Sunday Times editor insults the Welsh language while enjoying their hospitality

Sign for Brecon Beacons park & a cycling

On 3 April, the Sunday Times travel editor Duncan Craig wrote about his cycling trip through Brecon Beacons in the south of Wales. Craig said he was trying to “burn off some lockdown pounds in the ‘cycling hub’ of Wales”. He was a guest of Discover Carmarthenshire.

He was open about his own cycling limitations, and he was equally open about his linguistic bigotry which came in the form of “derogatory” humour. Because rather than simply write the names of the villages that he passed through – Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen and Ystradgynlais – he chose to mock them:

We drop down into villages with names of cat-walking-across-the-keyboard impenetrability (Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen; Ystradgynlais)

But despite his humour, nobody was laughing. At least, nobody was laughing with him.

A “racist trope”

Craig’s words naturally angered people. So they took to social media to express that anger:

There was disbelief that a guest of the area would write such a thing:

And this Welsh linguist put Craig’s ‘humour’ in the bigoted context it deserves:

But he wasn’t done yet

Not content with mocking Welsh place names, Craig also mocked the language. He said:

In the morning, with calves burning and kit still wet, we rationalise shelving the day-two ride in favour of lying in bed, eating Pringles and enjoying Robyn’s wonderfully mellifluous (albeit entirely incomprehensible) commentary of the Giro.

People responded:

An ignorant “bigot”

But Craig’s is not the first attack on the Welsh language. So, in response, chair of YesCymru Siôn Jobbins hit back with a satirical ‘Anti-Welsh Bigot Bingo’ card:

Instead of enjoying the privilege of travelling during lockdown, Craig chose to mock. And as travel writers experience many different languages, it’s galling he’d write such a piece.

It’s bigotry regardless of the person’s job, and it shows a complete misunderstanding of the place he’s visiting.

Featured image via Flickr – Lloyd Morgan & Unsplash – David Marcu

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