This will be the 4th time we have strolled to and fro over the earth from Merthyr to Roath on the journey to Made in Spring.
It all started in 2014 under the name the “Red Shoes”. We then returned in 2015 and 16 under the banner of the Red Route. The red theme stems from the fact that Merthyr was the first place in world that saw a red banner being raised as a sign of protest during the 1831 Merthyr Rising. That event saw some 7,000 to 10,000 people marching under that red flag which later was adopted as the internationally symbol of struggle, injustice and socialism.
It has been my privilege to have walked all three previous Red Routes and this shall be my fourth. It’s a 27 mile ritual, over two days that begins in the Red House in Merthyr and ends on Plasnewydd Road for Made in Spring and the start of the Spring arts season the next day. It works out at about 17 miles the first day and around 10 the next.
The thing that frequently surprises me about the Red Route is the look of daunting disbelief that comes across peoples faces when they hear the mileage and the route. But the truth is it really isn't that bad.
I mean it’s not like we are doing S.A.S. selection or anything, it’s just a pleasant stroll through some beautiful Valley countryside, past some incredibly interesting remains of the industrial revolution with frequent cultural stopping off points along the way for performances, art work and readings to watch and ponder over as you walk at your own pace along the Taff Trail. Plus you’re surrounded by some lovely people, get to enjoy a somewhat excess amount of tea and cake stops and thats not mentioning the Made in Roath guide team who know the Taff Trail so well they can (and in my case have often) walked the trail in the pitch dark, at 2 a.m., somewhat tipsy from the pub without falling over a single tree. (Horses are another matter mind.)
The most challenging thing about the Red Route is the same with any distance walk. It’s getting the mindset right. The walk isn't hard at all, it’s on a good path and to be honest the whole trail is parallel to a train line so you’re never more than a few miles from a train station.
Its all about the mindset, if you approach the walk with doubt or uncertainly then you’ll probably have a bad time but if you approach it with a sense of adventure, a positive attitude and a cheerful idea of fortitude then you’ll love it.
Even if the weather turns wet. Some of the best walks I’ve done have been where it’s been hammering down with rain but because of the people around me and the mindset that “yeah this is pretty rubbish but hey I’m in it so may as well enjoy it and at least it’ll be an amusing story to tell”.
In some strange way it’s an encounter into the Sublime. (That strange artistic/philosophic idea by Edward Burke of experiencing awe in the strongest physical elements of nature.) Approach the Red Route with a positive mindset and you’ll have a great time. Oh and of course wear comfortable footwear, either boots or trainers and maybe bring a bottle of water.
Do join us for Red Route 2017. These days we rarely get the chance to walk. Time is often against us in our busy world, finding the time to walk and just think is sadly a rarity. One of the beauties of the Red Route is that it allows you this time to slow travel and ponder. To walk and not run. To journey rather than travel. Even if you can only join us for one of the two days you’ll still enjoy it. Thanks for reading, hope you’re having a good day.
P.S. One great tip is to wear two pairs of socks, a thin pair and a thick pair. This stops your foot rubbing your shoe and cuts down on blisters.
“Well, it’s a marvellous night for a night walk with the stars up above so bright, a fantabulous night to see art works ‘Neath the cover of a January sky…..”
These were the words I was humming as I stood alone, holding onto a large red light outside a charming Edwardian church on a street corner in Roath in the bitter cold of a January evening. As the light began to fade and dusk turned into the inky blue of night we were putting the last minute bits and bobs to the evening adventures.
An event which signals the beginning of the creative year for all involved with Made in Roath and one which is a firm (if not cold) favourite. The event sees us taking a pleasant stroll through the streets of Roath stopping off at pre-arrange cultural points to enjoy and be enlightened by artists, poets, speakers, music makers and historians. This year Made in Roath was illuminated by a large red light outside a charming Edwardian church on a street corner.
The proceedings begin at G39 (our local international contemporary art gallery) in the shadows of the towering structures of Cardiff and with the sounds and yellow passing lights of traffic on City Road, we gathered ready to begin. It was a lovely night, cold and dark and we were surprised at the amount of people who braved the conditions and crowded together in harmony with the sounds a violin player serenading the air.
The night walkers procession headed down City Road to the now rubble filled site of the former Poets Corner Pub where we heard the message that its better to do something rather than nothing. Onward then pushing down to where a proud car garage once stood, now transformed into a restaurant, a sign of the changing nature of the city and City Road in particular. Onward once again with an unexpected turn down a dark ally way and into the Yurt of Miligis where we learned about the history of the area.
Off we went again, moving on quickly we headed passed a charming Edwardian Church illuminated very nicely by a very large red light on the street corner which served as an indicator as where to go next (see we had a plan for that). After another ally, this one containing refreshments and hot potatoes we finished the night at Welcome House, Made in Roaths current studio space, for a tour of the artist studios and to get warm around a roaring outdoor fire.
It was a whistle stop tour of the night and its culture, a tale telling glimpse into the cultural heart of the city. As we the a new year, a refreshing reminder that yes there are things going on and yes there are people doing things so why don’t we join them and do things too.
Cultural, musical, historical, writing, speaking, learning and enlightening things, I’d recommend all those things and more to try in 2017.
This post was originally posted at madeinroath.blogspot.co.uk
on 19/11/16 by Dai Howell.
One of the largest venues in this year's madeinroath festival was 28 The Parade. This former Edwardian family home, very kindly lent to us for the week by Cardiff Council, played a key role in the happenings and events this year hosting the launch celebration 'Join the Parade', the madeinroath Open Exhibition, as well as exhibitions such as 'Pillow', "a collective work about perception"; NONARCHY's group exhibition; PhotoRenga workshop & exhibition; and Sara Rees' 'Fragments for a City in Ruins'.
The history of 28 The Parade is worth mentioning. Built by an Edwardian shipping magnate as his home, with the unusual feature of a dome-like tower on the roof which contained a telescope so that he could watch his ships coming and going from Cardiff docks. At the turn of the century, Cardiff docks were actually busier than New York with ships bound for every port in the world. You can still see the owner's family crest on the upper parts of 28 The Parade. After the shipping magnate had died and Cardiff dock was in decline, the property was given to the local education board where it became an adult learning centre. Until quite recently it operated as a language school.
Currently uninhabited and up for sale, 28 The Parade briefly came to life again, becoming a centre for the arts, a home to creativity and entertainment, and a place to enjoy and think before going forward into the next chapter of its life.
On the opening Sunday we saw a fantastic musical celebration taking place, with lights being projected onto the back of the building in one of the most technology advanced things madeinroath has ever done. We watched as blues and purples rolled over the building, creating patterns and shapes interplaying with the 120-year-old Edwardian stonework. Below this a fantastic mixture of musicians played, entertaining the crowd who were gathered on the grass in the cool October air.
Later on in the week 28 The Parade played host to the madeinroath Open. This open exhibition of work was a great success and generated a lot of interest with people voting for their favourite work. Meanwhile, exhibitions on the ground floor and basement provided a series of multimedia works by various artists. As you ventured outside, you'd find the 'Pillow' multimedia exhibition which was located in the back building.
28 The Parade was a fantastic venue which served the festival well, leaving everyone who visited with fond memories. I doubt I will ever pass the building again without remembering the week it was host to so much art. Whatever the future holds for 28 The Parade, be it offices, flats or just a hollow shell containing only memories. It will always have been, for a brief point in its history, a creative community space.