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Yes, it’s been years in the making

and the line has been crossed, once again, and I’ve totally had enough.

I’ve been involved in tourism for about thirty years, beginning when I first became self employed and began delivery of mountain bike hire and guided mountain bike rides in the Brecon Beacons National Park. The BBNP fought me tooth and nail, they really didn’t want mountain bike hire within the national park. Oh how wrong they were. It’s just about all they promote nowadays. And the battles continued. The authorities, ‘The Man’ if you like, at every turn, attempt to trip up the small business owner, to see energy and innovation fail. I would never now recommend to anyone self employment. It’s simply not worth all of the effort, well, not unless you have the new mousetrap that will go on to sell billions…

And so I’ve been tripped up again and given I’ve given those wearing the boots multiple warnings of court action, over decades of complaining, meetings and final warnings, I think it’s time that the final warnings have run their course.

From the old blog and posted in 2010

About fifteen years ago I had a meeting with the WTB, now VisitWales, the Welsh Gov department that delivers the tourism budget, badly, in Wales. I complained about nepotism and the promoting of two or three business’ over and above all other adventure activity business’. I was told that it was mismanagement but that if I wanted they could promote me too. I declined, wanting promotion of all and fairly too. This was promised but it was never delivered.

About ten years ago I complained again, about the same matter, and met with the head of VisitWales who apologised profusely, admitted that performance was poor and that he would ensure that all providers were treated fairly.

In March 2020 I updated my VisitWales listings and was immediately removed from the site. I was told that I needed accreditation. There is no need for this as I am a mountain leader with more hill leading hours than any inspector, by far, and I see this as another level of unwanted interference by ‘The Man’. I complained that there were other similar business’ on the site and so instead of reaching out the industry and working out a way forward for all VisitWales deleted all of those business’. The ONLY guided walk provider in April 2020 then was a walk around a farm guiding a sheep!

Fast Forward to NOW and I re-visited the VisitWales website and found that there were plenty of unaccredited business’ like mine on the site.

From the old blog and posted in 2012

Banning me but allowing others is clearly discrimination and an attempt at displacing Wales Outdoors in the market place. I have recorded the past complaints, recorded the current complaints and I have recorded those instances of business’ operating in a similar way to me, without accreditiation, but still managing to get FREE government publicity through the tourism portal for Wales, VisitWales.

And so… ‘Fuck ’em’… I’m taking that information to a judge.

I did give VisitWales the opportunity to engage with me but engage they did not. I offered them on several occassions the opportunity to meet and discuss, I called them with no response and I emailed but got standard responses of ‘we’ll be in touch in due course’. Not good enough.

The papers have been filed and I am actually looking forward to finally holding those arseholes in Welsh Government to account. My case is solid. I think I’ll win. But I might not. They will have a solicitor but I’ll be representing myself. They will have unlimited resources, money and access to the digital information and I am on a tight budget and will not have access to the VisitWales systems.

No worries though. I believe that you have to do what you hold to be a morally correct course of action. I just wish I had moved on the Welsh Government years ago.

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Andrew Lamb avatar

Walk leader @ Wales Outdoors, life model @ Cardiff Life Models and poet @ Self Published I opened the first mountain bike hire business in the Brecon Beacons National Park in 1995. Since then my business, Wales Outdoors, has grown and morphed and is now the most active and most popular guided walks and adventure travel provider in Wales. Andy has been a volunteer co-ordinator, guided walks programme organiser and part time central area warden for the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, chair of Brecon Beacons Tourism, a Duke of Edinburghs area co-ordinator, a Princes Trust social inclusion manager, the catalyst for the Brecon Beacons National Park Environment Charter and a key motivator for the inception of the outdoor activity peer group, SWOAPG. Join Me! for a walk or two :)