Croeso i Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid [Welcome to Bala Lake Railway]
“Home of Alice, the Little Welsh Engine”
Yesterday I made my way to Llanuwchllyn, a little village at the southern end of Bala Lake in North Wales.
I wanted to try out my new lens – a Tamron 18-300 zoom lens, so I decided to take the narrow gauge steam train which runs alongside the lake, a return journey of approximately nine miles.
For the next hour or so, the little train chugged and weaved its way along the track and I enjoyed some great views of the lake, which is nestled among the nearby mountains of Arenig Fawr, Aran Benllyn and Aran Fawddwy, in Snowdonia National Park.
On reflection, it probably wasn’t the best place for experimental photography, given the nature of the journey!!
Llyn Celyn is a large reservoir constructed between 1960 and 1965 in the Tryweryn valley in North Wales.
It is 2½ miles long by 1 mile wide, and has a maximum depth of 43 meters [140 feet]. It can hold 71,200 mega litres of water.
The reservoir is contained behind a rock gravity dam.
At the far end it passes between the mountains of Arenig Fawr and Arenig Fach, in Southern Snowdonia.
Construction of the reservoir involved flooding the village of Capel Celyn and adjacent farmland. When the valley was flooded in 1965, the village and its buildings, including the post office, the school, and a chapel with cemetery, were all lost. Twelve houses and farms were submerged, and 48 people of the 67 who lived in the valley lost their homes. In all some 800 acres of land were submerged.
Many of the stones from the original chapel were re-used in the construction of the Tryweryn Memorial Chapel, at the Bala end of Llyn Celyn.
Families who had relatives buried in the cemetery were given the option of moving them to another cemetery. Consequently, eight bodies were disinterred and the remainder left. The removed headstones are located near the memorial chapel.
People say that in times gone by, when the water level fell very low, you could walk over the little bridge leading to the village.
But nature has a way of renewing herself and, fifty years on, the tranquil beauty of this area is enchanting and strangely haunting. And when I need to find myself, you will find me here in this oasis of calm and tranquillity.
“Hush!” Is that the wind rustling in the trees?
Or is it the chapel bell tolling out beneath the waters of Llyn Celyn?
Gelert’s Trail, the path running alongside the river, leading to Gelert’ Graves
According to legend, this stone monument, situated in a field alongside the River Glaslyn, marks the resting place of Gelert, the faithful dog of the mediaeval Welsh prince, Llewelyn the Great. The story, as written on the tombstone, reads:
“In the 13th century Llewelyn, prince of North Wales, had a palace at Beddgelert. One day he went hunting without Gelert, ‘The Faithful Hound’, who was unaccountably absent.
On Llewelyn’s return the truant, stained and smeared with blood, joyfully sprang to meet his master. The prince alarmed hastened to find his son, and saw the infant’s cot empty, the bedclothes and floor covered with blood.
The frantic father plunged his sword into the hound’s side, thinking it had killed his heir. The dog’s dying yell was answered by a child’s cry.
Llewelyn searched and discovered his boy unharmed, but nearby lay the body of a mighty wolf which Gelert had slain. The prince filled with remorse is said never to have smiled again. He buried Gelert here”.