Dolgoch and Abergynolwyn

Dolgoch Falls, between Tywyn and Abergynolwyn, Gwynedd

Maybe it’s because I’m one-eighth Welsh, but I have a great fondness for Wales. Maybe it’s the seaside holidays I had there as a child. Maybe it’s the simple life and rugged countryside. Maybe it’s warm friendly civilised local people I meet, every time I visit. Maybe it’s the vibe you get from the hippies’ adopted UK province. I have no idea.

On my last day in Wales, I visited Dolgoch and Abergynolwyn in Gwynedd. On the surface, it’s an odd place. It seems to be stuck in the past. There seems to be no interest in keeping up with the Smiths, next door in England. But appearances are deceptive. The locals have most of the trappings of 21st century Britain—they’re just not obsessed with them. They celebrate their heritage and traditions, and they’re very happy with it.

After a trip to Dolgoch Falls, a lovely but unremarkable waterfall near Tywyn, we ventured to nearby Abergynolwyn. We had been enticed by the Abergynolwyn Show, which (we assumed) promised fun for all the family. When we arrived, we paid the token entry fee and were greeted by what appeared to be Craggy Island’s Funland. We’d got there late, but we still managed to catch the Dog Jumping, the Male Voice Choir and the stalls.

Welsh Male Voice Choir at Abergynolwyn Summer Fair

But the highlight for us had to be the Competition Marquee. We’d missed most of the action, but we still caught the judges awarding merits to such categories as Best Photograph of a Tree, Best Carrots, and Best Decorated Walking Stick.

I love Wales, and not in an ironic way.

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