Wales away from home
Aled and Greg travelled far to find traditional Welsh houses – all the way to ‘Y Wladfa’, the small corner of South America which has been home to a Welsh community for over 140 years. The two house detectives visited the homes built by the first Welsh settlers, and were amazed at what they found – untouched Welsh cottages, traditional farmsteads and chapels.
Greg says that it was the people they met that made their visit so special, particularly as they were in many ways the last of their kind. “Although many people can speak Welsh in Patagonia, those who speak it as their first language are few and far between. We’ve recorded the last of a generation in these programmes, and because many of them are elderly we’ve been able to capture their memories of ‘Yr Hen Ffordd Gymreig o Fyw’ (the Welsh way of life) in their homes.”
“We could easily have filmed a whole series out there,” adds Greg. “The landscape was full of untouched houses… and the people were so welcoming. They helped us uncover the history of the Welsh in the area.”
In the first programme of the series Greg and Aled visited Dyffryn Camwy, the area first colonised by the Welsh after they landed on the ship Mimosa in 1865. “The arid, flat landscape is like a desert,” recalls Greg. “I was really shocked by it, it’s so different to Wales – it’s real cowboy country! Life must have been hard, very hard, at first, and you can see this reflected in the simple, rustic cottages that the first settlers built.”