Tourists blast 'self-righteous' locals after illegally parked cars towed from beauty spot

Vehicle recovery trucks ready to tow away cars parked illegally in Eryri National Park
-Credit: (Image: Gwalia Garage)

Tourists and locals clashed online in a row over illegal parking at a much-loved beauty spot. The heated discussion was sparked after dozens of vehicles were towed after in Eryri National Park, formerly known as Snowdonia.

Park bosses took a firm stance last year about illegal and dangerous parking on roads in the most popular areas of Eryri. Their zero-tolerance policy has led to a decrease in parking tickets and towed vehicles, but penalised visitors have been left unhappy.

Over the Easter period, nearly 40 vehicles were towed from Pen-y-Pass on Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) and the A5 in the Ogwen Valley. And keen hikers have tried to impress upon locals and authorities that most visitors are well-intentioned - but just struggle with the perceived lack of parking provision, North Wales Live reports.

One blogger accused the community of being unreceptive to people who wish to enjoy the countryside's charms. He wrote: "The root cause of the parking issues is not hundreds of insensitive louts being lazy or ignorant - the vast majority are decent people stuck with nowhere to park and poor alternative provision.

"It should not be beyond the national park and local authority capability to anticipate peak crowds and make appropriate provision that makes visitors welcome and well catered for."

"Instead we are presented with a self-righteous, insular, let's-tow-away-their-cars-and-that'll-show-em type attitude, which is counterproductive and, most of all, ungenerous."

The parking situation in Eryri has sparked a heated row between visitors and locals
The parking situation in Eryri has sparked a heated row between visitors and locals -Credit:Gwalia Garage

Trying to come up with an approach that could satisfy both visitors and residents, he added: "Let's see more constructive and generous proposals rather than this biting of the hand that feeds."

One climber said that "99 per cent of the people... are friendly and welcoming" but said that he had been climbing Yr Wyddfa recently when he was "told by a local to 'go back where I belong', wherever that is!"

Commenting on Facebook, he showed sympathy for locals, adding: "Inconsiderate parking and littering infuriates me as it does most other people. Unfortunately, the minority once again ruin it for the majority."

Another user pointed out that Visit Wales promotes travel to the country, only for tourists to find certain areas are "gatekept" upon arrival. He added: "Rural areas usually depend on tourist money, yet hate tourism it seems."

But residents themselves are fuming over dangerous parking, especially in the busy summer season. Speaking about vehicles being towed, one local said: "I wouldn't expect anything else if I parked up on Manchester ring road and went shopping for the afternoon."

Another complained about the behaviour of some visitors. She said: "There seems to be a post-Covid attitude of entitlement that they can do what they like, when they like and how they like. Abuse by some visitors is on the increase - not all, but the numbers are rising."

Eryri bosses have launched an app that highlights which of the many park-and-ride facilities around the park have free spaces, with shuttle buses running regularly from the sites.

Many visitors, however, prefer to park at the base of Yr Wyddfa before scaling it, as they don't want to "wait an hour for a bus" after a gruelling climb.

More park-and-ride facilities have been introduced, along with shuttle buses
More park-and-ride facilities have been introduced, along with shuttle buses -Credit:Google

Park authorities were confident last year that their new measures were working. A spokesperson said: "To ensure the preservation of this remarkable area, it is crucial that visitors adopt sustainable practices and adhere to the guidance provided, especially during peak times. Only a small minority of visitors are not following the guidelines. We are very grateful for everyone's cooperation in this regard."

And recognising the advantages the visitor economy can bring, some locals stress they are not against tourism; they simply want a bit of consideration.

One woman said: "Eryri is much busier now than it's ever been. We Welsh have to accept that. All I ask for is respect for our countryside and culture. Diolch."

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