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Bala is located at the
head of Llyn Tegid, its famous lake. It is an ideal location for touring
both North and Mid Wales. The town has a range of interesting shops, inns,
restaurants and a historical Town Walk. Bala is a historic market town and
resides within the boundaries of Snowdonia National Park (designated an area
of outstanding natural beauty). It is also within a one hour drive of the
coastal regions and attractions. The area is famous for water-sport
activities which centre around the lake and nearby rivers. Visiting the lake
and seeing the amazing range of water craft is well worth the effort.
Fishing is plentiful as are walking, cycling and other activities. A
miniature steam railway is well worth the ride and accommodation offers
value for money all year round.
The street layout, set up
by Roger de Mortimer from Chirk Castle in the 14th Century (See history
below), is marked out in square courts. Stryt Fawr, the main street, is wide
and has shops along its length - it is where the original markets were held.
The 'lake of the five
parishes' Llyn Tegid is over four miles long and a mile wide at its widest
and is the largest natural lake in Wales. It is home to a unique fish called
the Gwyniad, considered to be a form of Herring and apparently a relic of
the ice-age. Arrangements have been made to ensure its survival should there
be a crisis in Llyn Tegid incidentally!
Bala, a town steeped in
history, was founded by Royal Charter around 1310 by Roger de Mortimer in
order to tame the rebellious locals in the Penllyn District - Penllyn means
'top' or 'head' of the lake. It is interesting to note how these rebellious
'Quakers' came to be in the area. It was during Cromwell's interregnum (an
interval when normal Government is suspended) that a Puritan priest from
Wrexham named Morgan Llwyd, (Better know as 'Morgan Llwyd o Wynedd') became
famous as author of prose and verse in both Welsh and English. He lived in Cynfal Fawr near Ffestiniog and during his journeys between his home and
Wrexham would travel through Penllyn. He began preaching at a place known as
Bodwenni (a large house between Bala and Llandderfel) and built up . a
following in Penllyn.
Many people in Bala made
their living as 'knitters'. Nearly everyone knitted socks and gained their
income by selling them in the popular market. Indeed their 'knitters market' helped make the name of Bala become well known further afield.
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