Row erupts between rock climbers and Welsh locals over 'silly and offensive' name calling

North Wales countryside

Row erupts between rock climbers and Welsh locals over 'silly and offensive' name calling

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Jack Walters

By Jack Walters


Published: 24/06/2024

- 18:19

English names include Dali’s Hole, Never Never Land, Tunnel of Love, Rainbow Walls

A row has erupted between rock clmbers and local residents in the Welsh countryside over “silly and offensive” names.

Language campaigners criticised mountaineers for replacing old Welsh quarry place names with English versions.


Residents claimed it had degraded two centuries of local culture.

English names, including Dali’s Hole, Never Never Land, Tunnel of Love, and Rainbow Walls were dubbed “silly and offensive”.

North Wales countryside

Row erupts between rock climbers and Welsh locals over 'silly and offensive' name calling

GETTY

Gwynedd Council and Unesco have been urged to reinstate historic names for the climbing galleries and deep holes.

Eilian Williams, whose quarryman father worked at he world’s second largest slate mine Chwarel Dinorwig, said: “This quarry is the place of our ancestors with more than two centuries of Welsh history.”

He added: “Many are offensive and immoral, some have sexual connotations.

“They’re insulting and show a lack of respect to the families of the people who worked there.”

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A view of slate works/slate mine that forms part of Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales

A view of slate works/slate mine that forms part of Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales

PA

Tom Carrick, BMC access and conservation officer for Wales, also said: “Having grown up with the Welsh language and living in Gwynedd for most of my life it saddens me to see the conflict between my native language and my sport, passion and career.

“They’re all interlinked – there is space for both in my eyes. It’s important to remember our history – but also that climbing has brought a whole new industry into the area.”

A Facebook group set up to remember the region’s quarries described the names as disrespectful.

The group, named Eyri Wen, wants to promote Welsh names in climbing guidelines.

A view of slate works/slate mine that forms part of Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales which has now been formally presented to UNESCO

A view of slate works/slate mine that forms part of Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales which has now been formally presented to UNESCO

PA

Issues concerning the Welsh language emerged on Sunday as the North Wales Quarrymen’s Union celebrated its 150th anniversary.

The group hopes to seek recognition or the estimated 1,500 men killed in the slate quarries of north-west Wales.

The average life expectancy of quarrymen in places like Blaenau Ffestiniog in 1875 was 37 years.

Gwynedd is also a county in Wales with particular high Welsh-speaking rates.

The percentage of residents able to speak Welsh in the North West region sits at 64.4 per cent, well above the 17.8 per cent national average.

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