Congratulations on the book – it’s a triumph!  I am well into it (despite having other, much more urgent things to do!) and already recognise that I will treasure it as a  record of so many happy memories, for so many people, over so many years, at such a wonderful place.Stuart Holtam

Once again, congratulations on the lovely Marians on the Mawddach.

It doesn’t simply capture the essence of Farchynys – ‘present, past and future in one mighty whole’ , it totally gets to the spirit, warmth, and downright fun of our treasure in Wales.

Thank you also for including some of my jumble of memories and turning them into something eye catching and readable. It is an honour to be included in your labour of love. Gordon Brudenell

Thank you so much for the book and the lovely comments and badge! I flicked through the book illicitly in a conference with my client and it looks wonderful and beautifully put together. David Etherington

Thank you for your beautifully produced book on Farchynys we have been reading it with great pleasure and it has bought back many memories.

PS I remember sewing all the curtains. Elsbeth Howard

What a lovely book! Thank you for all the hard work, love and imagination that went into ‘M on the M’ The style of the publication is brilliant, it has triggered many happy memories of people, places and happenings.

A beautifully crafted set of reminiscences of happy times on the Mawddach. The varied format enables tales of people & places to be told (& memories jogged) without it becoming ‘stodgy’. Evidently a labour of love, it will appeal to Marians young and old who have fond recollections of time spent in Southern Snowdonia. David Rowley

Marians on the Mawddach arrived safely today – and it’s a damn good read.

For me, absent from QMGS since 2004, it has has provided already a flood of memories.

Philip Blackshaw


The Book is brilliant! It popped through my letter box a couple of weeks or so ago and by the evening I’d read the lot. I love the way you can just open at any page and get a real insight into the place from a different perspective. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you! Bev Wragg

Many treasured memories and contributions form lots of people I know – a must have!

Steven Parsons

I can’t put the book down ! Neil Boynton

I’ve just acquired a copy of the book. Congratulations! It’s really well produced. Tim Lawrence


The book will make an excellent Father’s Day present, which is when I’ve let it be known I expect mine. Les Barnfield

I thought it was a stunning piece of work and what was particularly effective was the layout of the reflective content –some of my favourite books are made this way – and I really enjoy dipping in and out – it reminded me in some ways of On and Off the Rocks by Jim Perrin – I thought it was as much a piece of art as anything else and your passion and gratitude for the centre and its work really shines through.

David Skedgwell – who worked and taught in mid Wales and was with OB Aberdovey for a few years has the book now and is fascinated.

I was particularly grateful to receive the book as it gave me personally a real fillip at the end of a long season. Sean Hewlett

As you know we passed  Marians on the Mawddach on to my parents when we were there – we all really enjoyed looking at and reading it.

What a lovely format with fun, creative touches! There is so much detail and even the school colours of the wrapping and gift tag were admired! Yta Kitchin


Just a short note to congratulate you on a lovely and affectionate publication.  I’ve enjoyed reading it immensely and I am sure many other OMs have or will do so too. Beautifully written, stylishly produced and effectively marketed. A tribute to all we stand for! Tim tells me you’ve got us into Daunts: no mean feat!  I hope I can make the launch but it is shortly after we return from France. Any way, congratulations, thank you and good luck. Philip Sturrock

There was in every hollow

A hundred wrymouthed wisps.

—Dafydd ap Gwilym (trans. Wirt Sikes), 1340.

And so it was through the centuries and is now at Farchynys on the Mawddach Estuary, Gwynedd Wales. Childhood can be chocked full of so many interesting and harrowing experiences.  Going away from home for the first time can certainly be one of these.  If you are very lucky your first solo time abroad was a to a place mystical in Nature, nurturing in ambience with just enough danger and freedom to be magical.  Queen Mary’s Farchynys enclave was and is one of these places.

If you where fortunate enough to visit there as a child I am envious and if you did not, here is your chance to go there, in the privacy of your own home. The humorous arrivals and departures, strange food with jocular names, natures glory and it’s inevitable engagement with humans, their comfort in the out of doors and their general experience of life will enchant you while you turn the pages of ‘Marians on the Mawddach.’ Artfully edited and designed this slim book is a pleasure to read and peruse.

Who would not want to be there for –

The Mawddach, how she trips! Though throttled

    If floodtide teeming thrills her full, 

    And mazy sands all water-wattled 

Waylay her at ebb, past Penmaen Pool.

Penmaen Pool.

– Gerard Manley-Hopkins

You might not be able to go home again but you can put something in your pocket or on your shelf that will help you on another path. A path worth trodding, a good read with wonder and interest on the way. Something to carry on your way.

If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older.”

Tom Stoppard

 Robin Glover


With a forthcoming holiday in the Harlech and Barmouth area looming near, the publication of Marians on the Mawddach came at an opportune time for me. The musings and accounts of life at St Mary’s school centre is an enjoyable contrast to the tourism leaflets I have obtained for our Welsh trip. Marians on the Mawddach has, with its snippets of memories and tales of the resident’s adventures, given me an alternative and more personal view of life in this picturesque part of the country.

It is a beautifully presented book, full of amusing and happy anecdotes of the times spent at Farchynys, interspersed with local information, including a reminder that I shall need to pack wet weather clothing!

I hope I feel the magic that both pupils and teachers have experienced visiting this area so that I too will want to return time and again.

Dandy Moon


I am not a Marian and I have never been to Farchynys. Most of my school years were spent forty miles down the coast in Aberystwyth and University was Abertawe. I was never in the CCF but I was in the Scouts. And yet Farchynys on the Mawddach seems somehow as real, as quintessentially Welsh, as romantic as anything I experienced in my teenage years.

The Editor, Paul Walton, one of the early Marians on the Mawddach, does a wonderful job of paying tribute to a time and place only 541 million years in the making. And if you’ve climbed Cadair Idris and looked across the Mawddach to Snowdon you know that those were years well spent. The place is certainly the star of Walton’s little masterpiece but it’s the colourful array of characters, locals and Marians, that brings the book to life and gives it its warmth and charm. It’s the characters that will have you wanting to run [or cycle] the half marathon, eat fish and chips in Barmouth or, perhaps, visit the resting place of “Mai the Milk”.

But watch out, like me, you may begin to wonder what sort of activities will be on offer to mark the 150th anniversary of the opening of Barmouth Bridge to rail traffic on October 10th. – any excuse to make the trip!

PJ Crotty

Bryn Mawr, PA