The Mentrau Iaith have collaborated with the National Centre for Learning Welsh (Canolfan Dysgu Cymraeg) over the spring and summer months offering walking tours all over Wales with none other than the famous naturalist Iolo Williams leading four of the tours. The trips offered opportunities for people who are currently learning Welsh together with people who already know the language, to be able to walk and talk together in Welsh. Daniela Schlick, Project Coordinator with Mentrau Iaith Cymru says:

“The Mentrau Iaith specialises in providing opportunities for people to be able to use their Welsh, encouraging everyone to speak a little, no matter how little, but that everyone has the opportunity to use the language wherever they are. The National Centre for Learning Welsh specialises in language learning and offers a range of classes for new Welsh speakers, so it was a natural step for us to work together on being able to offer these special opportunities.”

Outdoor trips were organized in very diverse areas with Iolo Williams leading trips in Margam (NPT), Denbigh, Cwm Idwal (Gwynedd) and, most recently, at the Beacons national park in Libanus. Iolo says:

Listening to the people speaking Welsh around me while walking has lifted my heart - the future of the [Welsh] language is in their hands, we need more people to learn Welsh. It has been a pleasure working with the Mentrau Iaith locally on these trips and also with the National Centre for Learning in order to ensure these additional opportunities to practice the language.”

Susan Lewis from Deganwy was one who walked in Cwm Idwal, Eryri / Snowdonia. Susan says:

“I learned so much about wildlife and the area with Iolo Williams and I enjoyed speaking in Welsh with everyone else. The walk was very organised. Today I speak more Welsh in my work.”

The Welsh Government has set a challenge to increase the number of Welsh speakers to one million by the year 2050 and also double the number of those using the language. These walks have also set a challenge of a million steps. Helen Prosser from the Welsh Learning Centre explains:

“16 various walks were organised and a million steps were taken by the 12th trip! The response has been great and the interest in walking and visiting these places has been great to see. We look forward to continuing to work together with the Mentrau Iaith in order to offer more diverse opportunities to use the Welsh language. One thing that is planned is the Cwis Mawr [Great Quiz] that will take place at this year’s National Eisteddfod in Tregaron, and we look forward to seeing who is the best quiz minds among our learners this year!”

The Quiz will take place on the 30th of July at 4pm in Maes D with Lisa Gwilym and Alun Williams asking the questions.

For more info re: who your local Menter Iaith is, visit: menterfind-a-menter/