Herio i'r Eithaf - Huw Jack Brassington

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Uplifting and inspirational.

Genre: #ffeithiol #antur #awyragored #hunangofiant / #nonfiction #adventure #autobiography


Gwerth addysgiadol/educational value: ◉◉◎◎

Negeseuon positif/positive messages: ◉◉◉◉◉

Themau trist,anodd/upsetting, tough themes: ◎◎◎◎◎

Trais, ofn/violence, scary: ◎◎◎◎◎

Iaith gref/language: ◉◉◎◎◎

Rhyw/sex: ◎◎◎◎◎

Hiwmor/humour: ◉◉◉◉

Her darllen/reading difficulty: ◉◉◎◎


Dyfarniad/Rating: ★★★★★


Wel, amser cyfaddef. Doeddwn i ddim yn gwybod llawer am Huw Jack Brassington, yr anturiwr a’r athletwr, cyn darllen y llyfr yma. Pan wnes i holi ffrind amdano, mi ddudodd o “o ia, y boi mynydd ’na.” Felly sori, Huw – dwn i ddim pa graig dw i wedi bod yn cuddio o dani tan rŵan. Ond ella fod hynny’n beth da – mod i’n hollol unbiased wrth fynd ati i ddarllen – a ’sgwennu’r adolygiad ’ma!


Dyma lyfr sy’n hanner autobiography a hanner self-help manual faswn i’n ddweud. Mae o’n dechrau trwy ein cyflwyno ni i’r ‘hen ddyn yn y gadair siglo,’ sef yr hen Huw Jack. Syniad da, sy’n cael ei gyfeirio ato’n aml drwy’r llyfr – y syniad o beidio cael regrets pan ’da chi’n hen.

Mae Huw yn ein tywys ni ar siwrne ei fywyd hyd yma, a’r holl bethau insane mae o wedi eu cyflawni. O ddringo Mont Blanc, Pencampwriaeth Triathlon y Byd, Ultimate Hell, teithio’r byd, Coast 2 Coast Seland Newydd hyd at Ras Cefn y Ddraig, fe gawn yr hanes i gyd a llawer mwy. Trafoda ei brofiadau cyn, yn ystod ac ar ôl y rasys gwyllt ac fe gawn ddarlun ‘behind the scenes’ o pa mor physically a mentally demanding ydi rhai o’r cystadlaethau ’ma. Yn enwedig yn ystod lockdown, gyda llawer ohonom yn fwy caeth i’r tŷ nac arfer, roedd hi’n dipyn o ddihangfa cael teithio’r byd wrth darllen am y llefydd anhygoel a’r pobl diddorol mae o wedi gyfarfod heb adael y soffa!


Wrth Googlio, mi ddes i ar draws llun o Huw ar ddechrau Ras Cefn y Ddraig. Mae tŷ fy rhieni jest i’r dde o’r llun, a dwi’n cofio diwrnod y ras – mi oeddwn i gerllaw yn gwylio’r haid o gystadleuwyr yn sgrialu allan o’r castell am y mynydd. Tan rŵan, dwi’m yn meddwl fod hi wedi gwawrio arna i cymaint o beast ydi’r ras ’ma! O Gonwy i Landeilo – 200 milltir gyda 8.5 milltir o ddringo wedi’i rannu dros bum diwrnod ar hyd mynyddoedd didrugaredd Cymru. Ydi’r peth yn bosib hyd yn oed? Wel yndi - just about – dim ond 47% o gystadleuwyr sy’n gorffen y ras! Mae o’n disgrifio pob cymal o’r ras, day by day, ac mae rhywun yn cael blas o sut beth yw’r anghenfil yma. Mae’n amlwg yn ras chwedlonol sy’n chwalu corff ac enaid ond mae Huw wastad yn llwyddo i ffeindio’r ochr bositif. Fel y mae’n dweud – er eich bod chi wedi torri erbyn y diwedd, yn y pen draw fyddwch chi’n dod allan ohoni’n gryfach. Dwi’n gweld hyn fel metaphor ar gyfer cyfnodau anodd mewn bywyd.

doniol


Fel rhywun sydd wedi stryglo efo fy mhwysau fy hun yn y gorffennol, mi oeddwn i wastad yn fixated ar ‘golli pwysa’. Er bod fy ffrindiau yn denau fel milgwn, doeddwn i jest methu shifftio’r bol. Dros y blynyddoedd dwi wedi dod i ddeall mai nid tenau a bach yw siâp naturiol fy nghorff. Fasa rhaid i mi literally starfio fy hun i fod yn denau denau, a fasa hynny ddim yn iach. Roedd hi’n dda gweld fod Huw wedi gorfod cydnabod rhywbeth tebyg - na fyddai ganddo byth ffisioleg rhedwr triathlon, a byddai’r fath beth yn anghynaladwy. Nid yn unig mae o wedi derbyn hyn, ond mae o wedi gwneud y mwyaf o’r corff a’r cryfder sydd ganddo. Eto, neges bwysig iawn fan hyn hefyd.

Tydi Huw heb guddio’r ffaith fod ganddo dyslecsia chwaith. Ydi, mae hi wedi bod yn siwrne anodd iddo – mae’n cydnabod hyn – ond nid yw wedi gadael iddo ei stopio rhag gwneud pethau rhyfeddol fel bod yn athletwr, siaradwr cyhoeddus, darlithydd, awdur a chyflwynydd. Dwi’n meddwl y bydd y llyfr yma’n help i unrhyw berson sydd â dyslecsia, er mwyn iddynt sylwi fod unrhyw beth yn bosib – dyslecsia neu beidio. Own it ’de! Mi faswn i’n sicr yn argymell y llyfr yma i fechgyn sy’n reluctant readers neu unrhywun sydd ddim yn darllen yn aml.

Fedrai ddim helpu ond rhyfeddu ar ei egni di-baid– mae o fel rhyw fath o energizer bunny sydd byth yn stopio! Ond er ei fod o fel arfer yn chwilio am yr her wirion bost nesaf, mae’r ffaith ei fod o’n mwynhau bacon bap a pheint da yn dangos ei fod o’n berson normal hefyd ac efallai mai cydbwysedd yw’r gyfrinach. Mae’n rhaid cael seibiant a mwynhau bywyd dipyn bach hefyd ’does?

Roedd dull anffurfiol, doniol, naturiol Huw o adrodd ei hanes yn gwneud i chi deimlo eich bod chi’n cael sgwrs gyda hen ffrind wrth ddarllen – cawn ddarlun o rhywun penderfynol, ond eto sy’n licio jôc a ddim yn cymryd ei hun ormod o ddifri. Roedd hi’n refreshing iawn i ddarllen llyfr Cymraeg oedd yn llai ffurfiol a ‘stiff.’ Yn bersonol, gwerthfawrogais fod digon o eiriau Saesneg (yn lle geiriau anghyfarwydd Cymraeg) i helpu a digon o regi a sense of humour yn y llyfr (ma’ isio does!)

Y take-home message i mi yw ‘rhowch gynnig ar bethau’. Mae bywyd yn llawer rhy fyr ac weithiau mae angen cydio mewn cyfleoedd gyda dwy law a just go with it. Does ’na ddim pwynt difaru wedyn pan fydd hi’n rhy hwyr! Mae Huw wedi cymryd pob cyfle a ddaeth i’w ran, ond fel y dyweda yn y llyfr, mae o wedi creu cyfleoedd iddo’i hun hefyd.

Pob lwc iddo ar weddill ei antur – tybed pa ras wyllt mae o’n ei llygadu nesaf? Ella y cawn wybod yn Part 2 y llyfr yma mewn blynyddoedd i ddod…

Right, I’ll admit I didn’t know much about Huw Jack Brassington, the athlete-adventurer, before reading this book. When I asked a friend, he said: "oh yeah, the mountain guy.” So sorry, Huw – I don’t know which rock I've been under until now. Perhaps, in a way, that's a good thing – that I was totally unbiased going into this book.

This is book feels like an autobiography, self-help manual and travel writing all rolled into one. It begins by introducing us to the idea of the ‘old man in the rocking chair,' (The old Huw Jack) This is a great little idea, which is referred back to during the book. It’s the idea of not having regrets when you’re old.

Huw takes us on the journey of his life so far, and all the insane things he’s done. From the climbing of Mont Blanc, Ultimate Hell, World Triathlon Championships, Coast 2 Coast New Zealand all the way to Dragon’s Back – we get the whole lot and much more. He discusses his experiences before, during and after these wild races and we get a 'behind the scenes' picture of how physically and mentally demanding some of these races really are. Especially during lockdown, with many of us cooped up indoors, it was a bit of an escape to travel the world, reading about the amazing places and the interesting people he’s met – and all without leaving the sofa!


Whilst Googling, I came across a picture of Huw at the start of the Dragon's Back race. My parents ' house is just to the right of the photo, and I remember the day of that race – I was nearby watching the crowd of competitors scrambling out of the castle and up towards the mountain. It’s taken until now for me to truly comprehend what an absolute beast this race is! From Conwy to Llandeilo – 200 miles, 8.5 miles of ascent, spread over five days along the unforgiving, harsh, mountainous terrain of Wales. Is it even possible? Well yes - just about – only 47% of competitors finish the race! He describes each leg of the race, day by day, and one gets a taste of what this race is about. It’s an almost mythical race which breaks body and soul but Huw always finds the positive side. As he says – despite the fact you’re broken by the end, eventually, when the body heals, you will come out stronger. I see this as a metaphor for the tough times in life.


As someone who has struggled with my own weight in the past, I was always fixated on 'losing weight'. Even though my friends were stick-thin, I wasn't able to shift the belly. Over the years I have come to understand that the natural shape of my body is not thin and small and I’ve got to work with what I’ve got to improve my fitness. It was reassuring to see that even Huw has had to acknowledge something similar – that he would never have the physiology of a pro triathlete, and to maintain a body like that would be unsustainable. Not only has he accepted this, but he has made the most of the body and strength that he has. Again, I’d say there’s another important message right here.

Huw does not hide the fact that he has dyslexia. Yes, it has been a difficult journey for him – he acknowledges this – but he hasn't let it stop him from doing amazing things like being an athlete, public speaker, lecturer, writer and a presenter. I think this book will help anyone who is feeling down about their dyslexia, so that they can see that anything is possible – dyslexia or not. I 'd certainly recommend this book to older boys who are reluctant readers.

I can’t help but be amazed by his relentless energy – he's like a kind of energizer bunny that never stops! Although he’s usually on the lookout for the next crazy challenge, the fact that he enjoys bacon bap and good pint shows that he is also a normal person and perhaps maintaining a balance is the secret.


Huw's natural, funny, informal way of telling his story makes you feel that you’re having a chat with an old friend whilst reading – we get the impression of a very determined person, yet one who likes a good joke, some banter and doesn’t take himself too seriously. It was very refreshing to read a Welsh book that was less formal and 'stiff.' Personally, I appreciated that there were a few scattered English words (instead of unfamiliar Welsh terminology) The good sense of humour and plenty of swearing puts this book right up my street!

The take-home message for me is ‘give things a go’. Life is far too short and sometimes you’ve got to grasp opportunities with both hands and just go with it. It’ll be too late when you’re old! Huw has taken every opportunity that came his way, but as he says himself, he has also created many opportunities too.

Good luck to him on the rest of his adventure – I wonder which wild race he’s eyeing up next? Maybe we’ll find out in Part 2 of this book in a few years…


Gwasg/publisher: Y Lolfa

Rhyddhawyd/Released: 2020

Pris: £1


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