Monday, May 21, 2018

YouTube Creators: Searching for the Yankee Dollar.



Highly successful You Tube creator Thomas Heaton's YT Page. With over a quarter of a million subscribers, his monetarized channel generates a sizable income but does churning out vlogs blunt a successful YouTuber's creativity?

'YouTube is an American video-sharing website headquartered in San Bruno, California. The service was created by three former PayPal employees—Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim—in February 2005. Google bought the site in November 2006 for US$1.65 billion; YouTube now operates as one of Google's subsidiaries. '...Wikipedia

Of all the distinct elements of the Internet, the ability for ordinary people to create videos which can be hosted and distributed globally for free, is one of the 20th century's greatest creative innovations. Twenty years ago, who would have imagined that with camcorders, cameras and eventually mobile phones, the person in the street could create a video on any subject that takes their fancy and download it on to the Internet! A wedding in Bootle which a long lost relation in Australia could watch on the same day. Someone explaining how to change an oil filter on a VW Golf or how to make Eggs Benedict.

In fact, there is virtually nothing under the sun which cannot be found on YouTube and if you have an interest in say classic cars, rock climbing or fixing computers, it's all there waiting to found with a few words in the search box.

In these days of multi faceted media, old fashioned terrestrial TV has been taking a battering from the new digital leviathans like Netflix and Amazon who stride the Internet, conquering all before them. Of course YouTube fits into this new media age with its content available to view on modern TV sets. I tend to watch YouTube on TV because visually its a hell of a lot better than watching on a phone or laptop. Traditionally YouTube viewers tended to watch videos on mobile devices but there has been a massive shift recently to TV viewing of the channel and the company are shifting their emphasis on the big screen as advertisers are aware that their glossy multi million dollar ad campaign will look a lot more striking on a 48” HD screen than a crappy iPhone 5!

I'm certainly one of those converts to TV YouTube viewing and certainly watch a lot more on the channel than I watch terrestrial TV, which apart from the occasional drama or documentary holds little interest for me. Like most regular YT viewers I have my favourite creators whose channels I subscribe to. Generally Van Life series, wild camping/outdoorsy stuff and some quirky things like narrow boating and one or two off the wall channels. One of the things I've noticed about YT creators however. The more successful they become, the less compelling their videos are for me. For the really big players with subscribers in six figures, I've noticed that my interest in their content winds down in relation to their output. The problem is, success appears to bring a change in philosophy. No longer are vlogs produced to entertain and communicate with like minded souls. Vlogs are produced to make money! Most of these successful YT vloggers monetize their channels so that Google- who own YouTube- pay them based on the advertising which precede their videos. The more subscribers the more hits; the more hits the more money!

Consequentially, YT creators have a financial interest in churning out vlogs to keep the financial pot boiling. Quantity replaces quality. Unfortunately, a lot of my favourite YT creators have fallen into this creative black hole. The other side effect of this splurge in production is that for the viewer,familiarity breeds contempt. Overkill equals boredom. What was once an intimate and entertaining engagement with a creator becomes a shallow experience and paradoxically-for me at least- as the creator's audience grows, monetisation loosens the bonds of kinship. Sadly, the commercialization doesn't end there as creators begin to use sponsors and include advertising on their vlogs. The ultimate commercial insult to me is when they start holding out the begging bowl of Patreon. If you are not familiar with Patreon well basically it is a YT creator asking for a paid membership subscription for their channel in return for 'exclusive' previews, out-takes and other equally pointless rewards.

A while back I started downloading the odd video to YT as a form of personal diary without linking any of these vids to my social network accounts, on a camcorder then digital cameras and my editing skills left a lot to be desired. Lots of shaky camera work, poor sound quality, clunky editing and guaranteed to have the viewer reaching for the back button on their keyboard or the return button on their TV remote! However, in the last year I've invested in drones,cameras, decent mics and various accessories which have improved the quality somewhat and my editing skills have got a touch better. To my surprise I've got a few dozen subscribers who appear to have taken something out of some of the vlogs. Although their appears to be no rhyme nor reason to viewing habits. One video might receive a couple of dozen views while another is in the thousands...weird??? But given that I'm unlikely to ever match say Thomas Heaton or Kombi Life for subscribers I feel pretty safe in saying that the dubious rewards of commercialization will never be an issue for me!

But back the the main thrust of this piece; Monetization, sponsorship and holding out the Patreon begging bowl oft times, really screws up the artistic value of a YT creator's work in my opinion. It's a shame how so many of my once favourite vloggers have lost their creative mojo and are now just churning out any old rubbish just to fill their channel with content and their back account with dollars.The concept of 'less is more' an alien concept to the these creators it sadly appears.


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Eyeless in Gaza :The Rogue States we're in.


The terrible events in Palestine this week with Israeli snipers so far killing 62 Palestinians, including an 8 month old baby and a man in a wheelchair, has been met with widespread rage and despair by anyone with an ounce of humanity and empathy. Unfortunately, we live in a world where the lunatics are running the asylum and the actions of thugs like Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu are nothing more than we have come to expect. Two powerful rogue states locked in a deadly embrace. Israel of course as the junior partner, is fully aware that it can basically do what it wants and the USA will either back it to the hilt, excuse its excesses or just turn a blind eye. We are aware that Trump and Netanyahu are basically Nazi bigots, what is more depressing is the appalling spineless reaction of the UK government and most EU states. Ireland to its credit, Turkey and South Africa have recalled their ambassadors from Israel but the May government -as to be expected - have displayed the morality and authority of a Parish Pump council in the Cotswolds. May of course claims to be a practising Christian but surprising, the slaughter of unarmed protestors has left her curiously unmoved it appears?

Within the main stream media, most outlets including the BBC, ITV and Sky have described the Gaza massacre as 'Clashes'. Just to point out to these establishment toadies that a clash is what happens when two sides come together in conflict. This was not a coming together of two competing sides, this was a massacre of innocents by a heavily armed nation which receives billions of dollars worth of arms and military aid from the USA every year. Those killed ,were killed by cowardly Israeli snipers using American manufactured weapons.

We have heard so much from those on the right in the UK in recent weeks, including Labour Friends of Israel and the Board of Deputies of British Jews about anti Semitism in the Labour Party. For many this is a totally fallacious campaign which has more to do with smearing and undermining Jeremy Corbyn and the left by his ideological opponents than it has to do with anti Semitism, which like religious bigotry and racism is essentially the preserve of the political right. No surprise then that the appalling Labour Friends of Israel offered a typically spineless and pusillanimous statement-

' Hamas must accept responsibility for these events. Their successful attempts to hijack peaceful protest as a cover to attack Israeli border communities must be condemned by all who seek peace in the Middle East.”

So far there has been a deafening silence from the normally loquacious spokespersons for the Board of Deputies of British Jews; prominent Jewish anti Corbyn voices like Maureen Lipman, the Guardians' frocks and flics columnist Hadley Freeman, editor of the right wing Jewish Chronicle, Stephen Pollard and prominent Jewish Centrist Guardian writer, Jonathan Freedland, on the atrocity? They've normally got so much to say when there's Witch Hunt on but this time...not a peep!


The definition of anti Semitism traditionally was a person or organisation which was …...
' Hostile to or prejudiced against Jews. ' The reactionary elements which prevail through the words and actions of conservative Jewish organisations like the aforementioned Board of Jewish Deputies seeks to extend it to anyone who criticises the state of Israel. We should should never give in to this attempt to stifle debate and criticism of what is after all an apartheid rogue state. 

John Appleby 

 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Scott Hutchison: 'I'm trapped in a collapsing building'



Scott and Frightened Rabbit performing at the Manchester Academy 2 a few years ago. Sadly, the only time I saw them live.
I was surprised at just how upset I was by the death of Scott Hutchison. Founder and singer with the Scottish Indie band, Frightened Rabbit. I discovered the band when I accidentally landed on an obscure BBC Alba music show called Rapal..I was instantly hooked and set off to unearth their back catalogue. Pretty soon. 'A winter of mixed drinks', 'The midnight organ fight' and later 'Pedestrian Verse' and 'Painting of a Panic Attack' became my driving soundtrack with the band's stirring, almost anthemic songs guaranteed to lift the spirits. Ironic in the circumstances, given what I now learn was songwriter Scott's long term battle with depression. And doubly so as I listen to those songs now with this new perspective and can now hear Scott virtually scripting his end through songs written over a decade. In the much referenced 'Floating in the Forth', he writes...

“And fully clothed, I float away
(I'll float away)
Down the Forth, into the sea
I think I'll save suicide for another day.'

It is as brutally prophetic as John Lennon being shot in the film 'How I won the war' and exclaiming, 'I knew it would end like this'. As a Frightened Rabbit fan it always felt like you were one of a small number of blessed devotees. While others listened to pap and exclaimed 'Frightened Who???, you could smile and count yourself fortunate to one of their small number of devotees. Of course this was palpably not true. Although FB were never a U2 or Coldplay in popularity stakes, the band did have a sizeable following. Not only in Scotland and the UK but in America where their gigs were generally sold out but also, their creative output- downloads, vinyl and CD sales and YouTube video hits- suggested here was a band with a healthy following.

This was bourne out by the fact that the news of Scott's initial disappearance and subsequent death was the most viewed story on the BBC News page and featured heavily in the national newspapers in the UK. The band's Painting of a Panic Attack also started selling heavily again on Amazon. Obviously being bought by people who probably had never even heard of the band before Scott's disappearance.

The real tragedy is bourne by Scott's close friends and family but of course the real victim here was Scott who like so many young men-75% of suicides are males-carried the heavy burden of depression around with him like albatross. For those of us who get 'a bit down' now and again, it is impossible to contemplate just how much further down those with serious depression and mental health issues are on the blues scale. Throwing yourself off a bridge into a cold river is beyond the ken of most of us and therefore we cannot get our heads around the fact that for some people,life is not seen as a gift but a curse.

If we can learn anything from this then perhaps it is that we should always treat our fellows with kindness and just do the right thing. It might sound trite in the circumstances but how many of us have said things or reacted negatively to someone we love. Through ignorance, ego, vanity or just sheer bloody mindedness? I know I have and in the words of Scott's penultimate tweet we should be minded to 'Be good to everyone you love, it's not a given. I'm so annoyed that its not. I didn't live by that standard and it kills me.Please, hug your loved ones'

Amen to that.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Celebrity Charity Porn

Victoria Pendleton and Ben Fogle:They want your money!

The news that celebrity TV presenter Ben Fogle and sportswoman Victoria Pendleton are climbing Everest to raise money for the Red Cross should-in normal circumstances-elicit  a positive response from anyone who admires selfless individuals doing something taxing and daring to improve the lives of those who have suffered tragedy or fallen into hardship. So why did I feel a fleeting sense of unease when I read the news?

Probably because like a lot of people I have become rather cynical of what has been described as ‘Celebrity Charity Porn’. Whether its Red Nose Day, Children in Need, Sports Relief, Comic Relief, etc.The normal drill sees white, millionaire celebrities and sportspeople travelling to impoverished communities in Africa, Nepal and the Middle East followed of course, by a TV crew. There they will mingle with the natives, play high 5‘s with an emaciated smiling child. Talk earnestly to camera about how X cannot grow enough to feed his family because of drought; shed a few tears and fly back to their gated mansion in Henley on Thames.

You could say that it is an national disgrace that here in 2018 we still rely on that Victorian concept of charity to ease the burden of the poor and suffering. Surely a modern progressive state should be able to ease the burden of the poor and suffering through progressive taxation and made the whole concept of charity a thing of the past? Internationally of course, we cannot change governments and dictate how they treat their citizens, but wealthy Western states could at least use their huge economic clout to make sure that poorer countries enjoy a fair and equitable trading arrangements with the west. And not- as outlined here recently in the case of EU produce dumping in Africa- exploit these countries to the advantage of western corporations. Thereby making it easier for corrupt, despotic regimes in the third world to exploit the economic turmoil in these countries and continue the economic waterboarding of their people.

Getting back to this country-the UK- then I come back to the total poverty of imagination which allows us to accept charity as normal and good. When it fact it should not be normal in 2018 in the 5th or 6th-whatever week it is- richest country in the world. As I write this, the economic contribution from the general public to help alleviate suffering is rising rapidly instead of going down. Mainly this is due to the ideological approach of the current government and the previous Blair/Brown governments who pursued Neo Liberal economic policies which see the rich get richer and the poor poorer. So...instead of moving towards an economic model where the state positively intervenes to tackle poverty and suffering, conversely, it now steps further and further away from these responsibilities and passes the buck to organized charities, funded by the public.

Obviously, nothing is going to change anytime soon. Western governments will still pursue the same economic policies which wreak havoc on the lives of the weakest members of their own countries and those in the third world. The spectacle of the millionaire celebrity fronting a charity campaign and urging us to dig ever deeper into our stretched pockets to help those with no pockets at all, isn’t going to go away any time soon. Maybe just maybe though, more and more people might ask themselves ‘why are we doing the government’s job for them?’ It is not beyond the realms of possibility for us to elect politicians who instead of wasting £100 billion on an immoral and totally pointless nuclear weapons system like Trident, instead turn those ‘swords into ploughshares’ and spend those taxes on crazy stuff. Like health, education, the environment and welfare!


If you do want to give money to the Red Cross event though, then just click on
Red Cross Appeal

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Marc Wadsworth: Labour's latest sacrificial lamb.



'There's a gonna be a lynching'. Blairite Labour MP's in their carefully orchestrated media stunt before the Marc Wadsworth hearing this week.
Photo credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

It was George Galloway no less, who for me summed up the appalling decision by the UK Labour Party to expel Marc Wadsworth. A lifelong Labour member and black rights activist. Sacrificed to appease the blood lust of the right wing Labour parliamentary labour member members who have weaponised the issue of anti semitism to undermine Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Left. The core element of the party which in fact, constitutes between 60/70% of the membership.

'A 50 strong Lynch-mob of grim-faced Blairite MPs led by Jess Phillips and Wes Streeting marched upon the Courthouse. And the black man was duly hung. Shame on everyone involved.’ GG


Shame indeed for as an ex Labour Party activist myself, I have witnessed this shameful behaviour too many times in the past to be shocked anymore.

For those reading this outside the UK and not familiar with the current shenanigans within the Labour Party, this briefly is what is going down right now. Jeremy Corbyn, a veteran left wing back bencher was unexpectedly catapulted into the leadership of the party by members who had grown weary of the Tony Blair/New Labour years of neo Liberalism, pointless destructive wars and the craven boot licking of the US Republican neo-cons.The members craved for someone authentic, honest and radical. Enter Jeremy Corbyn. Unfortunately for the party’s membership, 75% of Labour MP’s are still wedded to Tony Blair’s New Labour ideals. Hence, ever since Corbyn became leader there has been a war waging between the leader, the membership, and the PLP.

Into the Lion's den. Marc Wadsworth before the hearing. Photo credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

So far the PLP have launched one open coup which saw the leader face a challenge from Owen Smith. An uninspiring a politician as you could find and someone who was a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry before he became an MP. After being roundly humiliated by Corbyn in the contest. The Labour Right retreated into the shadows to re-emerge with a new battle plan.That is, to wage a constant guerrilla war against the leader. This campaign has seen issues such as Brexit, the Irish border and anti semitism weaponised by the right in an endless campaign to undermine the leader and his progressive allies and arm the overwhelmingly hostile media with a constant stream of Corbyn bashing material.

However, in recent months the Labour Right have discovered the ace in their pack has been the anti semitism card. For a Centre left party which prides itself on fighting racism, anti semitism, bigotry and discrimination in all its manifestations, this is like throwing a hand grenade in a bonfire. The end result has seen Corbyn and his Momentum allies totally wrong footed and bizarrely going along with the right’s narrative on the issue by saying the party does have an issue with anti semitism...when it doesn’t! Just ask the majority of Jewish members of the Labour Party who have been falling over themselves to say that they have never experienced anti semitism in all their years in the party.

It appears that this appeasement of the Labour Right is born out of the fallacious concept peddled by the Zionist lobby and bought into by those Labour MP’s who are in the ‘Labour Friends of Israel’ group, that criticism of the state of Israel in relation to its brutal policies in Palestine, is anti Semitic.Consequently, thousands of Labour activists like Marc Wadsworth who have supported the Palestinian cause and condemned Israel’s slaughter of the innocents are deemed anti Semitic.

Shamefully, Jewish Labour MP’s like Lucian Berger, Louise Ellman and Ruth Smeeth have used the  issue as a stick to beat Corbyn with to disguise their own Blarite agenda. Other equally unscrupulous chancers like Angela Smith, Chuka Umunna, John Mann, John Woodcock, Wes Streeting, Chris Leslie had climbed onboard the bandwagon. Their delight in in being able to openly parade their hatred of Corbyn and Progressive politics under the guise of fighting anti semitism, has been like Christmas and all their birthdays rolled into one!

This week,and to the delight of the anti Corbyn media, including the  BBC- a motley phalanx of stern faced Labour MP’s-numbering about 50- marched to Marc Wadsworth’s hearing-surrounding Ruth Smeeth, part time MP and full time Drama Queen, who was giving evidence against her left wing foe. Wadsworth had correctly called out her collusion with the Daily Telegraph-an organ on the righter limits of the British press- but had done so by grabbing a microphone at the launch of the Shami Chakrabarti Inquiry into antisemitism and other forms of racism in the Labour Party- and called her out at a public event.

Despite the press framing is as an anti Semitic case, the case against Wadsworth was in fact 'bringing the Labour Party into disrepute’. Despite being supported by Clive Lewis MP and Chris Williamson MP, Marc Wadsworth was thrown out of the party. A sacrificial lamb thrown on the fire to appease the Blairite PLP majority, the conservative Jewish lobby-not least the appalling, self appointed, 'outraged by everything, ashamed of nothing’ Board of Deputy of British Jews’, and the MSM. This decision shames the Labour Party and speaking personally. I could never vote Labour if I lived in a constituency represented by a Ruth Smeeth, Chris Leslie, John Mann, John Woodcock or Alison McGovern et al.

The conservative Board of Deputy of British Jews.In effect,these days,an unelected, self appointed right wing Israeli lobby group charged with defining criticism of the state of Israel and its occupation of Palestine as 'anti semetic'
Photo credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

These Blairite MP's are a dead hand on the Labour Party’s ambitions and until the party is represented by MP’s who actually reflect the political tone of the membership and are in tune with its progressive agenda, then the party’s opponents will be laughing all the way to the polls.The disgraceful expulsion of Marc Wadsworth this week shows that the party still has a mountain to climb before it can plot its course towards power.

Further reading. See Craig Murray's take on the issue...here
John Appleby 



Monday, April 23, 2018

The Scottish Raven:Take these broken wings and learn to fly



Thanks to the brilliant Raptor Persecution Scotland website, the wider world have been made aware to the totally bizarre actions of the Scottish Natural Heritage agency in granting a licence for the slaughter of up to 300 ravens in the Perthshire region. Quoting the RPS website ‘The licence has been issued to a consortium calling itself the Strathbraan Community Collaboration for Waders (SCCW) which, according to the licence application, ‘represents some of the local land management (farmers, gamekeepers) and private interests in the area who value wading birds for their biodiversity, social and economic value to the area and to Scotland more widely. The application is supported by the Scottish Gamekeepers Association and technical advice and support, notably data gathering and interpretation, is being provided by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT)‘.

Naturally, in common with anyone who values our native wildlife and more especially, as in this case, the target of this culling programme, the iconic raven,
the licence to cull is an appalling decision which appears to be a kneejerk reaction from weak people confronted by powerful vested interests. Ravens like all Corvids are a highly intelligent, resourceful bird and as much a part of the upland landscape as the very earth beneath its wings. Anyone seeing a raven glide and tumble within a remote mountain cwm or even just perched atop a high tree, cannot fail to be inspired by its beauty. Shiny, coal black and announcing to the world its presence through that unmistakable, echoing croak, although perhaps Edward Abbey described the corvids vocal range best when he described  ‘the clapperclawing of crows’.

Under the pretext of protecting wading birds, the SNH have granted the licence to those unfailing protectors of Scotland’s wildlife, landowners,farmers, gamekeepers and the hunting lobby. Not surprisingly, the licensing of a raven cull has not gone unnoticed and across the social and national media, wildlife organizations, individuals and groups like the RSPB have been up in arms. Firing off statements, spreading the word via social media and organizing petitions. Although personally I think petitions are a waste of time whatever the cause. Signing a petition gives the illusion that you are doing something positive when in fact they achieve nothing and let those in the firing line, off the hook.

Duncan Orr-Ewing- RSPB Scotland Head of Species & Land Management, stated two days ago

“We are extremely concerned about the likely scale on impact of this research licence on the local raven population in the Strathbraan area of Perthshire. We are also very surprised that SNH have issued such a research licence  in the vicinity of Strathbraan, which has an appalling  and well documented track record of illegal persecution of raptors, noting also the very recent “suspicious” disappearance of a satellite tagged white-tailed eagle in this very same area.We, together with local raptor workers who have been monitoring ravens in the area for decades, could have helped SNH with this background detail to the licence application if we had been consulted. We will be seeking a high level meeting with SNH shortly to discuss. We will be pressing for the research licence to be revoked on the back of the white-tailed eagle incident, and instead consideration given by SNH to removing the use of the Open General Licence in this area, as is within their powers“.

Following on from the recent controversy concerning the wholesale slaughter of mountain hares by the hunting lobby in Scotland, a lot of people are wondering what exactly the centre left SNP/ Green Scottish government are doing in pandering to this powerful lobby and basically saying 'nothing to do with us Guv!' ? In a way, the Scottish sporting estates and the hunting and fishing lobby, appear from the outside to be the Scottish governments’ equivalent to the US governments NRA. Small but disproportionately powerful and intensely disliked by the majority of people in each country. Time methinks for the Scottish government to become pro-active in these environmental/ conservation issues and not pretend the issues are outside their jurisdiction.

Hopefully, sense will prevail in this instance and the ravens of Perthshire will wheel and tumble in pleasure and not in death.

JA

Thursday, April 19, 2018

A new National Park for North Wales?


A new national park for Wales....why not? The designation of national park status is a mystery to most of us. If you asked the man or woman on the street what exactly is a national park, most would say it an area of outstanding natural beauty owned by the nation. Of course it isn’t. National parks are mostly comprised of privately owned farmland and estates. Even the mountains are privately owned apart from the odd instance of a body like the National Trust and John Muir Trust owning a mountain.What the general public would recognize is that a national park generally fulfills an accepted aesthetic criteria which recognizes, mountains, lakes, forests and pretty villages as beautiful and therefore somewhere to escape to, even if only for a day, to escape from the humdrum of hectic urban life.

We have to recognize though that national parks are not exactly wilderness areas...where outside of a few parts of Scotland can you get the wilderness experience? Certainly not in Wales or England. In summer especially, national parks in the Lake District, Snowdonia and the Peak District are heaving with visitors. For people like myself who live on the edge of a national park, we tend to keep well away when its a weekend, the forecast is good and its the school holiday season. The idea of paying for parking and then trudging in a crocodile of walkers up a popular mountain like Snowdon or Helvellyn is as appealing as a day in the Trafford Centre!

Fortunately, here in north Wales, there are still places where you can be far from the madding crowds. Even on a sunny bank holiday weekend. Although I realize that paradoxically, that might not be the case if the the thrust of this article came to pass! Outside of the honeypots of Snowdonia lies an area which although it attracts tourists and visitors, the numbers coming in  are far less than those flocking in to the west. That area is rural north east Wales. An area which ticks all the boxes as far as fulfilling accepted national park criteria. It is generally thinly populated, boasts attractive small towns, pretty villages, mountains and quiet uplands, sylvan valleys and meandering rivers and wildlife in abundance; from the magnificent Red Kite to the elusive Otter.


The little north east peak of Mwdwl Eithin which according to local legend is the final resting place of Merlin. Hence it is known locally as 'The Magic Mountain'.

For this National Park I would suggest it be called 'The Glyndwr National Park’ in recognition of  the last true Prince of Wales, Owain Glyndwr whose home and power base was firmly centred here. It would be contained by the beautiful Cerioig Valley to the south, the Clwydians to the north, extend across the wild Hiraethog and wander back south to include the Berwyn Range. It would be a relatively small national park but would include the small towns of Llangollen, Ruthin, Corwen and Denbigh within its boundaries. The topography is varied, from wild heathery moorland to vast forests; rolling hills like the Clwydians to deep valleys like the twisting defile that contains the River Dee.

As far as outdoor activities go, well the GNP-as I’m calling it here- has just about everything. For hikers and wild campers you have the Berwyn range which rise up to 2700‘ small ranges like the Clwydians, The Llantysilios, the unnamed range of hills which run through Hiraethog. For rock climbers there are the fine limestone cliffs of Eglwysg, the outcrops which dot the area, from the Ceiriog Valley to those in the limestone area twixt Ruthin and Mold. Mountain bikers have forests like Clocaenog and Ceiriog. Even paracenders and hang gliders can sport themselves on the Llantysilios or Clwydians. With plenty of options for wild camping or using camping sites,vanlifers and those using tents are well catered for and unlike further west in Snowdonia, you can always find somewhere even in summer.


Typical North East Wales upland scenery. The quite fringes of the Berwyns under Vivod Mountain

Throw in the obvious attractions for horse riders, white water paddlers, pony trekkers, anglers, road bikers and even underground explorers-plenty of mines and pot holes to explore hereabouts- and you literally have something for everyone.

So..there you have it. A new National Park for Wales. As I said at the beginning...why not?
JA