Last month we went on holiday to North Wales staying in the small seaside town of Llandudno. Like the rest of the U.K. Wales was in lockdown for much of last year. This meant hotels, bars, shops and restaurants were closed and tourists stayed away. A local graffiti artist was able to celebrate the effect this had on some of the wildlife by painting murals on one of the seafront shelters. I have been trying to spot lockdown art and was pleased to photograph these two murals.
Llandudno is nestled between two hills, the Great Orme and Little Orme. It is normally a sleepy town, famous for its Victorian architecture, its pier, its mining heritage and its long beach. A cable car and a cliff railway take visitors to the top of the Great Orme. But during lockdown it hit the headlines in an unusual way.
Kashmiri goats have long backward pointing horns and long beards. They were originally imported from Kashmir for their wool. Queen Victoria loved cashmere shawls and kept a small herd at Windsor Park. When she stayed near Llandudno on holiday she heard of the town’s problem keeping the vegetation on the Great Orme in check and she suggested using Kashmiri goats. She even gave some to a local landlord. The goats thrived and the herd has increased over the years. They enjoy interacting with visitors especially when food is involved.
During lockdown they clearly missed the visitors and the goats were seen roaming the local streets and even eating people’s hedges. Now the town is busy again they have retreated up the Great Orme and we had to ride the cable car to see them. The local and national press had fun inventing puns “ghost town to goat town” “call goat busters” “nanny state” “the kids are out of control” You can read more of the story and see a video here.
Lockdown also had an effect on sea life. There were less boat trips and no cruise liners. One suprising visitor to North Wales was Wally the Walrus who became a popular local tourist attraction. He was thought to have swum down from the seas around northern Norway. Wildlife experts tried moving him with polar bear scent from a local zoo without much success.