DOMINIC Cummings’ infamous journey to Barnard Castle to test his eyesight has put the town firmly on the map – and not in the way everyone would have wanted.

Barney people are still getting over the national media wrongly calling their town Castle Barnard and Bernard Castle. Some believe there is no such thing as bad publicity and more visitors will be attracted as a result.

But they all agree that outsiders, as tempted as outsiders may be to visit, should stay away until it is safe.

Artist Andy Beck who runs the I Love Teesdale Facebook group said there had been increased traffic on the site and he had enjoyed a run on the sale of mugs since the controversy broke.

He said: “The one thing I will say is that until Friday or Saturday many people wouldn’t have even heard of or known of Barnard Castle. They do now.

“People searching online tap in Barnard Castle, then they see Teesdale and then think ‘you know that looks like quite a nice place’.

The Northern Echo:

“There is bound to be more interest in the town. Think of all the people who travel along the A66. How many of them go past the signs that say Barnard Castle and don’t a clue what its about? Many would have thought it is just a castle.

“Now they know that it’s somewhere to go and visit. Once lockdown is finished all power to the good. There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”

Barnard Castle town councillor Sandra Moorhouse, who was dismissive of any links to Cummings in the town’s fortunes, said: “At an appropriate time it would have been a nice to have Barnie on the map, but I am not to sure this is the way we want to have it on the map at all.

The Northern Echo:

“We have a lot to offer at Barnard Castle and I hope that after we get over this dreadful period of time that we work on our big Barnie bounceback.

“And we will do it on our merit as a town, not on some on the back of somebody doing what they are alleged to have done.

“We have an awful lot of well-known people from Barnard Castle, who I sure will support us and give the right sort of tone to the place.”

Town mayor councillor John Blissett said: “It’s done a lot for Barney, in terms of advertising it, but we don’t want anybody here just yet. When the time is right please come. Let’s get everything safe first.”