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Introducing Bala (Y Bala)

Kayakers, canoeists, windsurfers, sailors, rafters and hikers will appreciate the quiet Welsh-speaking town of Bala. Here you’ll find Wales’ largest natural lake, Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake), as well as the River Tryweryn, hallowed in whitewater kayaking circles.

Bala was a centre for the Welsh wool industry during the 18th century but today it's better known as a gateway to Snowdonia National Park and the park's main water-sports hub. The main street is dotted with adventure sports and outdoors shops, and bustles with visitors in summer.

The Romans had a camp here, the remains of which have been found on private land near the river. Just behind the high street is a Norman motte (castle mound) that would once have supported a wooden castle.

Welsh remains the language of everyday commerce and conversation for 76% of its residents. Local hero and MP Thomas Edward Ellis (1859–99), a prominent contemporary of Lloyd George, was a key advocate for a self-governing Wales; he's remembered with a prominent statue on the main street. One of Ellis' friends was Michael D Jones, founder of the Welsh colony in Patagonia.