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In the summer of the year 1798 I was first induced, from the various accounts that had reached me respecting the grandeur of the mountain scenery of North Wales, to appropriate three months to a ramble through all its most interesting parts. I accordingly set out from Cambridge (where I was then resident) soon after the commencement of the long vacation, and proceeded, in the cross-country coaches, immediately to Chester. From Chester I leisurely skirted the north coast of Wales, along the great Irish road,* through St. Asaph and Conway, to Bangor. At Caernarvon I remained for a considerable time,
Except only in going from the village of Northop to Flint, and thence to Holywell, in the whole not more than eight miles.
making excursions in all directions among the mountains, and through the principal parts of the island of Anglesey. When I had examined all the places that I could learn were worth notice, I continued my route entirely round the country, visiting in my course Harlech, Barmouth, Dolgelley, Machynlleth, Llanidloes, Newtown, Montgomery, Welsh Pool, Oswestry, Wrexham, and Mold. From Mold I crossed over (towards the interior) to Ruthin, and proceeded through Llangollen, Corwen, and Bala, to Shrewsbury, whence, in the month of September, I returned to Cambridge.
Not satisfied with this single journey, I returned into North Wales, in the year 1801, and resided there four months more; during June, July, August, and September. In this latter excursion my time was chiefly occupied in examining the counties of Caernarvon and Merioneth, and the island of Anglesey, visiting again, in these counties, all the places that I had before seen, ascending most of the principal mountains, and searching around for other new and interesting objects.
Previously to my first journey, I had made several tours through nearly all the romantic parts
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
of the North of England. I can, however, with truth declare, that, taken in the whole, I have not found these by any means so interesting as four of the six counties of North Wales, namely, Denbighshire, Caernarvonshire, Merionethshire, and Anglesey. The traveller of taste (in search of grand and stupendous scenery,) the naturalist, and the antiquary, have all, in this romantic country, full scope for their respective pursuits.
My mode of travelling was principally as a pedestrian, but sometimes I took horses, and at other times proceeded in carriages, as I found it convenient. A traveller on foot, if in health and spirits, has, in my opinion, many advantages over all others of these the most essential is that complete independence of every thing but his own exertions, which will enable him, without difficulty, to visit and examine various places that are altogether inaccessible to persons either in carriages or on horseback.
From my first entrance into the country I had formed a determination, if I found my observations sufficiently interesting, to lay the result of them before the public. This I did in my Tour round North Wales, published about ten years
ago. Till that journey was nearly completed, no tour of any importance, later than that of Mr. Pennant, (originally published in 1778,) had come to my knowledge. I had not then heard of those either of Mr. Aiken, Mr. Warner, or Mr. Skrine, and therefore, not without reason, considered myself as filling an unoccupied place in British topography. The work, notwithstanding there were no fewer than half a dozen others of a nearly similar nature, published about the same time, was so well received by the public, as to afford reasonable hopes of success to fresh exertions.