Booking: Tresaith Bootcamp June 2015

Booking is open for the June bootcamp, which runs from 4pm Saturday 20th June to 10am Saturday 27th.

Cost is £260. We are not certain of running until there are 6 people signed up (to cover our costs), but we shall keep a close eye, and keep you updated on how many places there are left.

Here is the link for booking:

There are still 4 places left on this bootcamp (so we’re definitely running!)

Please remember the following bootcamp conditions:

  1. Bootcamp payments are, generally speaking, not refundable. Your money will, of course be refunded in full if we cancel the bootcamp, but if you pull out, we reserve the right not to return anything. This is especially true if you pull out close to the date, making it difficult to fill your place. Please make sure that you are definitely wanting to come on bootcamp, and please take out holiday insurance (yes, this is a holiday!) to cover your costs in the event of a change of circumstance.

  2. No language except Welsh is allowed during bootcamp. There is a time for orientation at the start and an introduction in English, so that we all start on the same page, but after that you will not speak English (or any language other than Welsh) until the following Saturday.

  3. Bootcamp is for people who have completed the material in course 1, including the vocab lessons. If you are a non-SSiWer, then please do lesson 25 (south) or 26 (north), and vocab unit 10, and if you can’t keep up, then fly through the course to give yourself a chance at bootcamp.

  4. Bootcamp is one of the most frightening, rewarding, tiring, exhilirating experiences you will ever take part in. If you
    throw yourself in, you will end the week as a Welsh speaker. If you are half hearted, you will probably not enjoy the experience, and you certainly won’t get the most out of it. Please be committed!!!

  5. That’s all sounded a bit serious… Bootcamp is a holiday in one of the most beautiful parts of Wales (and thus, the world). You will spend a week with lovely people, visiting lovely places, and doing interesting things. You will have fun, and go home with beautiful memories that will last you a life time, and firm friendships that will take your Welsh to a new level. Come on holiday, and go home a Welsh speaker - how’s that for a bargain!!!

Let us know below when you book, and if you have any questions.

That link again:

Hi Iestyn.

I booked for the June bootcamp a couple of weeks ago, but only just saw your request to get in touch.

I’ve been learning Welsh since August last year and have been making progrees with SSIW online. I’m on lesson 10 in the introductory course and enjoying it. My dad was born in Cwmaman near Aberdar, and spoke a little Welsh until the family emigrated to the US when he was 3.

I live in Warwick and have been to a couple of SSIW meet-ups in Dorridge and Solihull so far.

I’m looking forward to the holiday, but a little nervous as I suffer from mild to moderate chronic fatigue. I’ll have to be careful not to overdo the Welsh press-ups that I imagine bootcamp could involve! Tresaith looks idyllic.

I’ll get on to the forum and make contact with others who are going in June.

Pob hwyl,

David Cumner

Hi, David! I don’t know if you realise but you must have completed Course 1 and Vocabs before Bootcamp as the whole week is held in Welsh only?

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Hi David - I’d like to echo Kim on this - it’s really important that you meet the targets for attending Bootcamp, or you will not find it a valuable or enjoyable experience.

If you’re absolutely certain that you will have completed Course 1 AND the ten vocab sessions by June, then that’s okay - but that would be a remarkably fast rate of progress, and I think it might well be better for you to think in terms of doing Bootcamp next year.

It would be very helpful if you could let Iestyn know once you’ve read these responses, and decided what the best way forward is for you - either by email, or by posting here :sunny:

Thank you for the advice, Dinas and Aran.

I was reckoning that I do 2 lessons a week most weeks. Given that I have 16 lessons to do in about 13 weeks to finish the introductory course by 20 June, that seemed like an achievable rate of progress.

But I hadn’t factored in the vocab sessions for some reason.

I must admit I’m feeling rather deflated at the prospect of not going!

Would you say finishing the introductory course is really a bare minimum, when in fact it’s better to have gone at least a little way beyond it?

I’d a appreciate any thoughts from others, too.


I’d say go for it.

If you can do 2 lessons per week that’s 8 weeks.
Then 2 vocabs per week for 5 weeks.
You’ll make it.

No need to over-pressure yourself though. Just go with the flow.

Then start to reflate! :slight_smile:

Over a few Bootcamps I’ve seen a few people struggle and several leave during the week. My impression was that they hadn’t really prepared by following the advice of effectively covering the lessons and vocabs. Sadly, I’ve never noted those people on the Forum since and thus, they may of dropped away through frustration, thinking they didn’t have the language “gene”.
I was on an early camp when there wasn’t stress on the above and to be honest I think, Aran and Iestyn must have realised this was a problem in the initial camps. With the present advice though, I think it’s fair to say, Iestyns point rings true: “Bootcamp is one of the most frightening, rewarding, tiring, exhilirating experiences you will ever take part in.”

Thanks, Mike and Dinas (Kim?).

I really don’t know what to think or do now!

I believe you’ve run Bootcamps yourself, Aran - is that right? - so, of course, I take your advice seriously.

Have you seen this conversation, Iestyn? As you’re the organiser, I should be asking you for your guidance. Would cancelling my place for this year be allowable?

Hi, David! I’m sure Aran and Iestyn will get back soon to give good advice. Have you noticed there’s a September camp which could maybe give you more time to absorb the lessons?
I’ve seen your enthusiasm to learn Welsh and I can say if you enter on one prepared it’ll be a blast - perhaps life changing…That isn’t an exaggeration.

Hi @david_cumner - sorry I’ve been so long getting to this discussion!

As Kim says, there have been a number of attendees who haven’t completed the Course 1 + vocab units minimum, and they invariably struggle with the week because of the intensity and the un-ending nature of a week where you can’t contribute what you want to. What controls the outcome of the week for the person in question is their reaction to that. It can be dispiritng and confidence sapping to go for a week long holiday where everyone is “better” than you at what is obviously an important skill for you, and worse if you feel that you are “holding people back”. On the other hand, it can give your Welsh a huge boost if you react positively and use every bit of Welsh that you have to take a full part in the week.

The thing is, many (ok, most) people who have completed more than the minimum have patches during the week when they feel that they are the weakest Welsh speaker, that they are holding the others back, that they’ve come on bootcamp “too early” etc, so attending without what we consider the basics is setting yourself up for a fail.

I can see a number of options. One is that you accept now that you won’t be ready, we can move your attendance to September’s bootcamp to give you a bit more time, and that is happy days. If that’s possible, I think that would be the best, or rather safest, option.

A halfway option to that is that you keep on doing the lessons, the daily practices, the listening sessions, and as much as you possibly can, and see where you are in a few weeks time. The June bootcamp is sold out, but there is no-one on the waiting list at the moment, so you’re not taking the place of someone who would get more out of it. There’s a number of ways that you could speed up your learning to get beyond course 1 + vocabs - ask us to help you there!

A warning about this option, though, is this: I’ve had a number of people who have “crammed” the last few lessons of course 1, and listened to the vocabs during the week before the course… It doesn’t work! You need to have done them properly.

The last option is that you rely on blag and bluster, turn up to bootcamp anyway, get pulled along by others, get loads out of it yourself and promise not to let it depress you. Balance that with the possibility that if you do get fed up of the struggle, or downhearted by constantly being behind everyone else, then you’ll have wasted your money, and could potentially spread some of your unhappiness amongst other bootcampers.

I’m quite happy to discuss this by email ( if you’d like, and I’m happy to trust you to make the right decision. I’d certainly reccommend that you wait a few days before deciding, and maybe try an intensive session (a few lessons together in a row) to see how you react to that. Again, ask us for tips before you do that, but you may surprise yourself as to how fast it’s possible to learn like that.

And then we can discuss moving your booking, or cancelling etc (official cancelation policy is that we give a refund if your place is filled. I can’t see a problem with filling your place if you decide to take that option, and with a full bootcamp, I’m open to discussions on that anyway!).as appropriate.

I hope that helps!


That’s great, Iestyn, thank you!

At the moment I feel inclined to see if I can keep up a good pace and get myself up to speed for June. I will take a few days to mull it over, as you suggest. I am keen to “get on with it”, while not wanting to get seriously out of my depth. There’s a bit of me that thinks it wouldn’t be all bad to be the person with the poorest Welsh as I would be absorbing the language by hearing it all around me even when I couldn’t find the words to speak. Or am I being naive?

The September holiday clashes with my sister’s 50th birthday, so it wouldn’t be possible for me, sadly. But thanks for suggesting it as I didn’t even know there was one in September!

I would love to hear your suggestions for speeding up my learning, please.

Diolch yn fawr!

I’ve got a series of articles starting to look in detail at this up on the blog:

My gut impression so far is that you sound as though you think you could deal with the challenge of being slightly off the pace - if you’re the kind of person who can throw himself into really difficult challenges with a smile, and laugh off the mistakes and frustrations, then I’d certainly back you to do it. Kim spent most of his first Bootcamp just smiling and nodding (so convincingly, as it happens, that it wasn’t until afterwards I discovered that ‘peint o gwrw’ was a pretty significant percentage of his working Welsh…;-)).

But if you do decide to give it a lash, I’d strongly recommend that you challenge yourself with the high intensity approach, go as far as you can as fast as you can with as little repetition as possible (ideally, none at all until you’re a fair way into Course 2) - because that kind of shotgun approach will give you the best chance of figuring out extra ways to communicate once you’re in Tresaith :sunny:

Thank you very much, Aran. I’m feeling inspired by your ideas on accelerated learning. I’ll let you know how I get on!

It will be challenging as I am afflicted with habitual perfectionism. Also, I tend to assess myself as cognitively slower than average - my chronic fatigue slows me down and doesn’t help my short-term memory - but I reckon I can find a way to use your suggestions in my own way to boost my rate of progress. I’ll try leaving the pause button alone and not repeating lessons to start with.

Dymuniadau gorau,

Hi David

I’m trying a similar thing with the Spanish lessons - no pausing and no repeating at all. The aim is to do one lesson a day. I notice that I finish a lesson feeling unable to remember much of what was just introduced, but the next lesson I remember far more than I thought.

Are you doing the new course 1?


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I’ll look forward to hearing how it goes for you, David - with the perfectionism, if you can try to focus it on the process you can turn it into a strength…

By which I mean - instead of letting your perfectionism tell you that making a mistake is a problem and means you have to repeat a session, let your perfectionism focus on the process I’m telling you to go through - making lots of mistakes, not repeating sessions, living without the pause button. If you get the process perfect, you’ll be galloping… :sunny:

I’m doing the old Course 1, James. I didn’t twig there was a new course 1 until recently. Have you been doing the new versh?

Thanks for the advice about re-focusing my perfectionism, Aran. I’ll give it a go!


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I did the old course. I followed the technique of doing each lesson a few times till I was comfortable/bored with it and then moving on. I’d guess my progress was a couple of lessons a week (I have a vague recollection that it took me three months to get through course 1, which would be about right at that pace).

I’ve also done the new course 1, and started working through the new course 1 for Spanish - the two follow a similar pattern in how they are put together. My feeling is that the new courses lend themselves better to the technique of working through the lessons as quickly as possible i.e. /not/ trying to become polished at a lesson before moving on. I don’t feel worried about not picking stuff up this time around because they drop in revision in subsequent lessons. (Mind you, it was a while ago that I did oldCourse1, they may well have done this in that course too).

The new listening practices are great for that too - with Spanish there’s stuff I have no clue on, but I’ve been hearing it when using the listening practices and this has helped it stick.


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The old course 1 lessons do include revision of previous lessons. I’m trying to wean myself off the pause button. I only pause with the longer sentences. I’m using Aran’s idea of starting to speak before Iestyn has finished; that works well. I’m getting to the point where I can do half a lesson most days, and I plan to throw in an intensive-ish stint when I can (2 or 3 lessons?).

How do you find learning 2 rather different languages in parallel, James?! I can’t imagine doing that.

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S’mae paub! Anyone else of the June bootcampers up for making music during our week? Mini-band, or singers? Getting excited about meeting you all. Nan

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I’m not actively learning both at the same time. With Cymraeg I’ve finished the courses and I’m talking to people regularly. I still have a lot of Cymraeg to learn, but what I’ll probably do is halt Spanish (aside from listening practices) for a few weeks, do some of the new Cymraeg course lessons that I haven’t done, then switch back to Spanish for a while.

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