Llangollon, Wales - May 1985

Vicky Blitz

My husband, Bob, and I were on a two week bus tour through England, Scotland and Wales. But we were in Wales very briefly. We stopped for lunch in the lovely little town of Llangollon and I tried their rum baba, served by a very pleasant young woman.

Our tour guide, Tristan, had done a lot of hiking and camping in England, where one can freely cross the farmers lands without any fear. It is the custom in England, that, most land is "open" to the public, as long as they don't leave trash behind. However, he warned us that hiking and camping in Wales was a little risky, if one goes far back in the hills. He said, that, as in parts of Appalachia in the U.S., some people have been back in the Welsh hills for such a long time, isolated from the rest of the world, there has been inbreeding and the gene pool has gone down in intelligence. Couple that, with the distrust of strangers (the mountain people have), for one's own safety, it is wise to avoid the Welsh mountains, when hiking and camping in Wales.

                                                                                                            June 4, 2002

To: Joyce Burlas
Hello, I have just read the brief article on a trip to Wales by Vicki Blitz (1985).I have to say that I am horrified that it has received an uncritical posting on the WWW. Her waryness of "off the beaten track" travel in Wales is completely incorrect. Indeed, it is not her experience which she relates, but the warning from her guide. My assumption is that the guide was "taking the Mick" (i.e. teasing her). Now, whilst no one can ever say that people one might meet can ever be guarenteed 100% safe anywhere in the World, nevertheless, I think Wales is about as safe as it is possible to be. The interbreeding quip sounds very much like an English racial jibe at the Welsh, made for the guide's own amusement.
I do not believe in censorship, therefore I would not even request you to remove the article from your site. However, I promise you that its suggestions are completely inaccurate and do, indeed, constitute a racial (and absolutly unjustified) slur on the Welsh. What I would ask you to do is either to ask the author to re-consider her submission in the light of my comments - by all means put us in-touch - and/or print my first paragraph (above) on the same page.
Thank you for reading this and I hope that you feel able to reply to me.
Best wishes, [name withheld pending permission to use], Winchester, UK. (Winchester is in England, by the way).