Sunday, March 02, 2008
Visiting Craig-y-nos - 1950
Mother, father and my brother David on the yard at Ty-Llangenny farm , near Crickhowell dressed ready for visit to Craig-y-nos.
It is appropriate on Mother's Day to think back to all those women who struggled for years to visit their children in Craig-y-nos.
Our family had a car and my mother could drive though my father never learnt to drive except a motor-bike and the tractors. Still in the depths of winter it was a hazardous and lonely journey over the Brecon Beacons often returning home through snow and gales across the mountains. After the first couple of years my father rarely visited, so much so that other children would ask if he was dead.
Throughout my four years there my mother never missed a month without visiting.
Some children, we know not the number since it is only anecdotal evidence from former staff members, were abandoned in Craig-y-nos for their parents had simply given up the attempt to visit finding it too much, especially if they were already burdened with poverty, unemployment and other sick children in the family.
But for most though it is is a remarkable story of dedication on the part of parents who made incredible efforts to make that journey up the Swansea Valley to the remote Craig-y-nos Castle.
One mother left home at 7 o clock in the morning from Carmarthen to being the long trek to the hospital, not returning until 11 o'clock that night. Others had to walk considerable distances in order to begin the convoluted journey on public transport.
So, I was lucky. Mother had a car.