Well, it looks like here on the St. David’s Peninsula we’ve finally killed the golden goose – by which I mean that the very thing that people used to come here for is now dead.The quiet beaches and coves, sea cliffs and dunes, hills and estuaries and undisturbed wildlife that are the reason the region was given National Park status sixty years ago are largely now a thing of the past - at least through July and August.

Whatever word you want to use – packed, crowded, jammed, crammed – is the only way to describe the roads, car parks, campsites, beaches, waves, bars, shops and restaurants of the area, which makes it impossible to enjoy the quiet solitude that, surely, national parks are all about.

Locals tend to go into hiding at this time of year – I haven’t visited the most popular beach, Whitesands, since the first week of July – because the crowds can drive you mad, and we wonder why the hell anyone would want to visit the shitfight that is Whitesands or Newgale on a sunny day in August? At the same time you can’t blame people for wanting to discover such a potentially lovely corner of the world for themselves.

But hell, they don’t have make a mess of it all – litter all over the beach and, even worse, youthful cretins who get back to nature by camping in the dunes, lighting a fire and then leaving the next day without troubling themselves to remove their empty beer cans and bottles, food wrappers and the like. There’s no excuse for this kind of behaviour – any half-educated 18-year-old who has the wherewithal to want to go wild camping should also have the intelligence to leave their campsite as they found it – those who don’t deserve their arses kicked until they can’t sit in front of their computer screen for a week.

The irony of all this, however, is the very architects of all this overcrowding and general unpleasantness are me and my peers. Amongst my friends are surf shop and surf school owners, outdoor centre owners, café, B&B and gallery owners, all of whom make a good living out of tourism.

And then there’s people like me who write about the place, or photograph it, or paint it, which encourages yet more people to come, so who are we to moan about St. David’s no longer being like it was when we rolled up here in the 70s or 80s?

Indeed, we’re the ones who have killed the golden goose. Those golden eggs are now made of fool’s gold and I dread to think what the place will be like in another twenty years or so.

Maybe it’s time to move on to somewhere quieter – and screw that up too. After all, it’s what humans do best.

 

 

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