We first visited the CAT in Snowdonia about 10 years ago.
This time we stayed at the Snowdon Ranger youth hostel, coincidentally in the same room we had 5 years ago for a birthday assault on Snowdon – it was just as grotty and with the pungent reminder of what long hikes do for old socks.
With Max studying alternative energy tech, we were looking forward to seeing how things had moved on over a decade.
But the tour guide explained that now green techs were mature and commercially available, the pioneering work of the CAT had changed to be more about commercialising them.
But the tour guide explained that now green techs were mature and widely available, the pioneering work of the CAT had evolved to be more about commercialising them. I don’t know, in that time there have been big developments with batteries, solar, construction, offshore wind, fuel cells and global warming. but then everything has a lifecycle. Without wishing to be cynical, it felt more like an attraction than a project. Is it now resting on its laurels, content to tick over, or has grant funding dried up, who knows?
That was confirmed by speaking with another chap who’d been there 30 years and who, after running the restaurant, now operated the iconic water powered funicular cable car. The founders had moved on long ago leaving the place to become a limited company as opposed to the cooperative it started as.
But we nevertheless had a good time.
One thought on “Return of the CAT (Centre for Alternative Technology)”
This reminded me of the Welsh poet Edward Thomas:
Heralded as the first ecological poet, he wrote “the parochialism of humanity” remains blind to “the business of the earth”. His poetry quietly spoke of the “diminution of man’s importance in the landscape”.
He wrote many of his poems within a two year period in the destruction of the First World War, as if he knew he had only a short time to say something. His influence on other poets such as Robert Graves and particularly Alun Lewis, was profound.
There is no one else – perhaps only Wordsworth – who writes about the subsuming of the consciousness to the natural world, whereby one becomes part of the natural environment in an otherworldly, almost mystical experience. He wrote as if, with the advent of cars and planes, our division from the landscape, our earthly womb, was cold and arrogant.
Thomas died in France, in a mine blast during the war.
Over the land freckled with snow half-thawed
The speculating rooks at their nests cawed
And saw from elm tops, delicate as flowers of grass,
What we below could not see, Winter pass