Richard and Hester Smith have both lived in the area for over 23 years, having met at the Dolaucothi Gold Mines in 1995. Richard worked at the Llywernog Silver Lead mine Museum for 16 years, and Hester works at the Devils Bridge Waterfalls.
The idea of Cambrian Safaris came about because we both like to share the secrets and hidden delights of a little known part of Wales with visitors to the area.
We discovered that many people are passing through without understanding what the area has to offer and some of those who we have spoken to were delighted to be given a few hints and pointers.
In my 16 years as tour guide at Llywernog, it was the reactions of visitors, to what they are being told, which makes me want to tell people more about Central Wales. An area rich in not just spectacular landscapes, but also the stories which go with it.
A bit more about us. (Richard writes)
I was brought up in the south east of England, but my association with Wales started with the majority of childhood holidays being taken in Cardiganshire (as we knew it then).
I am married to Hester, a Dutch lady I met at a the Dolaucothi Gold Mine where I had been working as a volunteer for a short time in 1992 and 93, then as a tour guide for the season in 1995. We have 2 children, Dylan, 18, a chef at Y Talbot Tregaron and Bethan, 16, who loves Riding and is at the Rheidol Riding Centre as often as possible. We live on the edge of a small village about 10 miles from Aberystwyth, a little way up in the hills, and have a few chickens and 2 Dogs, (flatcoated retrievers). There are some great views to Cardigan bay from just up the road.
Places have always been important to me, perhaps partly because of the experiences I have had in those places. A theme I like to expand upon is how the place where you live – the landscape in particular- influenced people and their fortunes in the past.
In my 'youth' I spent the best part of a couple of years in the Lake District, working with the National Trust, often climbing mountanis daily to repair footpaths... I've started writing about that somewhere... For the greater part of the last 20 years I worked at the Llywernog Silver Lead Mine, conducting guided tours through the mine and telling people what it was like living in the 'wild west' of Wales for the people who came here to work in the mines and how the Geology and Geography of an area influences peoples led their lives in the past.
Mid Wales has been my home for about 25 years now, including my time as a student in Aberystwyth. To me one of the things that is most special about the area is the variety in the Landscape, how rapidly the character of the landscape can change as you cross a hill or round a corner. There is little I like more than sharing this lovely country with others.