Caernarvonshire: Je suis desole

‘One of Britain’s quietest corners, Caernarvonshire is a geographical patchwork of desolate mountain-tops, desolate coastlines and desolate town centres. What it lacks in populace, attractions, entertainment, sunshine, bon viveur, excitement, employment prospects, infrastructure and famous names, it more than makes up for in consonants.’

Although Caernarvonshire as a recognised county was broken up some years ago, the area remains bound together by language, a word used by the locals to describe the hacks and splutters visitors encounter. With nearly half of the region’s permanent residents both Welsh speaking and elderly, the county boasts some of the world’s largest road signs.

Even by the fiery principality’s standards, the people of this undisturbed area are robustly independent. In 2008, local elections returned a number of candidates for the Llais Gwynedd party, a local pressure group who took issue with Plaid Cymru for failing to protect local amenities, neglecting the beautiful Snowdonian National Park, and being insufficiently Welsh.

Fearing that the culture and community traditions may be diluted by newcomers, local authorities have cracked down on second home ownership in the area. Although the regulatory limitations have largely worked well, many locals yearn for the simpler days when pitchforks, petrol and kindling were sufficient.


  • LANGUAGE – Welsh (bellowed), English (muttered)
  • HAZARDS – Flooding, rugby scrums
  • SUFFRAGE – All adults over the age of 18 are permitted to vote Labour
  • ECONOMY – Rust-based
  • CLIMATE – Vale of tears
  • TRADITIONAL DRESS – Cagoule, windcheater, souíwesters, wellies, sackcloth, ashes
  • HEALTH RISKS – Attempting to say home town name in one breath


13th Century – The Kingdom of Gwynedd, extant since Roman times, is ransacked by the English following violent protestations after the award of a last-minute penalty try.

1411 – Having stolen livestock and womenfolk from the region, cruel English overlords rubs salt in to the region’s wounds by imposing a heavy tax on vowels.

15th Century – Caernarvonshire residents decide to conquer Anglesey, for lack of anything better to do.

1853 – Discovery of slate in the local hills invigorates the local employment market by creating the county’s first job.

1901 – The disappointing seaside holiday is introduced to Rhyl.

1947Caravan parks in Caernarvonshire receive a huge boost as nostalgic post-war families look to recreate the tinny discomfort of home-made air raid shelters.

1963 – After a tightly fought general election campaign in Colwyn Bay, the Labour Party wins first, second, third and sixth places, with the Conservative candidate beaten in to a distant twelfth, losing his deposit, shirt and pants.

1987 – After 34 years of hard work, Bangor resident Wyn Jones completes the first Welsh crossword. Comprising of twenty-eight clues, the finished crossword is the size of a picnic rug.

Did You Know?

The Quay House in Conwy lays claim to the title of UK’s smallest house. Measuring only 1.8m wide, the house is currently occupied by a surprising and amusingly large troop of clowns.

Despite being one of Britain’s smallest recognised cities, Bangor boasts Wales’ longest high street at almost fifty metres. Famous for possessing a wealth of charity shops, over 65% of the clothes sold in Bangor have already been worn by at least three other residents of the town.

Home to Mount Snowdon, Wales’ tallest mountain, Snowdonia became a national park in 1951. Visually stunning and with relatively gentle walking conditions, many people conquer Snowdon every year, some of them accidentally whilst looking for the visitor centre toilet.

Caernarvonshire’s coat of arms has been designed specifically to cram in as much Wales as possible.

Rhos-on-Sea is home to Britain’s first public puppet theatre, built in 1958. After over fifty years of displaying charming tales of domestic violence and animal cruelty, the puppeteer’s skills continue to unnerve and distress children who would otherwise be happily slaying prostitutes on Grand Theft Auto.


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