The clear waters of Llyn Tegid look cold and uninviting in the warm July sun. Waves lap the shore but the clear, deep water itself is impenetrable. Anything could be lurking just below the surface, and if you chose to believe the local legends then you know that something is.
Stories of “Teggie” the so called Beast of Bala have persisted for the better part of 200 years. They describe a creature somewhere between a sea serpent and a crocodile.
In many ways Teggie shares similarities with a better known lake monster from up north of the border. However the Beast of Bala does not have the global renown of Nessie and many of the locals living along the shore of Llyn Tegid are grateful for the relative peace this offers.
Bala Lake was the largest natural body of water in Wales before Thomas Telford raised the water level as part of his work on the Ellsemere Canal. The almost 4 mile long lake is subject to sudden, dangerous flooding which does little to deter the abundant water sports that attract so many visitors each year.
Monster hunters do visit Bala Lake, but there are no books or films about Teggie to draw them in. In fact the stories of the reclusive lake monster are almost as rare as actual Teggie sightings. Those that exist though all contain the same important point; seeing the creature gives the observer a deep sense of unease and foreboding.
Some may scoff at this but there are many who insist that there is something supernatural about Teggie.
Stories of the supernatural abound throughout the local area, indeed the lake’s name comes from Tegid Foel, a character from the Mabinogi. Acording to legend Bala Lake has a submerged town within its icy depths that can sometimes be glimpsed through the waves. Drowned villages are not just restricted to folklore as the nearby Capel Celyn was deliberately submerged in 1965 as part of a plan to provide Liverpool with water for industry.
Standing on the shore of Llyn Tegid and looking out across the waves it only takes a little imagination to conjure up monsters from the deep. The legend of the Beast of Bala has persisted for centuries and if recent reports are any indication it looks like they will go on for the foreseeable future.
A great project and one which surely deserved to be turned into a book and a film. Look out for August release of Teggie Lucy’s Story written by Roger David Francis.