A Book on Mitochondrial DNA Turns Out to be an Excellent Travel Book to the British Isles

How self adores Bryan Sykes and his book Saxons, Vikings, and Celts:  The Genetic Roots of Britain and Ireland.  She adores him so much that she’s thinking of giving a copy to brother-in-law R as a birthday present.

In particular, she loves his minute exploration of the terrain of England, Scotland, Wales, and every bloody island off the British coast, from the Orkneys to the Hebrides.

Here’s a sample passage, p. 238.  Sykes has spent the last 20 or so pages describing his hunt for Viking DNA in the inhabitants of present-day Wales:

Turning to the clan of Wodan, this hovers around the 10 per cent mark in all three regions of Wales.  However, when I looked at the detailed fingerprints, I found a small cluster in mid-Wales that caught my eye.  There were only half a dozen of them, but they were unusual.   Mr. Rees from New Quay, a picturesque fishing port on Cardigan Bay, Mr. Jones from Mynachlog near Tregaron, and finally Mr. Davies from Lampeter.

Before I draw any profound conclusions, may I recommend Lampeter as the best place in Wales for ice cream.  At the junction of the High Street and the Tregaron Road stands the ice-cream emporium of Conti’s Café.  Going inside, when I was last there, was like returning to the cafés of my youth.  No cappuccinos or lattes here, just weak milky coffee in one of those unbreakable glass cups, served by a waitress in a blue tabard.

You see why this book is un-put-downable, dear blog readers?

Stay tuned.

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