Pink Dog

Barmouth: beautiful countryside, expensive sandwiches

A few weeks ago I visited Barmouth, on the Mid-Wales coast. It’s typical of many seaside towns, which had a Victorian heyday and then fell into genteel decline when much of the shipping and tourism industries moved elsewhere. What’s left behind are some signs of the previous booms and, above all, the beautiful countryside that made the place so popular and made it the site of the first piece of land to be given to the National Trust back in 1895.

Barmouth certainly tries hard to keep the tourism going, and has some very successful festivals and events. The lack of traditional signs of prosperity brings some advantages. You will find very few chains in a town which instead is a mix of small, independent cheap cafes. (Well, the coffee is cheap. The sandwiches, surprisingly, were pricey even by London standards.) Yet it’s also a place that, out of season, clearly is not bubbling with economic success.

The remains of the ornamental gardens and tea room may now required Time Team to spot them, but the countryside on and beyond the Panorama Walk is still amazing. At the start of the day, the mobile phone mast looked a long way up. By the time I got to the local peak, looking out over the Mawddach Estuary, it looked rather a long way down:

Barmouth: view over Mawddach Estuary

Seeing all the amazing Welsh countryside both when in Barmouth and on the journey there and back, it did strike me how little it gets shared on social media relative to that from other countries.

Image sharing sites such as Imgur and Reddit of course have audiences heavily skewed to the US, so the dominance of photos from places such as Colorado is not a surprise. Yet other countries – Switzerland especially – pop up far more than Britain.

It’s almost as if we don’t have quite the same self-pride in the beauty of our countryside as residents of other countries have in theirs.

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