A giant triangle that’s the height of 36 double decker buses stacked on top of each other has appeared on a hillside overlooking Denbigh.
The massive structure in the shape of the famous Urdd logo has created a huge stir on social media and has been designed to flag up that the organisation’s National Eisteddfod is finally coming to town at the end of May.
The week-long festival was originally due to be held there in 2020 but had to be postponed for the last two years due to Covid-19.
The event, one of Europe’s largest youth festivals which usually attracts over 65,000 competitors, will be staged at Kilford Farm on the outskirts of the town from May 30 to June 3
During the past few weeks thousands of young people have been busy competing without audiences at local and regional to earn the right to progress to the National Eisteddfod .
Led by retired teachers Bryan Jones and Cledwyn Jones, the large ‘triban’ has been built by a small team of volunteers on land owned by the Pendine Park care organisation proprietor Mario Kreft MBE and his wife, Gill.
They have also donated £1,000 to fund the work via the Pendine Arts and Community Trust which supports arts and community activities.
Bryan, who was an assistant headteacher at Ysgol y Creuddyn in Penrhyn Bay until retirement, has never undertaken such a project before and after being asked to create the triban quickly recruited his friend Cledwyn. He retired from his post as technology teacher at Ysgol Glan Clwyd, St Asaph nearly six years ago.
“We went to see the land and found it to be very steep and undulating and the question of perspective was considered,” he said.
Bryan, helped by his son Rhydian, went onto the hillside and began marking out the triban.
Cledwyn said: “The hillside is six miles from the town and four miles from the Eisteddfod Maes and the way it’s seen differs from different places.
“Bryan placed hi-vis jackets at each corner and from my home in Denbigh I used a zoom lens to take photographs of the shape and see how they looked in perspective.
“Studying the photos carefully Bryan returned and made the shape taller and narrower and from the Maes and the town it looks reasonably triangular.”
Bryan said the finished shape measures 160 metres long and 60 metres wide.
But that was just the start of the work with the method of filling in the shape being considered.
“Painting the loco onto the hillside was considered but apart from the expense of doing so it would not have lasted very long. Maybe only a few days and this needs to be in place for up to three weeks.
“We decided to use the membrane type material used on the Eisteddfod Maes to place between grassland and the hardcore laid out to create temporary roadways.
“It’s quite an eco-friendly material and allows water to pass through,” explained Bryan.
Bryan, Cledwyn and their friends used tractors, trailers and quad bikes to take 180 wooden pallets up onto the hillside. These have been used to mark out the numbers ‘2022’ and have been painted. They have used five large rolls of rope and more than 1,500 pegs to secure everything in place.
“Hopefully the hard work won’t be spoilt by the weather. The last thing we want during the next few weeks are strong winds,” said Bryan.
Both have been on the Maes and Cledwyn said it can be seen very clearly from the site.
Cledwyn said he had seen some amusing comments on social media about the triban.
“Discussion seems to have centred about what was being created, especially when it wasn’t too obvious what we were doing. One comment thought it was a hang glider had crashed on the hill,” he said.
Mario Kreft MBE said: “We were delighted to oblige when the Urdd contacted us to ask if they could place the giant triban on the hillside, particularly as Gill and I live in Denbigh.
“The Urdd is a fantastic organisation and the National Eisteddfod has provided a cultural bedrock for generations of children and young people across Wales.
“I would like to pay tribute to Bryan, Cled and the team for volunteers for the fantastic job that they have done to put this event on the map.
“The ethos of the Urdd chimes perfectly with our intergenerational work at Pendine where the arts provide a golden thread that runs through everything that we do, enriching the lives of our residents and staff alike.”
Director of the Urdd Eisteddfod and the Arts, Siân Eirian said: “The support we’ve had from local volunteers, communities and businesses has been fantastic.
“We are very grateful to Mario and Gill Kreft for allowing us to arrange a football-pitch-sized Urdd logo on his land, to Pendine Arts and Community Trust (PACT) for sponsoring the artwork, and to Bryan Jones and Cledwyn Jones for the incredible work of creating it – their masterpiece can be seen for miles!
“I am so pleased that the Urdd’s logo is attracting so much attention and raising awareness ahead of the Denbighshire Urdd Eisteddfod and look forward to welcoming everyone to the festival over May half-term.
“Children and young people have missed out on so many cultural activities because of Covid-19, so we’re looking forward to the Eisteddfod immensely, after having to postpone the festival for two years. We are certain this will be a week to remember.”
Creating the triban is not the end of Bryan and Cledwyn’s work for this year’s Eisteddfod. They spent a couple of days adjudicating some of the design and technology classes at the Anglesey Showground.
“We spent the journey to the showground discussing the work on the triban,” said Cledwyn, “and we were very impressed by the art, craft and technology entries we saw during the day and it will make a very good exhibition during the Eisteddfod.”
Wales’s largest national youth movement the Urdd celebrates its centenary this year and the Eisteddfod is a key part of the Urdd’s centenary celebrations.
Since 1922, the Urdd has provided opportunities for more than four million children and young people in Wales to enjoy sporting, cultural, residential, humanitarian and volunteering experiences through the medium of Welsh.
For this year’s event organisers have confirmed every competitor will perform on one of the main stages at the event. Previously preliminary rounds were held on or near the Eisteddfod site and adjudicators would choose the best three or four competitors to appear on the main pavilion stage in front of a large audience.
Urdd Eisteddfod director Siân Eirian said this means there will be three Pavilions on the Maes this year, instead of the usual one.
And for the first time in the Eisteddfod’s history, a festival within a festival will be held during the last three days of the event.
Gŵyl Triban will celebrate the best of contemporary Welsh music and will be the “largest reunion of the Century”, where all current and former Urdd members and friends are invited to join in the celebrations and an opportunity to reminisce and live performances by bands including Eden, Gwilym and Tara Bandito.
The Welsh Government confirmed £527,000 funding for the Urdd in December 2021, meaning that entry to this year’s Eisteddfod will be free.