Beacons Project 2021 - Hay-on-Wye by Lleucu Haf

Lleucu Haf took part in the Beacons Project at Hay Festival Winter Weekend 2021. The Beacons Project aims to encourage creativity and forge a sense of creative identity amongst young people in Wales. It offers a unique opportunity for twenty Welsh students aged 16-18 to meet and work with exceptional writers, broadcasters and journalists in a highly creative and stimulating environment during Hay Festival.


It feels as though I have found peace for the first time in a long time. I am washed clean with awareness of no overthinking or stress. Thoughts are now so far away that they could be leaves, like those falling casually from the willow into the stream below. But unlike the tree casting aside its foliage, my inner imaginings whirl so fast that I don’t get a chance to grasp or think about them. These are irrelevant yet potent thoughts that cloud my mind. I can’t believe that it took so long for me to realise that. But by being here, in nature, in amongst the crunching leaves beneath my feet, whirling around in the wind, I find that I can feel resolution.

The frost crawls up my shaking spine to catch my breath when I reach the top of this tiny hill. We breathe like dragons pacing our way through the green-white lands. Really, why do I forget to do this more often. Amongst these strangers that know me so well, my eyes are opened by choice, not influence. It feels as though I could get lost in these fields despite this open feeling, in a way I never would in the woods.  I see hills rolling over and atop each other.  I want the sun to blind my eyes, just to clear my vision again. Although I have never lived in the countryside, here I connect and bind to my heritage, to those now lost to me.  A strange familiarity of being amongst wellied people on rural farms, the old ones, with not too much land, still using rakes and horses. Roosters sound out all around me, a confusion of time in a sinking afternoon sun. But here, on top of this frosty plain, the silence is clear. The cool winds are not chilling anymore, but calm, brushing the frosted tips of the grass into tiny puffs of steamy clouds. The hilltops lead to new landscapes, but never the sea, despite how we are almost touching the clouds. However, I can imagine an endless ocean here. I peer at the dents and ripples of the landscape, as tumbling waves. Eternity. The sea mirrored in the sky.

Thanks to Welsh Government for funding the Beacons Project and to Bad Wolf and Screen Alliance Wales for their partnership in creating Jack Thorne's workshop. And finally, thanks to Booths Bookshop for allowing us to film Owen Sheers on location.