Les Galles du Nord

Name of traveller

Yves Sack (b. 1930)

Reason for travel

  • study trip abroad as holder of a Zellidja Travel Grant

Date of travel

26 August to mid-September 1949

Je longe les petits lacs appelés Llyn Gwynant et Llyn Dinas, sortes de petits diamants enchassés dans un paysage verdoyant et qui semble enfantin, comparé à la majesté des montagnes qui les dominent. (Sack 22-3)


  • agriculture:
    • visits the sheep market in Bala and enjoys watching the vibrant crowd and the farmers haggling over the price of their sheep
    • farmers are typically accompanied by their sheep dogs; describes sheep herding and trials
  • architecture:
    • points out that Llangollen Bridge is one of the Seven Wonders of Wales
    • spends hours exploring the ruins of Harlech Castle and finds it one of the most beautiful castles he has seen
  • clothing: wears a Scout uniform and a tricolore to inform people of his national background
  • customs:
    • remarks on the lack of people on the farms around Bala on a Sunday morning and assumes they have all gone to attend church service; great piety
    • numerous instances where he encounters Welsh hospitality
    • displays of patriotism are common
    • reference to some local legends, folklore, folk songs and Eisteddfodic tradition
  • diet: remarks on food shortages even in August, but his daily rations have always been sufficient; green vegetables only available in tinned form
  • industry:
    • not impressed by the industrial character of Wrexham and coal-blackened miners in the streets
    • visits Dinorwic Quarry after having been given special permission by the director
    • attempts to visit the three electric power stations at the foot of Snowdon, but fails to get permission; visits Cwm Dyli and Maentwrog Dam instead
    • visits a woollen mill in Penygroes and the Aluminium Works in Dolgarrog
  • language:
    • does not understand Welsh but enjoys listening to Welsh speakers
    • preservation of the Welsh language in order to mark cultural difference; claims that the Welsh language is hardly written any longer
    • points out a few Welsh words that are similar to French
    • reference to the translation of the Bible into Welsh
  • recreation:
    • brings his own tent; frequently camps in fields and socialises with other Scouts
    • finds too many English tourists in Llangollen; many Sunday tourists in Beaumaris
    • sets out on various circular tours from his base in Llanberis
    • the beach in Rhyl is too crowded with holiday makers; an open-air concert by a brass band finishes with the British national anthem
  • terrain:
    • very picturesque area around Llangollen and Caernarfon
    • undertakes walks in all sorts of weather
    • ascends Snowdon in beautiful weather but by the time he reaches the summit the view is largely blocked by rain and fog
    • finds the terrain of Anglesey desperately flat and empty, but agricultural wealth
    • the picturesque beauty of Swallow Falls is destroyed by too many tourists
  • transport:
    • modes of travel: bus; hitchhiking
    • chooses hitchhiking as preferred mode of travel as it is the best way to get in touch with people

Nationality of traveller


Language of publication


Gender of traveller


Type of publication

report; travelogue


Sack, Yves. Les Galles du Nord. 1949. Rapports de premier voyage Zellidja jusqu'en 1974; 446. Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris. TS.