist to HRH the Prince of Wales, along with the Eisteddfod Orchestra and the Santo Tomas Choir from the Philippines, twice Choir of the World winners.

Thursday will be Strictly Cuban, a celebration of Latin dance rhythms with James and Ola Jordan and the Buena Vista Social Club while Friday will be VERDI 200, a performance of Verdi’s Requiem by to mark the 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth with Claire Rutter, Mirouslava Yordanova , Gwyn Hughes Jones, Jonathan Lemalu and accompanied by the Eisteddfod Orchestra conducted by Andrew Greenwood.

Saturday is Choir of the World which this year will also feature Only Men Aloud, Last Choir Standing TV winners while for the first time dance will be teamed with choral music on Saturday night as the Eisteddfod’s top two dance troupes dance off for the new Dance Champions 2013 Trophy.

On Sunday keyboard king Jools Holland will bring the house and the curtain down with his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra and a special guest before the traditional firework show finale.

Tickets for this year’s concerts are general sale and are available from the website at www.international-eisteddfod.co.uk

For more information on this year’s event check out the website or go to Facebook at www.facebook.com/llangollen

Saturday, March 23, 2013

llanblogger passes page-view milestone

For the first time since its launch eight months ago, llanblogger has today clocked up an incredible 500 page views in a single day.

And the grand total of views since it first went online last June has at the same time just passed through the 52,000 mark.

For a small hometown online news site we believe that's a fantastic achievement and we would like to thank all our readers - old and new - for helping us to pass these are two significant milestones.

Please keep logging on - and contacting us on llanblogger@gmail.com