North Wales

Intended as a Guide to Future Tourists
William Bingley (1804)

  • Published March 2023
  • Publisher SilverWood Books
  • ISBN 9781800422438
  • Paperback 216 x 140mm (420 pages)
  • RRP £15.99
  • Kindle £9.99

Monica Kendall’s new edition of Bingley, which is as lucid as it is deft, is a most welcome addition to the literature of the ‘Welsh tour’. Modern Wales in many ways is indebted to him.
– Professor Prys Morgan

Bingley belongs in a select peer group that includes Pennant, Borrow, Condry. He’s one of the most companionable of writers on the Welsh landscape, and certainly one of the most enterprising.
– Foreword by Jim Perrin (Jim Perrin’s latest book is Rivers of Wales, 2022)

In July 1798, a Cambridge student set out on a botanical tour and wrote the first guidebook to North Wales. Wearing spectacles and carrying a rucksack, Yorkshire-born William Bingley made notes, sketched and looked for rare plants. He befriended a Welshman with whom he made the first recorded rock climb in Britain on the north flank of Snowdon. Three years later they climbed the iconic mountain Tryfan. Bingley also helped establish the legend of the faithful hound Gelert.

In retracing Bingley’s steps through the historic counties of Flint, Denbigh, Caernarvon, Anglesey, Merioneth and Montgomery (as well as the town of Oswestry), the reader will discover a landscape and people of over two hundred years ago. They will clamber with Bingley up waterfalls, ride in a waggon into a candle-lit copper mine, sail on a cutter to Ynys Enlli, suffer the fleas at an inn in Beddgelert, ponder the necessity of taking a pint of rum up Snowdon, or blissfully rest in the shade of Montgomery Castle during harvest. Perhaps also, like Bingley, they will be fired by the Last Bard’s curse on Edward I, while gazing across the water at sunset towards the isle of the Druids.

This first edition since 1839 includes a newly researched biography, and background on the Picturesque, the Sublime, slate quarries and pickled puffins.

Author retraces writer’s steps for abridged version of north Wales guidebook |

Two centuries on it’s not too late for a correction (

North Wales

Monica Kendall