by Angharad Evans, Welsh Editor, Y Tir
Thank you! For what?! That’s up to you. The autumn has arrived, it’s thanksgiving season and an opportunity to be thankful for the summer blessings, be it for the harvest (although as I’m writing this month, many are still waiting for dry weather to try to finish the harvest - a slightly different story from just a few months ago!), health, family and friends. We all have something to be thankful for, but very often the simple little word is taken for granted.
After a busy summer of being at the Cornel Clecs desk and travelling from show to show with the sheep, it was time to take a little break and leave the desk and sheep for a few days. Our destination was Carmel near Llanrwst for an opportunity to 'recharge the batteries'.
I enjoy the journey through Corris, Brithdir and Bala and then the second half of the journey towards Betws y Coed, seeing the countryside at its best. One disadvantage of the extremely warm weather at the beginning of the summer was that the grass didn’t grow back after everyone had the first crop of silage, and I lost count of the amount of silage fields that were ready to be baled on the first weekend of September.
Another thing that came to my attention when looking around the countryside was the number of attractions for tourists. Here we are, on the brink of the biggest change to our agricultural industry for decades, we’re all in the same boat trying to predict what the future will offer us. But it is not my place to witter on about the uncertainties and worries of Brexit, but rather to focus on the positives that arises from the uncertainty - uncertainty that has forced some to diversify into different areas to secure additional income for their businesses. From bouncing between the high trees on the outskirts of Betws y Coed to canoeing on a lake, there's something to suit everyone!
To break the journey from home to Llanrwst, it was decided to have lunch near Bala Lake. Of course, we've been there many times before, and every time, the place is packed with people venturing on some activity on the water. But what makes this remarkable lake such an attraction for visitors?
It is the largest natural body of water in Wales and is 3.7 miles long and 0.5 miles wide. The River Dee runs through it and the waters of the lake are deep and clear. Whether it's sailing, canoeing, wild swimming or trout fishing that interests you, all this is possible on Bala Lake.
A bit of myth and magic is associated with the lake too! In the legend of the History of Taliesin, the character Tegid Foel was the husband of the goddess or witch Ceridwen. The place where his court stood is now beneath the waters of the lake. According to folk tradition, the court was drowned one night. It is said that the light of the court and the little town around it can be seen on a moonlit night.
The lake has become famous for another special reason as hundreds of young people flock there for the summer camp, and weekends every year after the Urdd managed to buy Glan-llyn in 1964.
Of course, over the years, the camp has developed, not only in terms of buildings and facilities, but in terms of the activities offered, and also in terms of the age range that take part in the activities. There are now 13,000 young people visiting Glan-llyn annually who enjoy top quality accommodation and activity facilities. With the latest developments the Urdd can ensure that generations of future campers can enjoy the same unique atmosphere on the banks of Bala Lake.
Isn’t Wales a unique country, and we're fortunate of what is on our doorstep, that's enough reason to say THANK YOU!