Central Wales has some of the principality’s largest lakes.
We visited two of them: Vyrnwy and Bala (in Welsh Llyn Tegyd). Lake Vyrnwy is an artificial lake formed by building a dam which, at the time at the end of the nineteenth century, created the largest manmade reservoir in Europe. At its start there’s a visitor centre and bird hide where the wild life can be abundantly observed.
The lake is surrounded by dense forests. A road goes all the way around it. I remember during one particular hot summer when the lake level fell that I was able to see the traces of a village which had been drowned when the dam was built by the Liverpool water authority. It reminded me of what I experienced at lake Vagli on the rare occasion when that lake was emptied and the submerged village of fabbriche Di careggine saw light again.
Lake Bala is instead a natural lake which hosts a unique species of very ancient fish called gwyniad. The town, which gives its name to the lake and is largely welsh-speaking, has a famous inn, the white lion, praised by George Borrow in his classic book on travels through Wales.
Bala also has a chapel dedicated Our Lady of Fatima, the statue of which was brought here in the 1930s. It’s unusual to find a catholic shrine in this otherwise very non-conformist area.
Bala was once joined to Llangollen and Dolgellau by a railway which closed down many years ago. However, part of the railway has been reactivated and made into narrow gauge. Along it are these little steam-hauled trains with wonderful views over the lake.
Both lakes Bala and Vyrnwy are absolutely idyllic places and it would be easily possible to spend whole summers here, as we have done in the past, swimming, walking and sailing.
it was really good to be back and re-explore these old haunts!