22 July 2016

Five things you need to know about ‘Epic’

The spirit of adventure

To support the Year of Adventure 2016 we launched a pop-up art installation in six of Wales’ most EPIC locations. Last summer, giant mirrored letters spelling the word ‘EPIC’ were placed in some of Wales' most breath-taking spots for one week at a time, mirroring the beauty all around it. We think the scenery in Wales and the many opportunities for adventure here are something to really shout about. We wanted others to share their own adventures with us.


EPIC sign under construction
EPIC sign under construction

Why Epic?
Why not ‘lush’ or even ‘awesome’?

In many parts of Wales, the word epic is used conversationally as well as in other cultures to describe an amazing view, achievement or experience. We chose the word because it defines what we think is at the heart of adventure. We wanted to capture the feeling of stepping in to the unknown, trying something new, the surge of emotion and the sheer joy of making memories. The University of Wales Dictionary of the Welsh Language alludes to the historical and heroic uses of the word ‘epic’ as well as ‘epig’. For the campaign, we teamed up with a number of adventure ambassadors who are heroes of adventure in their own field. Adventures come in all shapes and sizes - we wanted to people to find theirs. 


EPIC sign under construction
EPIC sign under construction

Lovely locations

The first location was revealed as Pen y Gwryd, Nant Gwynant in Snowdonia. This spot has vast valleys, sparkling lakes and beautiful walking and hiking opportunities all around. North Wales is an adventure playground – for the bold and also for the uninitiated. Tryweryn’s river rapids, zooming zip lines and bouncing on mighty cargo nets in underground caverns. All here waiting for you to jump right in.

When selecting the locations, we made sure that all locations as well as National Parks, National Trust, Natural Resources Wales, Cadw and local authorities were happy for us to leave our sign there for only a week and that there was no lasting negative effect on the environment. We also of course had to choose safe spots which were not too difficult for visitors to actually find! We encouraged people to walk up and touch, even sit on the sign…but of course no rigging up a trapeze from it or scaling it like Bear Grylls. We wanted people to save their energy for the hills and lakes, instead!


EPIC sign under construction
EPIC sign under construction

Building the vision

Our friends in ‘Wild Creations’ built the letters, which are 4 meters high and 11 meters wide. You may remember some other creations from the team: Caerphilly Castle’s smoking dragon, the fantastic ‘Ball in the wall’ at Cardiff Castle during the Rugby World Cup (so popular they had to extend the installation run) and most recently they created a Marshmallow Man installation in Waterloo Station in London to coincide with the new Ghostbusters film premiere. So they know a thing or two about EPIC and we’re happy to have them on board with the campaign.

EPIC sign under construction
EPIC sign under construction

Following the Epic adventure 

When each installation was taken down, we packed up our suitcase and headed to another mystery location. Thousands of people from all over Wales, the UK and visiting tourists from dozens of countries came to see the epic sign over the summer. Thanks to all who came to see the sign and take some fantastic selfies, too.  We saw everything from jumping action shots to poses with bikes, skates, horses, dogs, newly wed couples and entire families. What an adventure! We can't wait to see what 2017 brings...

EPIC sign under construction

EPIC sign under construction