You have graphs etc to show how decarbonisation is aimed to happen. We have done it. We are tiny 3 star Welsh guesthouse with 6 bedrooms,700ft up a Welsh mountain in 1883 stone house. It has taken us 5 years but we went carbon neutral over 3 years ago. We have no staff…no big gov grants, just two people powered by a green passion, WE have achieved much and like to help others and show that change is possible.
These the first words of John and Ceilia Whitehead’s email. I couldn’t resist, I had to know more!
John and Ceilia story starts from their life and passion.
John left school at 16 and took extra exams every year till 32. He was apprenticed as aerospace engineer and ended up flying day / night as hobby and gaining lots of engineering certs and qualifying as licenced aerospace Engineer. He has always had a strong interest in science and Technology self motivated. John’s wide and extended experience lead him to Bryn Elltyd eco guest house.
Just to mention a few
- he has been working as volunteer teaching canoeing / mountaineering since 18yrs to disabled / disadvantaged people.
- Back in Uk after a Everest experience John launched into secondary school technology teaching.
- Visited CAT in 1983 (Machynlleth, Wales. I place I know well because it was where I had my first work experience abroad in 2011 with Ecodyfi at the Dyfi Biosphere Reserve), got inspired and fitted solar thermal panels on their semidetached house.
- Taught for over 25 years and GCSE examiner for technology.
The big change happened when the their daughter started uni, Ceilia and Jhon decided to sell their house , gave up good well paid jobs, left the country and moved to an holiday area they have loved for decades: the Ffestiniog Valley.
Bryn Elltyd was discovered because the Coventry Education Authority has a outdoor pursuit centre where the couple went (as pupils) to photograph a lake pumped up mountain every night ( 450MW pumped hydro scheme).
Bryn Elltyd had been modified toward sustainability with bold buildings with grass roofs, sheep’s wool insulation, solar panels, veg plots, hot air extraction from conservatories, rainwater loo flushing and biological sewerage into a reed bed and duckpond. Jhon and Ceilia have re – engineered, mainly worked on their own, hiring local people where it needs certifying IE, RHI, FIT without mega grants using personal savings.
- The property is carbon neutral and was one of the early adopters of a boiler that turns local wood to gas and burns it at 900c. The boiler is computer integrated with a massive solar array.
- Bryn Elltyd is one of the few places that offers free electric car fuel to guests, with all power for the car charging points either made onsite or from 100% renewable UK green sources. The guesthouse is located between two hydro power stations within 200m.
- The couple buy mainly local products and services and have their own orchard and vegetable plots hewed from the mountainside.
Blaenau Ffestiniog is a historic mining town in Gwynedd, Wales. The town relies heavily on tourists, who come to see the many attractions within and around the town such as the Ffestiniog Railway and the Llechwedd Slate Caverns, a former slate mine open to visitors.
Blaenau Ffestiniog area is very steeped in Welsh heritage and Victorian high tech. Railway curves around Bryn Elltyd house and digging on it started in 1820’s. Gravity powered then steam trains much later in 1860’s. The first engine, Prince has been restored and still chuffs past the house.
The area is a mecca for climbing, cave mines exploration, canoeing National Dam released water course 20 mins away.
Several new mountain biking trails have been installed with some suitable for competition level mountain biking. Visitors can borrow bikes from the biking centre and explore the miles of trails, ranging from tracks for beginners to high end professional mountain biking tracks and national downhill race trails.
Zip lines (zip world titan) trampolines underground (bouce below), mines exploration (Go below) and massive electric powered surfing lagoon are among the latest attraction.
The town centre has various cafes and traditional pubs. There are various quirky features such as child-friendly potholing, poetry walks, art centres, and breathtaking views.
- Gwynedd Renewable Energy Project
- Considerate Hotelier national eco award won twice against the whole UK and multinational organisation.
- Green Tourism Business Scheme, a though green assessment scheme. Top Gold Award twice.
- Green Hotelier. Runner up.
- Wales Green Energy Awards. 3rd against the National Trust
Are you interested to know more?
Ask #STouW by Sara Vitali about:
#socialmedia strategies for tourism sector & linked sustainable, responsible, green or eco businesses;
#sustainabledevelopment through tourism.