Y Goron yn y Chwarel - Myrddin ap Dafydd

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Antur a chyfrinachau yn y chwarel...

Discover both adventure and secrets in the quarry...


Genre: ffuglen hanesyddol, Ail Ryfel Byd, chwareli / Historical fiction, WWII, 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: ★★★★☆


Rhaid i mi ddeud fod y teitl a’r clawr wedi apelio’n syth. Dwi’n meddwl fod o’n glawr effeithiol, sy’n awgrymu fod ‘na rhyw ddirgelwch mawr yn ein disgwyl rhwng y cloriau. Yn gyffredinol, dwi’n ffeindio unrhyw beth i wneud gyda chwareli yn ddiddorol dros ben, felly doedd dim angen fy mherswadio fwy!


Er mai yn nociau Lerpwl yng nghyfnod yr Ail Ryfel Byd y dechreua’r nofel– ym Mlaenau Ffestiniog mae rhan helaeth o’r stori. Cawn ein cyflwyno i Sardar Singh Basra, y prif gymeriad. Bachgen weddol ifanc o dras Sikhiaid sy’n dod i Ogledd Cymru fel faciwî i ddianc rhag bomiau erchyll y Blitz. Mae’r bachgen wedi profi dipyn o newid yn ei fywyd, ar ôl iddyn nhw ymfudo i Brydain o Punjab, India. Mae’n anodd dychmygu cael eich gwahanu o’ch teulu am gyhyd – er, mae Covid-19 yn rhoi blas i ni gyd o sut deimlad ydoedd!



Mae tomenni llechi Blaenau Ffestiniog yn fyd gwahanol i Sardar ac mae’n cymryd amser iddo arfer. I fod yn onest, mae’n cymryd fwy o amser i’r trigolion lleol ddod i arfer gyda fo, gan nad ydynt wedi gweld bachgen croen tywyll o’r blaen. Mae agwedd y bobl ar ddechrau’r llyfr yn siŵr o fod yn syndod i ni heddiw, ond rhaid cofio fod pethau’n wahanol iawn adeg hynny. Mae’r ffaith ei fod yn gwisgo tyrban yn destun trafod i’r pentre’ cyfan - mae rhai yn meddwl ei fod o wedi brifo ei ben! Camgymeriad diniwed sydd ‘chydig yn ddoniol mewn un ffordd, ond yn arwydd o anwybodaeth y cyfnod hefyd. Wrth dreulio mwy o amser yng Nghymru, gwna Sardar ffrindiau newydd, ac mae’n dysgu lot, ond i fod yn deg mae’r bobl leol yn dysgu llawer ganddo fo hefyd. Cultural Exchange ar ei orau.



Diddorol iawn oedd clywed mwy am hanes hen chwareli’r ardal. Rho’r nofel ddarlun clir o fywyd yng nghyfnod y rhyfel, ond hefyd tafla oleuni ar hen ffordd o fyw cyn hynny pan oedd y chwareli yn eu hanterth. Dwi’n cofio cerdded gyda chlwb cerddwyr y Pentan pan oeddwn i'n blentyn, ac wedi fy nghyfareddu erioed gyda phentref Rhiw-Bach. Pwy fasa’n dychmygu pentref cyfan mewn lleoliad mor anghysbell, jest ar gyfer y gweithwyr a’u teuluoedd? Trist yw meddwl am y pentref gwag sy’n adfail bellach, a’r bobl wedi hen fynd a’r gwaith wedi dod i ben. Mae’n lle diddorol iawn i fynd am dro (o Gwm Penmachno fydda i’n mynd fel rheol) - ewch ‘da chi ar ôl darllen y nofel.


Mae’n bechod mawr ‘na chefais y cyfle i ddysgu digon am hanes Cymru pan oeddwn yn yr ysgol, a hanes diwydiant y llechi -a chwaraeodd ran mor bwysig yn hanes ein gwlad a’n cymdeithasau. Mae’r nofel yn mynd peth o’r ffordd i lenwi bylchau (mawr) yn fy ngwybodaeth am hanes y chwareli ac y sicr mae gen i awydd mynd i ddarganfod mwy. Dwi’n meddwl y bydd rhaid trefnu trip arall i’r amgueddfa lechi ar ôl i’r lockdown ddod i ben! Mae ‘na ôl gwaith ymchwil manwl a thrylwyr ar y llyfr yma, a ‘da chi’n gwybod fod yr awdur, nid yn unig yn hen law ar y math yma o beth, ond yn amlwg yn mwynhau ymchwilio. Mae’r awdur yn manteisio ar bob pob cyfle i’n haddysgu ni fel darllenwyr am ffeithiau bach lleol, hen straeon a dywediadau. Roedd nodyn gan yr awdur a ffynonellau ei waith ymchwil yn reit ddiddorol hefyd.


Er mai nofel hanesyddol yw hon, mae ‘na negeseuon pwysig iawn i ni heddiw. Mae Sardar yn gorfod dygymod â hiliaeth, rhagfarn a bwlis yn ystod ei gyfnod yng Nghymru. Braf yw gweld brwdfrydedd Sardar tuag at ddysgu’r iaith, wrth iddo gofnodi pob gair newydd mewn llyfr bach! Mi oedd llawer o’r faciwîs yn cael eu trochi yn yr iaith ac yn gadael yn siarad Cymraeg - grêt de!


Mae’r nofel yn adrodd hanes un o gyfrinachau gorau’r Ail Ryfel Byd. Stori’r lluniau, gemau a thrysorau cenedlaethol byd enwog a gafodd eu cludo a’i storio mewn cronfa yn nwfn yn chwarel Manod. Mae’n debyg nad oes llawer yn gwybod am yr hanes diddorol yma. Byddwn wrth fy modd yn cael mynd yno i gael sbec, ond dwi’n meddwl fod o off-limits! Os da chi’n licio’r math yno o beth – googleiwch Twnelau Cudd Rhydymwyn.


Reit, yn ôl at y stori -yn ail ran y nofel, cawn dipyn o antur wrth i Sardar ac un o’i gyfeillion newydd fynd ar daith bwysig, Mission Impossible-style i grombil y graig er mwyn torri mewn i guddfan y Llywodraeth! Pam? Bydd rhaid i chi ddarllen y nofel i ffeindio allan!


Gwelwn y rhyfel trwy lygaid plentyn, a sut wnaeth Yr Ail Ryfel Byd daflu ei gysgod tywyll dros Ogledd Cymru hyd yn oed. Tybe ydi daliadau gwleidyddol/cenedlaethol yr awdur yn dod drosodd yn reit gryf yn y nofel? Yn enwedig wrth sôn am yr ymerodraeth Brydeinig a’i driniaeth o bobl yr India. Mae hyn yn agwedd pwysig o hanes, ond yn un sy’n cael ei frwsio dan y carped braidd gan Brydain.



Mae mapiau, diagramau a nodiadau i gyd yn adio at greu nofel hynod o ddiddorol a fydda yn werthfawr iawn i’w ddefnyddio fel llyfr dosbarth - neu i unrhyw un sy’n mwynhau hanes. Mae iaith yr awdur yn gyfoethog ac mae ‘na ddisgrifiadau sydd bron yn farddonol ar brydiau, fel “dagrau’r niwl.” Fel Sardar, dwi fy hun yn hoffi cofnodi ambell air neu ymadrodd newydd – roeddwn i’n hoff iawn o ddisgrifiad Myrddin o gi bwlteriar y cigydd: “doedd y ci ddim yn llun i’w osod ar y piano.” Dwi’n licio honna!


Mae’r ffordd y mae’r awdur yn trafod hanes lleol chwareli Cymru, effaith Yr Ail Ryfel Byd a bywyd dydd-i-ddydd y plant yn gwneud nofel hynod o ddiddorol. Wedi dweud hyn, mae’n rhaid i mi anghytuno gydag oedran darged y nofel. Dwi’n meddwl ei bod hi’n llawer rhy heriol i ddisgyblion Bl.5 a 6 ysgolion cynradd - heblaw'r darllenwyr mwyaf abl ac aeddfed efallai. Roedd hi ar restr ‘Cwis Darllen’ y Cyngor Llyfrau ‘lenni ac fe glywais fod nifer o’r plant yn dweud ei bod hi’n rhy heriol. Bechod - achos dwi’n meddwl y bydda darllenwyr hŷn (efallai Bl.7-9) yn debycach o fwynhau’r stori a’i werthfawrogi’n llawn.


Mi faswn i’n argymell hon i ddarllenwyr hŷn hefyd. Oedolion - peidiwch â bod yn snobs am ddarllen llyfrau plant a phobl ifanc! Mae 'na rai gwerth chweil i’w cael - fel hon!


The front cover and title immediately appealed to me. The artwork is both effective and intriguing, which hints at a mystery waiting to be revealed. In general, I find anything to do with quarries extremely interesting, so I needed no more persuasion!


Although the novel kicks off at Liverpool docks during the Second World War, the majority of the story is set in Blaenau Ffestiniog. We are quickly introduced to Sardar Singh Basra, the main character. A young Sikh boy, he comes to North Wales as an evacuee to escape the Blitz bombs. The boy has already experienced a lot of change in his life, after the family emigrated to Britain from Punjab, India. It’s hard to imagine being separated from your family for so long as an evacuee – although, Covid-19 is giving us all a taste of what it was like!


The slate tips of Blaenau Ffestiniog is a different world for Sardar and it takes time for him to adjust. To be honest, it takes the local residents more time to get used to him, as they haven't really seen a black boy before. The attitudes of some people at the beginning of the book will no doubt surprise us today, but we must remember that at the time things were very different. The fact that he wears a turban is a subject of discussion in the village- some even mistakenly think that it’s a bandage because he's hurt his head! This rather innocent mistake is somewhat amusing, but also a sign of people’s ignorance/unfamiliarity of other cultures at the time. Whilst spending more time in Wales, Sardar makes new friends, and learns a lot, but he also teaches the local people a thing or two. Cultural Exchange at its finest.



It was very interesting to hear more about the history of the old quarries of the area. The novel gives a clear picture of life during wartime, but also sheds light on an old way of life when the quarries were in their prime. I remember walking with the Pentan Walking Club when I was a child, and I’ve always been fascinated with the abandoned village of Rhiw-Bach. Who’d have thought; a whole village set up just for the workers and families? It’s sad to think of the empty village now lying derelict -the people have long gone and the work has come to an end. It's an interesting place to go for a walk (from Cwm Penmachno I’d go normally). I’d recommend going to explore after you’ve read this book.


It is a great shame that 'I didn't have the opportunity to learn more about the history of Wales when I was in school, and the history of the slate industry in particular – which played such an important role in the history of our country and our society. The novel goes some way to filling (big) gaps in my knowledge of the history of the quarries and I’d now like to find out more. I think another trip to the Slate Museum is on the cards after the lockdown has ended! It is obvious that detailed and thorough research has been done in preparation of this book. You can just tell that the author, not only being highly skilled in this area, but clearly enjoys this type of historical fiction. He takes every opportunity to educate us as readers of small local artifacts, local characters, old tales and sayings that he’s no doubt discovered in his research. A note from the author and the sources of his research was a nice touch to add.


Although this is a novel set in the past, there are very important messages for us today. Sardar has to cope with racism, prejudice and bullies during his time in Wales. It's great to see Sardar 's passion towards learning the language, as he records every new word in a little book! Many of the evacuees were immersed in the language during their time here and left speaking Welsh- brilliant!


The novel tells the story of one of the finest secrets of the Second World War. The story of how world-renowned pictures, gems and national treasures were shipped to and stored in a deep vault in Manod quarry. It seems that not many are aware of this fascinating history. I'd love to get there for a gander, but I think it’s probably off-limits! If you like this type of thing – google the hidden tunnels of Rhydymwyn.


Oops, I digress. Back to the story…


The second half of the novel turns into a bit of an adventure as Sardar and one of his new acquaintances take on something quite daring- mission Impossible-style to infiltrate the government’s secret hideout! Why? You'll have to read the novel to find out!

We see the war through a child's eyes, and how the Second World War cast its dark shadow even over North Wales. I feel that the author's political/national dispositions come over quite strongly in the novel, especially when talking about the British Empire and its treatment of other cultures. This is an important aspect of history, but one that is brushed under the carpet by Britain. (bit of an elephant in the room)


Maps, diagrams and notes all add to this fascinating novel and it will be a valuable resource for use as a class novel- or for anyone who enjoys history. The author's language is rich and the descriptions are almost poetic at times, such as "Dagrau’r Niwl." Like Sardar, I often jot down new words or phrases – I loved Myrddin’s description of the butcher's bulldog. (translated) “he ain’t no portrait for putting up on the piano!” I like that one! (works better in Welsh!)


The way the author discusses the local history of the quarries in Wales, the impact of the Second World War and the children's day-to-day life makes for a fascinating novel. Having said this, I have to disagree with the novel's target age. I think it’s far too challenging for Yrs.5&6 primary, other than perhaps the most able and mature readers. Last year, it featured on the Book Council of Wales’s ‘reading quiz’ list and I heard many of the children mention that it was too challenging. Better suited for older readers (maybe Yrs.7-9) as they’ll will be more likely to understand, enjoy and appreciate it fully.


I can also recommend this for older readers. Adults- don't be snobbish about reading children and young people's books! There are some crackers out there!


This book is available in English too. (Crown in the Quarry)

Gwasg/ publisher: Gwasg Carreg Gwalch

Rhyddhawyd/released: 2019

Pris: £6.99


https://carreg-gwalch.cymru/goron-yn-y-chwarel-y-2256-p.asp


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