Bala, Gwynedd

infobox UK place
country = Wales
welsh_name=Y Bala
constituency_welsh_assembly=
official_name= Bala
latitude= 52.911
longitude= -3.596
unitary_wales= Gwynedd
lieutenancy_wales= Gwynedd
constituency_westminster= Meirionnydd Nant Conwy
post_town= BALA
postcode_district = LL23
postcode_area= LL
dial_code= 01678
os_grid_reference= SH925359
population= 1,980
map_type= location map|Wales Gwynedd|label=|position=left|float=none|long=-3.596|lat=52.911|caption=|width=190

Bala (more correctly Y Bala) is a market town in Gwynedd, north Wales, and formerly an urban district of the old county of Merionethshire. It lies at the north end of Bala Lake (Llyn Tegid), 17 miles (27 km) north-east of Dolgellau, with a population (2001 census) of 1,980. It is little more than one wide street, "Stryd Fawr" (Welsh for 'Big Street' but more usually translated as 'High Street'). The main street and its shops can be quite busy in the summer months with many tourists.

Bala is ranked 11th in the list of the highest percentage of Welsh language speakers in Wales. According to the (2001 census), 80.1% of Bala's population are able to speak Welsh fluently, with the highest percentage in the 5-9 age group, 95.7%.

In the 18th century, it was well-known for the manufacture of flannel, stockings, gloves and hosiery. The Tower of Bala ("Tomen") (30 ft. / 9m high by 50 ft. / 15m diameter) is a tumulus or "moat-hill", formerly thought to mark the site of a Roman camp. The large stone built theological college ("Coleg Y Bala") of the Calvinistic Methodists and the grammar school, which was founded in 1712, are the chief features, together with the statue of the Rev. Thomas Charles (1755-1814), the theological writer, to whom was largely due the foundation of the British and Foreign Bible Society. Other famous people from the Bala area include Michael D. Jones, Christopher Timothy, Owen Morgan Edwards born in Llanuwchllyn and T. E. Ellis, born in Cefnddwysarn.

Bala hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1967 and 1997, and is due to host it again in 2009.

The Welsh word "bala" means the outflow of a lake. Bala, Ontario, Canada was named after it in 1868. They have since become twin towns.

Bala Lake ( _cy. Llyn Tegid) is the largest natural lake in Wales. It has frozen over solid - most recently in the severe winters of 1947 and 1963. The rare gwyniad fish — trapped in the lake at the end of the last Ice Age, some 10,000 years ago — is in danger because its natural home is increasingly unsuitable. A member of the whitefish family, it is found only in Llyn Tegid.

Coleg y Bala is at the top of the hill on the road towards Llyn Celyn.The Victoria Hall is a small old cinema, that previously was a community hall.There are several Chapels: notably - Capel Mawr and Capel Bach.The livestock market on Arenig street is still going strong.Bro Eryl estate was built just after the war.

Attractions

The Afon Tryweryn, fed from Llyn Celyn, which runs through Bala is world famous for its white water kayaking. International governing bodies, the International Canoe Federation, the European Canoe Union and the British Canoe Union all hold national and International events there. The Canolfan Tryweryn National Whitewater Centre has its home in Bala. There are at least three local campsites that can cater for the influx of canoeists from many parts of the world.

The Bala Lake Railway ( _cy. Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid) runs for 4.5 miles from Llanuwchllyn to the edge of the town, along a section of the former trackbed of the Great Western Railway line between Ruabon and Barmouth.

An annual music festival known as 'Wa Bala' is also held in the town. The venue hosts local Welsh bands and is similar in format to Dolgellau's Sesiwn Fawr.

ee also

*Bala Series of geologic beds in Bala
*Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania
*Bala Town F.C. The local football (soccer) team.

References

*1911

External links

* [http://www.bala.co.uk/ Bala information]
* [http://www.ukrafting.co.uk/ The National Whitewater Centre - Canolfan Tryweryn]
* [http://www.geograph.org.uk/search.php?i=3491154 www.geograph.co.uk : photos of Bala and surrounding area]


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