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A whole lotta hassle for the Rev Zeppelin


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A whole lotta hassle for the Rev Zeppelin

Souvenir hunters invade vicar's retirement home that has become a shrine to rock fans

By POLLY DUNBAR - More by this author »

Last updated at 18:00pm on 5th January 2008


For decades, the Rev John Dale has looked forward to retiring to the isolated 18th Century cottage he owns in the Welsh hills.

But his dreams of tranquillity have been shattered - by hundreds of Led Zeppelin fans.

For the property, Bron-Yr-Aur, overlooking the Dyfi Valley on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park in North Wales, is where Robert Plant and Jimmy Page penned the band's third album, Led Zeppelin III, in 1970 and ever since it has attracted hundreds of their followers.

Some have even stolen "souvenirs" from the grounds of the house, after which Plant and Page named a track on the LP.

Mr Dale, 65, the vicar of St Michael's in Michaelston-y-Fedw in South Wales, bought the stone-built cottage in 1972 as a country retreat for his family and, eventually, as a retirement home.

But with renewed interest in Led Zeppelin following their recent reunion gig in London, he is pleading to be left alone.

Mr Dale, who is not a Led Zeppelin fan and did not know of the cottage's connection to the band when he bought it, said:

"I've lost count of the number of people we've had up here when I'm staying with the family.

"We've had people from all over the world - Italy, China, Australia and America.

"Most are polite and, after having a quick look, tend to leave quietly, but we've had more than one break-in and once a photograph was taken near the fireplace and posted on the internet, which we weren't too happy about."

Over the years, three house name signs have gone missing, forcing Mr Dale to take drastic action.

"We've resorted to painting the house name on a ruddy great boulder which I've concreted into the ground," he said.

Mr Dale, a father of four, added: "I am not an unreasonable man but if the visits by fans become more frequent or intrusive, I'll have no option but to think about upping the security measures, which would be a shame.

"It is a beautiful place but people must remember it is a private house surrounded by private farmland."

According to Mr Dale, there is also a misconception about the links between the house and the band. Contrary to popular belief among Led Zeppelin fans, Robert Plant never owned the property and the band visited only once.

But he adds:

"It's the most beautiful, calming, peaceful place you could ever wish to be in. I'm very much looking forward to spending more and more time there when I retire. The scenery is spectacular.

"Despite the rock fans tramping up to the cottage, we've never thought of selling it."

Then, pausing for thought, he joked: "We've never been made an offer from a fan, though. I suppose if it ran into millions, we may have to give it some consideration."


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