The magnificent Bala Lake, otherwise known as Llyn Tegid, is the largest natural body of water in Wales. Glacial in origin and gouged up to 150 ft. deep and 4 miles long, the lake is an irresistible draw for windsurfers and yachters, as well as a renowned site for fishing. The River Dee (Afon Dyfrdwy) runs through it, entering the famously deep and clear waters at the south west of the lake, at Llanuwchllyn, and exiting at the north west point close to Bala.
Interestingly, Llyn Tegid translates as ‘The Lake of Serenity’, which is a fitting title considering its tranquil ambience and breathtaking surroundings. Steeped in legend, the lake is said to be home to a monster known affectionately as ‘Teggie’. It is also claimed that on moonlit nights the towers and buildings of a sunken village are visible through the water.
As a nature reserve of international importance, Bala Lake supports an abundance of wildlife, including good populations of fish such as Perch, Pike, Roach, Brown Trout and Eel. A legacy of its icy origins is the rare and unique whitefish Gwyniad, found within the deepest reaches of the lake and now a protected species. This fish is no longer found anywhere else in Britain. The lake also contains the very rare mollusc Myxas glutinosa, otherwise referred to as the Glutinous snail. Plants of special note include the rare Water Plantain. Over 120 species of bird have been recorded in the area, including Bewick Swan, Black-throated Diver and Green Sandpiper. Those most likely to be seen include Cormorant, Little and Great Crested Grebes, Coot, Heron and several species of Duck.
Other popular lakeside attractions include the charming and scenic narrow gauge steam engine, The Bala Lake Railway. Recognised as one of The Great Little Trains of Wales, it runs regular journeys along the southern shore of the lake, between Bala and Llanuwchllyn. The town of Bala itself sits at the northern end of the lake and is an ideal spot for exploring North Wales, particularly the southern area of the Snowdonia National Park.
Bala Lake is widely used by water sport enthusiasts, due to the winds that sweep through its mountain valley setting. Kayaks, Canoes and windsurfs can be hired as well sailing boats, rowing boats and pedalos. Its shoreline is readily accessible by road and the lake has numerous lay-bys, car parks and picnic sites from which to take a lakeside ramble.