“The Devil may take Snowdon”, or: Inscribing touristic disappointment in Victorian visitors’ books

Rita Singer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Historically, tourism in Wales was invigorated by the reinvention of mountain scenery during the Romantic period when travellers gained new perspectives of the terrain from higher ground. It is also during this period that inns and guesthouses began keeping visitors’ books in which guests evaluated their surroundings and their hosts’ good services. The participatory nature of these albums encouraged inscribers not only to provide factual reviews, but also to compose occasional poetry, humorous vignettes of a day’s travel or satirical character sketches of fellow travellers and locals. The Snowdon visitors’ books evidence travellers’ expectations and experiences of ascending the highest mountain in Wales. In the study of nineteenth-century travel writing, messages particularly by non-professional writers reveal how the quality of professional tour guides, commercial infrastructure, the weather and the food sold in the huts shaped the overall experience of Snowdon as a touristic highlight or disappointment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)334-349
Number of pages16
JournalStudies in Travel Writing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2022


  • Wales
  • Travel writing
  • visitors' books
  • History of travel
  • Tourism history
  • Tourism
  • nineteenth century
  • Snowdon
  • emotions
  • History of emotions
  • History
  • empire
  • Poetry
  • Visitors’ books
  • travel writing
  • mountaineering
  • disappointment
  • history of tourism
  • weather


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