There is no doubt the last couple of years have been very difficult for the hospitality sector. I know it’s probably been worse for those working in the NHS, I know how hard my teacher wife has been working too. There are so many unsung heroes, in vans, in lorries, in shops and in the public services that we need to give more than a round of applause to. But the challenges for the hospitality sector are so often born by small family run businesses.
Some of them have done well. I know one that has had their best ever year with the UK and Welsh Government funding top-ups, others have managed significant redevelopments during the down times. Some have just cried too loudly and alienated themselves from potential customers.
I wanted to say a thank you to a few businesses which have supported me over the last two years as I’ve set up my own business and have operated with humility and dignity whatever their personal views have been on the pandemic or the way our governments have handled the pandemic.
Most of you will be familiar with the Moel Siabod Café at Capel Curig. They have had all sorts of challenges, they have had to expand outside, operate a takeaway, overcome staff crises, yet they have met each and everyone of us, time after time with a welcoming smile and serviced us great food at realistic prices. To all who run, work at or have just pitched in to help out at the Moel Siabod Café, thank you.
I know there are lots and lots of hard working small business owners here in Snowdonia and elsewhere of course and it seems rude to single any out, but I must.
I thank the team at the Tyn y Coed, in Capel Curig, for their help this year. I thank the team at Plas Coch in Llanberis https://plascochsnowdonia.co.uk/ for their support. I thank the team at Pengwern https://www.snowdoniaaccommodation.co.uk/ as well, for just being friendly helpful and supportive.
Should you find yourself in Trefriw I can whole heartedly recommend the butcher and the Post office who have been there, and continue to be, throughout these challenging times. And if you want self-catering try here, these places are lovely https://www.qualitycottages.co.uk/wales/north-wales/gwynedd/snowdonia/dolgellau/gelli-newydd (it’s not in Dolgellau, it’s in Trefriw!)
On my travels I was made to feel welcome and safe at the Norton Hill House Hotel in Swansea, at the Miners Arms in Pont-rhyd-y-groes, at the Kylesku Hotel and the Glenelg Inn.
So, do think about your input into local economies. The last two years have been hard enough, but the next few, with the appalling situation in Ukraine could be worse. There will be those who profit from war like there were those who profited from Covid, they won’t be the local small business which are such an important part of our rural landscape. We’ll miss them if we lose them
How can we, as mountain leaders and mountaineering instructors, best look to support other businesses in our home areas?