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Aber students recall Afghan kayaking adventure

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Aberystwyth alumni: Kayaking along the Panjshir river in Afghanistan (pic. Kristof Stursa)

TWO former students return to Aberystwyth today (Mar 8) to relive their kayaking adventures in a country better known as a war zone than a white water destination.

Alumni James Smith and Joe Rea-Dickins spent ten days paddling down the Panjshir river in northern Afghanistan with fellow kayakers Callum Scott and Kristof Stursa.

The group of four are now taking tales of their travels on tour around the UK and Ireland, with a special event in the Seddon Room of Aberystwyth University’s Old College at 7pm tonight.

James Smith, who studied Marketing & German in Aberystwyth from 2008-2012, said a return visit to the University was a must.

“I had an excellent time at Aber and have very many fond memories of my time here. One of the main reasons I chose the university was because it had one of the best canoe clubs in the UK. The course was smashing of course but the club became a big part of university life for me and it’s great to see it’s still going strong,” said James, who was President of the AU Canoe Club 2009-10.

“Our trip to Afghanistan came about as a result of another trip we made while still at university to Pakistan. It made us realise that you can still visit these places and have a good time. We had escorts with us the entire trip and didn’t feel in danger at any time. In fact, we were made to feel incredibly welcome. We’re now planning to set up a kayaking expedition business in India so my marketing degree will come in handy.”

On their journey down the length of the Panjshir river through the mountains of the Hindu Kush, the four friends also set up a kayaking workshop to teach interested locals.

They filmed their journey and are using the footage to illustrate the stories of their Afghan adventure to audiences across the UK and Ireland.

Louise Jagger, Director of Development & Alumni Relations at Aberystwyth University, said: “Aberystwyth students are known for their spirt of adventure. In the 1960s, for example, the Exploration Society travelled to Afghanistan, they crossed the Sahara Dessert and they drove through the Trucial States in the Middle East. It’s great to see that this tradition is alive and well today.

“As a University, we are always keen to hear about the different paths our students have followed since graduating so we’re very pleased that James and Joe are bringing their roadshow to Old College – the perfect seafront location for an event celebrating the achievements of past members of Aberystwyth’s Canoe Club.”

Tickets for the Aberystwyth event are available from any Aberystwyth University Canoe Club Committee members or online at www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/GGLLHG.

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Wizardry night a success at Aberystwyth Library

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The fourth Harry Potter Book Night was held at Aberystwyth Library on Friday, 07 February.

After dark, it was a time for fans to celebrate the iconic series of books with events all around the World.

Ceredigion Library Service held the event at Aberystwyth Town Library, which was decorated with all things Harry Potter.

Emyr Lloyd and Delyth Huws, both Assistant Librarians organised the night. They were very pleased with the success and turnout. Emyr Lloyd said, “We enjoy putting on the Harry Potter Book night. The fourth one was no different with 86 children attending the free event and very positive feedback. We hope events such as these spark a joy of reading in the young and old.”

Three Owls from New Quay Birds of Prey came by and Luke the close-up magician entertained the audience. The children were also entertained with a reading from one of the books and also a crafts and activities area.

Follow the events of the Ceredigion Library Service on Facebook @llyfrgellceredigionlibrary. The next event will be a sale of stock on 22 February between 10am and 4pm at the Bandstand in Aberystwyth.

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Noson hudolus yn Llyfrgell Aberystwyth

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Cynhaliwyd Noson Llyfrau Harry Potter yn Llyfrgell Aberystwyth ddydd Gwener, 07 Chwefror. Hon oedd y bedwaredd noson o’r fath.

Ar ôl iddi nosi, roedd hi’n amser i edmygwyr y llyfrau ddathlu’r gyfres eiconig gyda digwyddiadau ledled y byd.

Cynhaliodd Gwasanaeth Llyfrgell Ceredigion y digwyddiad yn Llyfrgell Tref Aberystwyth, ac addurnwyd y llyfrgell gyda phob math o bethau sy’n gysylltiedig â Harry Potter.

Trefnwyd y noson gan Emyr Lloyd a Delyth Huws, Llyfrgellwyr Cynorthwyol. Roeddent yn falch iawn â llwyddiant y noson a’r nifer oedd yn bresennol yn y digwyddiad. Dywedodd Emyr Lloyd, “Rydym yn mwynhau cynnal nosweithiau Llyfrau Harry Potter. Nid oedd y bedwaredd noson o’r fath yn eithriad; mynychodd 86 o blant y digwyddiad am ddim, a derbyniwyd adborth cadarnhaol iawn. Rydym yn gobeithio y bydd digwyddiadau fel y rhain yn swyno’r hen a’r ifanc i fwynhau darllen.”

Daeth tair tylluan o Adar Ysglyfaethus Cei Newydd i’r digwyddiad, a bu Luke yn diddanu’r gynulleidfa gyda’i hud a’i ledrith. Diddanwyd y plant hefyd gyda darlleniad o un o’r llyfrau ac ardal gweithgareddau a chrefftau.

Dilynwch ddigwyddiadau Gwasanaeth Llyfrgell Ceredigion ar Facebook @llyfrgellceredigionlibrary. Y digwyddiad nesaf yw arwerthiant stoc ar 22 Chwefror rhwng 10am a 4pm yn y Bandstand yn Aberystwyth.

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Warnings issued as Storm Ciara predicted to hit west Wales

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NATURAL RESOURCES WALES (NRW) is urging people living near the Welsh coast to be prepared for possible flooding this weekend as Storm Ciara reaches the UK.

Current forecasts indicate that strong winds could cause a tidal surge and large waves hitting the coast.

Combined with heavy rainfall which is likely to see rivers rise quickly, NRW expects to issue flood alerts and possibly warnings across the country from Saturday afternoon through to Monday.

With the worst of the conditions expected on Sunday, NRW advises people to keep a safe distance from coastal paths, promenades, piers, and from river banks.

Emergency response workers from NRW are already making preparations ahead of the storm, checking defences are in good working order and making sure any drainage grids and screens are clear, to reduce the risk to people and their homes.

Richard Preece, from Natural Resources Wales said: “Our teams are keeping a close eye on forecasts and predicted river and sea levels this weekend, and if necessary, will issue flood warnings to registered properties in those areas at risk.

“We have already been speaking with our partners from the emergency services and the local authorities so they can put their plans into action.

“We are also warning people to avoid visiting the sea front due to the risk of being swept away by large waves or hit by wave and wind-blown debris.

“Flood water can also be extremely dangerous, and people should not attempt to walk or drive through it unless instructed by the emergency services.”

Network Rail and Transport for Wales have issued joint information ahead of Storm Ciara, which is expected to bring strong winds and heavy rain to the Wales and Borders route this weekend.

The Met Office has issued a yellow wind warning for the whole of the UK and two yellow rain warnings on Sunday.

Transport for Wales Operations Director Martyn Brennan and Amanda Newton, Senior Incident Officer at Network Rail said: “With Storm Ciara set to bring gale force winds of up to 90mph on Sunday, Transport for Wales and Network Rail wish to urge all customers to check their journeys prior to travel.

“We’re expecting very stormy conditions, high tides and winds that have the potential to uproot trees and damage infrastructure.

“The safety of our customers and colleagues is our absolute priority and as such there are likely to be a number of speed restrictions in place around our network, while some other lines may be forced to close entirely. We are working closely together to minimise any disruption and will do all we can to keep our customers moving and informed.”

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