Featured in the Telegraph
“A bothy like this one, offered by Sawdays, is the ideal spot for a Welsh cwtch”
Below are also interesting extracts from the Travel Article in the Telegraph
How to embrace Welsh word 'cwtch' on your next holiday
As Wales prepares to relax restrictions, hunker down and experience this wonderfully Welsh notion
By Greg Dickinson, SENIOR TRAVEL WRITER 17 January 2022 •
You’ve heard of “hygge” (the Danish word for warm, cosy living); perhaps you’ve sampled “friluftsliv” (the Norwegian love for the outdoors) and you’ve read up on “mys” (the Swedish art of slowing down). But have you heard about “cwtch”, the untranslatable Welsh word which has hit the headlines this month?
Broadly translating as “hug” (but with a meaning that runs far deeper than that), “cwtch” made the news earlier this month when it was uttered in Parliament for the very first time. Brecon and Radnorshire MP Fay Jones said the word while questioning Boris Johnson in the House of Commons on January 5.
Every word uttered in Parliament is recorded verbatim by Hansard, and they flagged last week that Fay Jones was the first person in parliamentary history to say the word “cwtch”. So what does it mean?
Kerry Walker, Telegraph Travel’s Wales expert, says: “What could be more Welsh than a cwtch (pronounced ‘kuch’, rhymes with ‘butch’)? The English translation of ‘cuddle’ falls hopelessly short of this emotional embrace.
“There are cwtches (cubbyholes) at home, where you stash things away, and in pubs – often the cosy nook nearest the fire. Deeply ingrained in the Welsh psyche, a "cwtch .”
invokes the life-affirming bear hugs of childhood – it’s wrapping your arms around someone in a way that makes them feel safe, warm, comforted and nurtured
Doctor Manon Jones, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Bangor University explains the psychological depth of cwtch. “What’s particularly interesting about the cwtch is that it isn’t just felt on our arms. When we embrace someone, a hormone called oxytocin is released. That’s the hormone which generates human connection and underlies trust; in simple terms, it makes us feel warm and fuzzy.
“Combine these physiological reactions with the receiver’s linguistic understanding of what the word ‘cwtch’ implies and that’s a potent mix for strong social bonding. No wonder the Welsh have a reputation for being a friendly and affectionate nation.”
“What’s particularly interesting about the cwtch is that it isn’t just felt on our arms. When we embrace someone, a hormone called oxytocin is released" CREDIT: iStockphoto
There are theories that the London youth slang word “cotch”, which is used to describe feeling comfortable and relaxed, could derive from cwtch. And the word has taken hold elsewhere in popular culture; independent craft brewery Tiny Rebel’s flagship beer is called, you guessed it, Cwtch. You’ll increasingly find it on pumps east of the border, and could do far worse than ordering a pint of the red ale brewed with Citra hops.
Five places to embrace ‘cwtch’ this winter
The Bothy at Coch Hir, Caernarfon
This beautiful bothy hunkers on a hillside overlooking fields to Anglesey, with the mountains of Snowdonia looming behind. There are plenty of activities to enjoy nearby – kayaking, paddle-boarding, and a range of National Trust spots to explore – but you may rather just get cosy by the wood-burner and then retreat to bed in the low-raftered mezzanine. No luxury mod cons here, but perfect for a laid-back couple looking to escape from everything (https://www.sawdays.co.uk)