Y Bala Cynefin


Y Bala

Yn rhaglen ola'r gyfres bydd Heledd, Iestyn a Siôn yn crwydro Bro Tegid. The squire who founded the world's first sheepdog trials and a motorbike racer feature in a visit to Bro...


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Transcript


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-Wales, a country full of history...

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-..where ancient tales

-continuously intertwine.

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-The name of this river has become

-a symbol of rebellion in Wales.

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-These superb views have attracted

-all kinds of characters.

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-I don't think

-that's a coincidence.

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-This week, we're in Bro Tegid...

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-..an area teeming with characters,

-each with their own unique story.

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-Some are historical, some legendary,

-some even more colourful.

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-Some are true stories,

-some slightly more incredible...

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-..but each one a part of us.

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-Cader Idris,

-Aran Benllyn and the Arenig...

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-..loom over a patchwork of farmland

-surrounding Bala Lake.

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-It's easy to see why this area has

-attracted tourists for centuries.

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-Tourism and travel has changed

-this landscape over the years...

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-..but the same people remain here,

-holding onto this special area.

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-This is our habitat.

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-Our journey encompasses Bala

-and Penllyn's five parishes.

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-Llandderfel, Llangower, Llanycil,

-Llanuwchllyn and Llanfor.

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-The five parishes may be linked,

-but they are also very different.

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-It's a rural, agricultural

-and very cultured area.

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-It was Bob Lloyd, Llwyd o'r Bryn...

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-..who coined the phrase "y pethe"

-in reference to Welsh culture.

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-Our journey starts on his home turf,

-east of Bala, in Cefnddwysarn.

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-Cynlas farm is part

-of the Rhiwlas estate.

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-I'm the fourth generation here.

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-I can imagine that farming

-has changed a lot over the years.

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-It has changed, yes.

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-This is a photo of Morgan Hughes,

-my great-grandfather...

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-..with the traction engine

-that worked the thresher.

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-My great-grandfather went around

-Penllyn with the thresher.

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-But tractors came along

-and made the work easier.

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-Farming has changed a lot.

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-Generations grew up here, but Cynlas

-is important locally as well.

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-It was the home

-of Thomas Edward Ellis, the MP.

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-There's a monument to him

-on the main street in Bala.

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-He's buried in Cefnddwysarn

-and was born here in 1859.

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-He was elected an MP in 1886...

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-..with the Liberal party

-in Westminster.

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-It must be a nice feeling...

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-..to share a home

-with a man like him.

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-Cynlas is a lovely place.

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-We've come here on a splendid day.

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-You have been lucky

-with the weather.

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-I do sometimes think...

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-..that we don't appreciate

-or realize what we have around us.

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-This area is a very cultured area.

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-There are ample opportunities here,

-and Bala is well worth a visit.

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-There are magnificent views

-looking towards the town.

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-It's easy to see

-why so many flock to this area.

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-One of the main attractions

-is Bala Lake.

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-So many people have been attracted

-to this area over the years.

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-This week, I'm going on their trail.

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-I'm starting here, on Bala Lake...

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-..then head north to Arenig Fawr...

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-..back through Bala, ending up

-on the other side of the lake.

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-Bala Lake, the largest

-natural lake in Wales...

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-..attracts thousands every year,

-from Wales, Britain...

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-..and maybe, just maybe,

-much further afield.

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-On a cold January night in 1974...

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-..as local families settled down

-in front of their TVs...

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-..they heard a huge explosion...

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-..and the earth shook.

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-They rushed to their windows.

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-Some say they saw orange lights

-falling from the sky to the east.

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-Planes from Anglesey were scrambled

-to search the area.

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-The official explanation

-states that nothing was found.

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-Unofficially, people online claim

-to have seen spaceship parts...

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-..and corpses being hidden

-by the army under cover of darkness.

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-The same thing happened

-in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947.

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-You're heard of Area 51.

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-Could this be Area Fifty-wa?

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-There are ways

-to explain the lights.

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-They could have been linked

-to a military exercise...

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-..or a meteor shower

-seen across the UK that night.

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-And the explosion?

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-Maybe the lake

-had something to do with that.

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-Underneath me now is the Bala Fault.

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-Earthquakes are caused

-by breaks in the Earth's crust.

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-On that night in 1974,

-an earthquake was registered here...

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-..measuring 3.5

-on the Richter scale.

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-But in 2008,

-almost 35 years later...

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-..lights were again seen

-over the Berwyn mountains...

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-..and, closer to home,

-on the banks of Bala Lake.

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-But so far, no-one knows

-what happened that night.

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-Northwest of Bala,

-in the parish of Llanycil...

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-..the River Tryweryn

-flows through Llyn Celyn.

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-But the river flow

-isn't all that has changed.

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-At one time, the GWR's

-Bala to Ffestiniog train...

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-..steamed along where I'm standing.

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-This line was closed

-in January 1961.

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-But unlike the water, even if

-the railway was still here...

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-..it would hardly reach Bala now.

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-I can see where I am now.

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-The railway and the river

-run alongside each other here...

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-..past Arenig quarry

-and where Capel Celyn once was.

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-..then out at the other end,

-the river and the railway...

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-..ran down towards Bala.

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-In 1962, a dam was built

-to block the River Tryweryn.

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-The name became synonymous

-with oppression...

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-..as the water level rose

-and drowned Capel Celyn village.

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-The dam stands on the old site

-of the Tyddyn Halt station.

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-That's not visible now, obviously...

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-..but the old railway line can be

-seen in Frongoch, nearer Bala.

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-The old station still stands...

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-..over 50 years since the Bala

-to Ffestiniog line closed.

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-We're in the old signal box

-at Frongoch station.

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-It's among the smallest signal boxes

-on the Great Western, I'd say.

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-You've got an old photo

-of the station.

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-We referred to it as the belfry,

-and the platform is there.

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-And this is where we are now.

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-That's the signal box, yes.

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-Do you remember the cost of a ticket

-from Bala to Frongoch?

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-In December 1959,

-it was threepence for a child.

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-A one-way ticket.

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-This is the ticket.

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-For an adult, it would be double.

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-But in the old days,

-it cost a penny a mile to travel.

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-There was an old couplet.

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-"For threepence, the land will pass

-Like lightning for three miles."

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-A penny a mile?

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-A penny a mile?

-

-Yes, that's right.

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-You must have heard stories about

-this line that not many have heard.

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-The train came from Trawsfynydd

-one Saturday night.

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-The cushions in the first class

-carriage weren't there.

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-Someone had thrown them

-out of the train there...

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-..to use in their own house.

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-This is another gem.

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-The River Tryweryn

-meandered like a snake...

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-..slowly along the valley.

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-It was a great place

-for salmon to lay eggs.

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-Poachers would go after the salmon.

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-The keepers

-would come up on the train.

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-If the keeper was on the train,

-the guard shone a red light.

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-If it was all clear, no keeper,

-the green light would come on.

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-The guard might well have been

-slipped a salmon for helping them.

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-He must have known the poachers.

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-They probably went up

-on an earlier train!

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-.

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-*

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-Bala's White Lion Hotel

-has a rich history.

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-It was built in the 18th century.

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-Guests include the noted traveller

-George Borrow and Queen Victoria.

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-But the White Lion could well

-have more permanent guests...

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-..than any other local hotel.

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-This place has been full of ghosts.

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-I sense someone here now.

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-An older man, with greying hair.

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-He's got a long black coat.

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-He likes his beer.

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-The name Huw springs to mind,

-but I may be imagining that.

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-That's all I'm getting.

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-I get the impression

-that I know him.

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-I'm not sure.

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-That I remember him

-from when I was a child.

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-He's becoming distant now.

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-That's all I'm getting,

-but he's definitely here.

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-I've been here many times

-over the years.

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-There are many ghosts here,

-restless spirits.

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-We've come across

-28 different ones here.

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-People who stay here

-experience things at night.

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-Banging.

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-Bad smells.

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-Rooms becoming cold, or hot.

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-They also see things, apparitions.

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-In this room, we had a gentleman.

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-He told me that he had come here

-to stay for a week...

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-..to shoot pheasants at Rhiwlas.

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-He wasn't menacing,

-he just wanted to tell his story.

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-That he had come here

-from Grosvenor Park, near Chester.

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-He wanted us to know he was here,

-and that was that.

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-So, you came here

-to exorcise the ghost.

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-Yes, we were invited here.

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-I thanked him

-for making himself known...

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-..and asked him

-to leave the guests alone.

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-And that's what happened.

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-There's an interesting story

-about this room.

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-I got a phone call

-from the lady who ran the place.

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-She couldn't go through this door.

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-I asked if it was locked,

-but it didn't have a lock.

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-I asked if the knob turned,

-but it didn't have a knob.

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-They'd tried kicking it to get in,

-all to no avail.

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-I said I'd try.

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-I put my hand on the door

-and it opened, just like that.

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-There was an old man there,

-an Englishman, very irate.

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-He was angry that the maids

-were interfering with his room.

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-This was his room,

-and he was in charge of the laundry.

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-I asked the two maids

-to apologize to him...

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-..and they did so.

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-They had no trouble afterwards.

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-And he's not there now.

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-And he's not there now.

-

-No, not at this time.

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-Are you sure?

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-Are you sure?

-

-He's not there.

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-When did you become aware

-that you had this ability...

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-..to see spirits

-and to contact the other side?

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-I was about 30 years old.

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-My wife and I and another local man

-went to a house.

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-We went through every room

-on the ground floor except one.

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-We went into it and it was

-like walking into a freezer.

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-A cold wind caught my throat.

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-The hairs on my arms stood on end.

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-Chills began

-at the base of my spine...

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-..and ran up my spinal cord

-to my brain.

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-I had no idea

-what was happening to me.

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-I felt a bang,

-a big bang next to me.

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-Like a sledgehammer hitting a rock.

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-This foul stench filled the room.

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-I couldn't breathe

-and I had to run out.

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-I didn't know what was going on.

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-That's when I realized

-there must be a ghost there.

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-It was a new experience for me.

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-It was a new experience for me.

-

-I can imagine there are believers.

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-But there must also be sceptics...

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-..who think that it's all

-a complete pack of lies.

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-What's your response to those

-who don't believe what you say?

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-People must realize that there are

-very few true psychics around.

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-If that's a good or a bad thing,

-I don't know.

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-But I've helped a lot of people

-to exorcise ghosts from their homes.

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-What's supposed to happen

-when the dead disturb the living?

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-All I do is try

-to pacify those spirits.

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-People are afraid

-to talk about their experiences...

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-..in case others make fun of them,

-and that has happened often.

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-But there's nothing to fear.

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-If you do have problems,

-go to someone who can handle them.

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-Behind me, the River Tryweryn ends

-and joins with the River Dee.

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-Further downstream, in 1804,

-floodgates were built...

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-..by none other than Thomas Telford.

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-Some years

-before his famous bridges...

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-..at Betws-y-Coed,

-Conwy and Menai Bridge...

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-..Telford served his apprenticeship

-building canals in Shropshire.

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-All canals

-need water from somewhere.

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-Telford wanted to find a way...

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-..to transport coal from the

-coalfield of northeast Wales...

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-..to the ports in Ellesmere.

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-He wanted to build a canal

-and needed water to feed that canal.

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-Where would that water come from?

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-From the River Dee.

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-It was an ideal way to create it

-and maintain it at a certain level.

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-But why build floodgates in Bala?

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-It's a long way

-from the industrial north-east.

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-It is, indeed.

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-Telford realized

-that it was possible...

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-..to store surplus water

-in Bala Lake.

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-When the River Dee was low,

-water could be released...

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-..to ensure a constant water supply

-to maintain the canal's level...

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-..and its availability to industry.

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-I notice that Telford's floodgates

-are long gone.

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-There's no trace

-of his floodgates today.

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-This building and the gates

-were erected in the 1950s.

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-I do have some photos here...

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-..clearly from the days

-before health and safety!

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-People working in the middle

-of a dangerous current...

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-..with no harnesses,

-hats or the like.

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-So, this is the River Dee

-flowing beneath my feet here.

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-This is the Dee, yes.

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-But about 100 yards up there...

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-..the Tryweryn flows into the Dee.

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-This is how these gates work.

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-When the Tryweryn and the Dee

-are in full flow...

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-..a lot of that water,

-rather than flowing downstream...

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-..is held back by the gates...

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-..and diverted upstream, incredibly,

-and stored in Bala Lake...

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-..until such time

-as more water is required...

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-..or it poses less of a flood risk.

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-It has also benefitted

-the people of Bala.

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-Scenes like this, flooded homes,

-were once fairly regular events.

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-Fortunately, that hasn't happened

-for decades now.

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-The way this system is operated

-is partially responsible for that.

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-So, if you send water back to

-Bala Lake and control its level...

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-..is it still a natural lake?

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-I was taught, like thousands

-of other schoolchildren...

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-..that Bala Lake

-is Wales' largest natural lake.

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-But, in one way, it isn't,

-because the lake's level...

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-..has been controlled manually

-for over two centuries.

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-It's also officially defined

-as a reservoir now...

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-..because there is an embankment

-to prevent Bala flooding.

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-But it'll always be

-a natural lake to me.

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-I've left Bala for the time being

-to walk the wilds to the north-west.

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-In the winter of 1910,

-Llanelli artist James Innes...

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-..came to sleep wild in Snowdonia.

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-One night, he drank heavily...

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-..and somehow woke up

-at the foot of this mountain.

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-He fell in love with it

-and invited friends to join him.

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-Those friends were artists

-Augustus John from Tenby...

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-..and Australian Derwent Lees.

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-None of them were local,

-but they all lived here a while.

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-They were enchanted by one mountain

-in particular, Arenig Fawr.

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-They slept in a nearby cottage

-but painted on the mountains.

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-They walked all day,

-lugging their equipment...

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-..then, when the light

-and conditions were perfect...

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-..they painted scenes

-before the moment passed.

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-Three wild men

-conveying wild landscapes on canvas.

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-The Arenig school disbanded in 1913.

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-A year later, aged just 27,

-James Innes was dead.

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-Innes painted this image

-of Arenig Fawr.

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-Works by all three survive,

-most in private collections, sadly.

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-But they're a testament

-to this fine landscape...

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-..and the colourful characters

-that passed this way.

0:21:580:22:02

-Running alongside Bala Lake,

-the old GWR line...

0:22:050:22:08

-..once linked Barmouth in the west

-with Ruabon in the east.

0:22:080:22:13

-By now, the Bala Lake Railway

-carries tourists.

0:22:140:22:17

-But the River Dee

-still flows eastwards...

0:22:180:22:21

-..passing through Bala Lake.

0:22:210:22:24

-It's a lake that contains

-some very rare species.

0:22:240:22:28

-We're in the parish of Llangower.

0:22:310:22:34

-Behind us

-is the parish of Llanuwchllyn...

0:22:340:22:37

-..and over there

-is the parish of Llanycil.

0:22:370:22:41

-All three parishes converge

-on Bala Lake itself.

0:22:410:22:45

-How big is the lake?

0:22:450:22:47

-How big is the lake?

-

-The lake is about 1,100 acres.

0:22:470:22:51

-Is it deep?

0:22:520:22:53

-Is it deep?

-

-The deepest point is 43 metres.

0:22:530:22:57

-Apart from being able to stand

-near so many parish boundaries...

0:22:570:23:01

-..why are we in the water?

0:23:010:23:03

-Many will be aware that we have

-a very rare fish here, the gwyniad.

0:23:030:23:08

-We also have an equally rare snail.

0:23:080:23:10

-The glutinous snail.

0:23:100:23:14

-That's a mouthful.

0:23:140:23:15

-That's a mouthful.

-

-It is indeed.

0:23:150:23:16

-How rare is it?

0:23:190:23:20

-It's the only lake in Britain

-where they can be found.

0:23:200:23:24

-It's so small and hard to see,

-and it hides under stones.

0:23:240:23:28

-It was first recorded

-in Bala Lake in 1850.

0:23:290:23:34

-It was recorded in detail

-for about a century.

0:23:340:23:38

-But for about 50 years,

-we thought we'd lost it.

0:23:380:23:41

-Why has it chosen

-this lake as a home?

0:23:420:23:45

-It seems that the water

-is of good quality, very clear.

0:23:450:23:50

-That helps the snail to live here.

0:23:500:23:52

-That helps the snail to live here.

-

-How will we see it?

0:23:520:23:53

-I do have one way

-that makes it much easier.

0:23:540:23:56

-Here it is, the glutinous snail.

0:24:040:24:08

-As an archaeologist...

0:24:080:24:10

-..I know

-from studying snail shells...

0:24:100:24:13

-..that they tend to stay

-in one particular habitat.

0:24:130:24:17

-Their shells show what habitats

-were around there in the past.

0:24:180:24:22

-Would it be possible

-to do something similar with these?

0:24:220:24:26

-What makes these different

-is that they have a mantle.

0:24:270:24:32

-You can see the colours,

-browns and greens...

0:24:320:24:36

-..and gold specks.

0:24:360:24:39

-For people who study snails,

-they must be very pretty examples.

0:24:400:24:44

-The mantle, a kind of jelly,

-probably helps to keep it safe.

0:24:450:24:48

-If a hunter wants to eat it,

-it makes it hard to get hold of.

0:24:490:24:53

-It's an extremely rare snail.

0:24:530:24:55

-It's on a list of critically

-endangered pond species.

0:24:560:24:59

-A list of 18 species

-that we could lose.

0:25:000:25:02

-It's so small, no wonder

-it was missing for 50 years!

0:25:030:25:06

-.

0:25:070:25:07

-Subtitles

0:25:120:25:12

-Subtitles

-

-Subtitles

0:25:120:25:14

-We're roaming Bro Tegid...

0:25:150:25:17

-..an agricultural area

-where early rising is a way of life.

0:25:180:25:22

-This diligence may be one reason...

0:25:230:25:26

-..why some locals have succeeded

-very far from home.

0:25:260:25:29

-I'm now in the parish of Llanycil,

-north-west of Bala Lake...

0:25:320:25:37

-..on the trail of one of Bala's

-most famous daughters.

0:25:370:25:41

-Many characters were attracted here,

-but she left to travel the world.

0:25:430:25:48

-She never forgot

-where she came from, though.

0:25:490:25:52

-Here, in 1789,

-Betsi Cadwaladr was born.

0:25:520:25:57

-Her name is very familiar now,

-at every hospital in North Wales.

0:25:570:26:02

-But it all started for her

-here in Llanycil.

0:26:020:26:05

-When she fell out

-with her family at Pen Rhiw...

0:26:110:26:14

-..and it happened a lot...

0:26:150:26:16

-..Betsi escaped up here,

-to Craig y Fron.

0:26:170:26:20

-These caves fed the imagination...

0:26:210:26:24

-..of a young girl

-who liked music and dance.

0:26:240:26:26

-Her mind was never on her work.

0:26:270:26:29

-It was here that Betsi

-first thought about foreign lands.

0:26:300:26:35

-Those dreams would one day

-take her to London, Singapore...

0:26:350:26:40

-..Tasmania, Rio, India and China.

0:26:400:26:43

-Her final trip, at the age of 65,

-took her to the Crimean War.

0:26:440:26:49

-Her big inspiration

-was nurse Florence Nightingale...

0:26:500:26:54

-..cited by the British press

-at the time...

0:26:540:26:57

-..as a symbol of hope amid the war.

0:26:580:27:01

-Propaganda is one thing.

0:27:010:27:03

-Truth is another.

0:27:030:27:04

-Florence Nightingale,

-if you believe Betsi's stories...

0:27:060:27:10

-..had three hot meals a day

-while other nurses ate leftovers.

0:27:100:27:14

-Florence didn't like the fact...

0:27:170:27:20

-..that Betsi was Welsh

-and working-class.

0:27:200:27:24

-She may also have been envious.

0:27:240:27:26

-Betsi had received

-much more training as a nurse.

0:27:260:27:30

-Things eventually got so bad

-that Betsi had to flee...

0:27:300:27:34

-..closer to the front line.

0:27:340:27:36

-After she came back to Britain,

-the war had left its mark on her.

0:27:370:27:41

-She didn't live long afterwards.

0:27:410:27:43

-But we remember Betsi Cadwaladr

-more now than ever.

0:27:440:27:47

-She's one of Bala's

-biggest characters...

0:27:470:27:50

-..which says a lot,

-because there are so many of them.

0:27:510:27:54

-Another huge character

-is from the Rhiwlas estate family.

0:28:010:28:06

-The Price family can trace

-their roots back to Rhys Fawr...

0:28:060:28:11

-..who led the Perfeddwlad soldiers

-in support of Henry Tudor...

0:28:110:28:16

-..at the Battle of Bosworth Field.

0:28:160:28:19

-But despite the links

-with Henry VII...

0:28:190:28:24

-..it's a Victorian squire

-who's best remembered in Bala.

0:28:240:28:29

-Richard John Lloyd Price,

-or RJ as he was known...

0:28:300:28:33

-..was an author, a gambler...

0:28:340:28:36

-..an entrepreneur,

-an animal lover and much more.

0:28:360:28:40

-He was a man of his time

-who was willing to have a wager.

0:28:410:28:45

-Here is RJ Lloyd Price, Rhiwlas.

0:28:470:28:49

-He established the first sheepdog

-trials in Wales, and in Britain.

0:28:490:28:54

-The man himself.

0:28:540:28:56

-The man himself.

-

-I wouldn't cross him.

0:28:560:28:57

-There was something about him.

0:28:580:29:01

-He was willing to have a go.

0:29:010:29:04

-He was a colourful man,

-a true Victorian...

0:29:040:29:07

-..ready to take a risk

-and see what would happen.

0:29:080:29:11

-He had the oddest ideas.

0:29:110:29:13

-He was ahead of his time, in a way.

0:29:130:29:16

-Table waters, for example.

0:29:160:29:18

-There was a well near Bala,

-St Beuno's well.

0:29:180:29:21

-He decided to sell this water.

0:29:220:29:24

-There's a famous advert

-for these table waters.

0:29:240:29:29

-In Welsh, it stated,

-"cyn oered a nad asyn."

0:29:290:29:32

-As cold as a donkey's bray,

-which is some strapline.

0:29:320:29:37

-Along with the water came whisky.

0:29:370:29:39

-He couldn't see why we had to have

-Scottish whisky or Irish whiskey.

0:29:400:29:45

-What was wrong with Welsh whisky?

0:29:460:29:49

-The problem was,

-it wasn't all that good.

0:29:490:29:52

-It wasn't left to mature

-long enough in the barrel.

0:29:520:29:55

-They sold it too soon.

0:29:560:29:57

-Queen Victoria

-was given a whole barrel...

0:29:580:30:01

-..when she came here

-in 1892, I think it was.

0:30:010:30:04

-We don't know if she drank it

-or whether it's still around.

0:30:040:30:08

-You talk about him as a squire,

-one of the landed gentry...

0:30:080:30:14

-..but he was also protective

-of this area and of Wales.

0:30:140:30:18

-Yes, he was, in his own way.

0:30:180:30:20

-I mentioned the sheepdog trials.

0:30:200:30:23

-He was at London's Turf Club,

-so the story goes.

0:30:230:30:27

-A claim was made that Welsh

-shepherds couldn't handle dogs...

0:30:270:30:31

-..as well as their English

-and Scottish counterparts.

0:30:320:30:35

-RJ Lloyd Price set up a competition.

0:30:360:30:38

-It was held in October 1873,

-at Garth Goch, not far from here.

0:30:380:30:43

-Every local dog took part

-in the first-ever sheepdog trials.

0:30:440:30:49

-Unfortunately, a Scotsman won.

0:30:500:30:53

-He lived in the Hirnant valley...

0:30:540:30:56

-..but he was a Scotsman,

-with a dog called Tweed.

0:30:560:31:00

-In a couple of years,

-a decision was taken...

0:31:000:31:03

-..to hold sheepdog trials

-at Alexandra Palace in London.

0:31:030:31:08

-This time, a Welshman won,

-the tenant at Cwmyraethnen.

0:31:080:31:12

-Fly fishing is the leading form

-of fishing in the Bala area.

0:31:220:31:28

-The Tryweryn and the Dee

-are full of trout.

0:31:300:31:35

-Sea trout.

0:31:360:31:38

-Salmon come up now.

0:31:380:31:40

-There are eels, enormous pike.

0:31:400:31:44

-When I fish, it's just me,

-the rod, the fish...

0:31:450:31:49

-..and nature.

0:31:500:31:51

-Once you catch a fish

-with a fly you've tied yourself...

0:31:530:31:58

-..your heart starts to pump.

0:31:590:32:01

-My grandfather

-opened the shop many years ago.

0:32:040:32:07

-It was one of the first

-angling shops in North Wales.

0:32:080:32:11

-I remember the first fly

-because it was untidy.

0:32:150:32:19

-I've never fished with it.

0:32:190:32:21

-Tying a fly requires

-lots of different material.

0:32:230:32:27

-Cock feathers, hen feathers.

0:32:270:32:30

-Fur. Rabbit, hare, deer.

0:32:300:32:35

-And wool from the fleece

-of a black ram.

0:32:360:32:40

-One fly can take between

-two minutes and half an hour.

0:32:460:32:51

-I'll tie hundreds in a day.

0:32:530:32:55

-You'll never master the craft.

0:32:550:32:58

-There's always

-something new to learn.

0:32:580:33:01

-At the western end of Bala Lake...

0:33:060:33:09

-..is the village

-and parish of Llanuwchllyn.

0:33:100:33:13

-Unlike the snails

-living in the lake...

0:33:130:33:17

-..someone once lived here

-who whizzed around at speed.

0:33:170:33:21

-Officially, he was RJ Edwards,

-but more knew him as Robin Jac...

0:33:220:33:26

-..or by the nickname Y Fellten Goch,

-the Red Bolt of Lightning.

0:33:260:33:31

-He was a Llanuwchllyn lad

-who raced on the Isle of Man...

0:33:330:33:37

-..and was a local hero.

0:33:380:33:39

-The consensus is that if the war

-hadn't disrupted everything...

0:33:400:33:45

-..he could well

-have become world champion.

0:33:450:33:48

-He dressed in a unique way.

0:33:490:33:51

-His helmet featured

-Plaid Cymru's triban logo.

0:33:510:33:54

-He was ahead of his time

-in the 1940s...

0:33:550:33:57

-..in displaying the Plaid logo,

-because it just wasn't done then.

0:33:580:34:02

-His nickname, Y Fellten Goch,

-came from his red leathers.

0:34:030:34:06

-Everyone wore black

-or brown leathers then.

0:34:070:34:09

-I heard later

-that a Douglas garage owner...

0:34:100:34:13

-..had sprayed them with red paint.

0:34:130:34:16

-Twm, you knew Robin

-and I hear he was a bit of a lad.

0:34:170:34:21

-Well, I don't know.

0:34:210:34:24

-His sister's sitting there!

0:34:240:34:27

-This is how I remember Robin.

0:34:280:34:31

-He was quite a character.

0:34:310:34:33

-He always had a cigarette

-in the corner of his mouth.

0:34:330:34:37

-These stories all point

-to a mischievous character.

0:34:370:34:41

-But he had a different side.

0:34:410:34:43

-He was a passionate nationalist,

-as you know.

0:34:440:34:48

-He wrote strict metre verses

-on cigarette packets.

0:34:480:34:52

-Here's one example.

0:34:520:34:54

-"The day after marrying her,

-Robert did something to cross her.

0:34:540:34:59

-"Back he went to his mother,

-And I suppose he's still there."

0:34:590:35:04

-He had hundreds of those

-around the house.

0:35:040:35:08

-At what races

-did he win these trophies?

0:35:080:35:11

-There are two

-Manx Grand Prix trophies.

0:35:110:35:14

-He finished fourth and sixth.

0:35:140:35:16

-There are photos of him racing

-in his first Manx Grand Prix.

0:35:160:35:20

-What year was this?

0:35:210:35:22

-What year was this?

-

-That was 1934.

0:35:220:35:24

-There's a photo

-of him wearing these.

0:35:240:35:28

-Every time he raced

-in the Manx Grand Prix...

0:35:290:35:32

-..he was given one of these.

0:35:330:35:35

-He was very proud to wear those.

0:35:350:35:38

-Then after 1948,

-he turned pro, as they say...

0:35:380:35:42

-..and competed in the TT.

0:35:420:35:45

-The Manx Grand Prix

-was for amateurs.

0:35:450:35:48

-He raced twice in the TT,

-finishing ninth both times.

0:35:480:35:52

-It was quite a feat for a man

-with no resources behind him.

0:35:520:35:56

-He was racing against factory bikes

-and big companies.

0:35:560:36:00

-I'm told he was quite a poacher!

0:36:000:36:02

-I'm told he was quite a poacher!

-

-Yes, he was a poacher.

0:36:020:36:04

-Would he poach fish?

0:36:040:36:05

-Would he poach fish?

-

-Yes, I suppose.

0:36:050:36:07

-And the odd woman too!

0:36:070:36:09

-When he went poaching,

-he had a lookout.

0:36:130:36:18

-The local policeman

-used to flash his torch...

0:36:190:36:24

-..then Robin knew

-that someone was around.

0:36:240:36:27

-Every now and then,

-the policeman got a salmon.

0:36:270:36:30

-Was he ever caught?

0:36:330:36:34

-Was he ever caught?

-

-No, no-one would catch Robin.

0:36:340:36:36

-Certainly not on his motorbike.

0:36:360:36:38

-Certainly not on his motorbike.

-

-No, that's true.

0:36:380:36:40

-.

0:36:490:36:49

-Subtitles

0:36:540:36:54

-Subtitles

-

-Subtitles

0:36:540:36:56

-Motorbikes and poetry may have been

-Robin Jac's big passions...

0:36:560:37:02

-..but the two worlds

-only came together once...

0:37:020:37:05

-..in English!

0:37:050:37:06

-"Two score miles to scare 'em all."

0:37:070:37:10

-That's how Robin Jac

-described the Isle of Man TT course.

0:37:100:37:15

-To practise for the event...

0:37:150:37:18

-..Robin had his very own TT course

-here on home soil.

0:37:190:37:23

-A group of local bikers now follow

-in Y Fellten Goch's tyre tracks.

0:37:240:37:29

-Robin Jac sped through Llanuwchllyn,

-Frongoch, Capel Celyn...

0:37:310:37:36

-..on to Llan Ffestiniog,

-over the Migneint...

0:37:360:37:39

-..Trawsfynydd, Dolgellau,

-Rhydymain, over the Garneddwen...

0:37:390:37:43

-..and back to Llanuwchllyn,

-trying to avoid every policeman.

0:37:430:37:48

-Fortunately for me, our pace

-is more leisurely than Robin Jac's.

0:37:490:37:53

-We follow the same course as he did

-to test his racing bike.

0:37:550:38:00

-Through Bala to Llan Ffestiniog,

-Traws, Dolgellau and back here.

0:38:010:38:05

-It was similar to the Isle of Man.

0:38:060:38:09

-So, that's why he chose it.

0:38:090:38:10

-So, that's why he chose it.

-

-Yes, that's right.

0:38:100:38:12

-How long has the rally been going?

0:38:120:38:14

-For 21 years now.

0:38:140:38:16

-For 21 years now.

-

-That's quite a while, 21 years.

0:38:160:38:18

-Brian, you remember Robin Jac

-and you've taken part in the rally.

0:38:190:38:23

-He lived and breathed motorbikes.

0:38:240:38:27

-I'd like to show you this book.

0:38:270:38:30

-It's almost 80 years old.

0:38:300:38:33

-The motorcyclists' bible.

0:38:350:38:38

-Who's in it?

0:38:390:38:40

-Robert John Edwards, Robin Jac.

0:38:430:38:47

-Are these old bikes

-from Robin Jac's time?

0:38:500:38:54

-Yes, this is a 1949 Royal Enfield.

0:38:540:38:57

-A Model G.

0:38:580:38:59

-What kind of speed could this do?

0:39:000:39:02

-About 70, thereabouts.

0:39:030:39:05

-Seventy miles an hour?

0:39:050:39:06

-What about the other one?

0:39:070:39:09

-What about the other one?

-

-That's the same, 600cc.

0:39:090:39:12

-It's a BSA M21.

0:39:120:39:14

-This is Robin Jac

-coming around the corner.

0:39:150:39:18

-That was taken here.

0:39:190:39:21

-Yes, practising for the Isle of Man.

0:39:210:39:25

-He sometimes went at 100mph

-with a cigarette in his mouth.

0:39:250:39:29

-We don't go that fast.

0:39:290:39:31

-We don't go that fast.

-

-Thank goodness!

0:39:310:39:32

-Y Fellten Goch!

0:39:330:39:34

-Quite a character.

0:39:350:39:37

-Here in Bala, a linguist

-by the name of John Sampson...

0:39:520:39:56

-..discovered that the Romany dialect

-spoken here hadn't been corrupted.

0:39:560:40:01

-With the help of local gypsies,

-for the first time ever...

0:40:010:40:06

-..he made a record of their

-folk tales and their grammar.

0:40:060:40:10

-The two men who helped him

-were Edward and Matthew Wood.

0:40:100:40:14

-The Romany Abraham Wood family

-hailed from England...

0:40:150:40:19

-..but had spread out across Wales.

-some of them settling in Bala.

0:40:190:40:23

-Edward Wood was a harpist

-who knew countless folk songs.

0:40:240:40:29

-It's said that he'd fall asleep

-still playing his harp.

0:40:290:40:34

-But all it took to wake him

-was a pint of beer under his nose.

0:40:340:40:39

-That works for me too.

0:40:400:40:42

-Listening to Edward,

-John Sampson was convinced...

0:40:430:40:46

-..that it was the same dialect...

0:40:470:40:49

-..that Welsh gypsies

-would have spoken centuries earlier.

0:40:490:40:53

-But if he had the gift of the gab,

-Matthew was beyond compare.

0:40:530:40:58

-Matthew Wood was a handsome man,

-with black, curly hair...

0:40:580:41:02

-..who always wore a velvet waistcoat

-and long purple socks.

0:41:020:41:06

-They called him the old hedgehog

-because of his love of animals...

0:41:110:41:16

-..and because he moved so quietly.

0:41:160:41:19

-He sounds more like a character

-from Lord Of The Rings!

0:41:190:41:23

-Most important of all,

-he was a remarkable storyteller.

0:41:230:41:27

-He roamed the area,

-enchanting hundreds with his tales.

0:41:280:41:33

-Sometimes, he got overexcited

-and wove himself into them.

0:41:330:41:38

-This from a man

-who couldn't read or write.

0:41:380:41:41

-Matthew Wood stayed in this area

-until his death at the age of 84.

0:41:420:41:47

-But thanks to John Sampson's visit

-to the Bala area...

0:41:470:41:51

-..we can treasure Matthew's stories

-and local gypsy traditions forever.

0:41:510:41:57

-The Rhiwlas estate is one

-of the largest in North Wales.

0:42:000:42:04

-We're on the trail

-of a former squire, RJ Lloyd Price.

0:42:040:42:10

-Where are we now, Einion?

0:42:110:42:13

-We're on the way

-to find the dogs' graveyard.

0:42:130:42:16

-RJ Lloyd Price

-used to bury his working dogs...

0:42:170:42:20

-..when they were old.

0:42:200:42:23

-There's a graveyard here somewhere.

0:42:230:42:25

-Let's look at the headstones.

0:42:260:42:29

-Here it is.

0:42:330:42:35

-I've heard about this one.

0:42:350:42:37

-This is the grave of Comedy.

0:42:370:42:39

-"Here lies Comedy...

0:42:390:42:41

-"..the best

-and dearest of retrievers...

0:42:420:42:48

-"..accidentally shot by her devoted

-and heartbroken master...

0:42:480:42:54

-"..October 2nd 1877."

0:42:540:42:58

-Wow!

0:42:590:43:00

-Not much comedy for poor Comedy.

0:43:000:43:03

-"Here lies Belle.

0:43:130:43:14

-"Champion pointer of the world."

0:43:150:43:19

-"Five hundred pounds

-was refused for her...

0:43:190:43:23

-"..and she died as she lived,

-happily at Rhiwlas."

0:43:230:43:27

-Well, well, really.

0:43:290:43:30

-He truly respected his dogs.

0:43:310:43:33

-He truly respected his dogs.

-

-We can see from these headstones.

0:43:330:43:36

-They're not some bits of wood,

-they're professionally carved.

0:43:360:43:40

-Very interesting.

0:43:400:43:41

-Very interesting.

-

-And you'd never been here.

0:43:410:43:43

-It's all hidden away.

0:43:430:43:44

-It's all hidden away.

-

-Yes.

0:43:440:43:45

-We've got another cemetery

-to look forward to now!

0:43:480:43:51

-A stone's throw from Rhiwlas

-is the village of Llanfor.

0:43:510:43:55

-Here is the large church, Llan Fawr,

-that gives the village its name.

0:43:550:44:00

-It's said that Llywarch Hen...

0:44:000:44:03

-..the sixth century prince

-and poet, is buried here...

0:44:030:44:06

-..but the exact location

-of his grave is now unknown.

0:44:070:44:10

-But the Price family tomb

-isn't in danger of going missing.

0:44:100:44:14

-If you thought the dogs' graveyard

-was remarkable...

0:44:150:44:18

-..look what he built as a tomb

-for himself and his wife.

0:44:180:44:22

-He put money

-on a horse called Bendigo...

0:44:220:44:26

-..in the Kempton Jubilee Stakes,

-and the old horse won.

0:44:270:44:32

-He won a tidy sum.

0:44:320:44:33

-Some say he'd bet the entire

-estate, which is very dubious.

0:44:330:44:38

-But it was probably

-a good sum of money.

0:44:380:44:41

-He decided to build this

-as a tomb for himself.

0:44:410:44:45

-As you can see,

-there's a poem above the door.

0:44:450:44:48

-As children, we learnt it

-as we would a verse from the Bible.

0:44:490:44:53

-Not at school, but we knew about it!

0:44:530:44:56

-"As to my latter end I go,

-to seek my Jubilee

0:44:570:44:59

-"I bless the good horse Bendigo,

-who built this tomb for me."

0:45:000:45:04

-RJ Lloyd Price, 1887.

0:45:040:45:06

-After building it, he got the Bishop

-of St Asaph to consecrate it.

0:45:060:45:11

-Given the reference to betting...

0:45:120:45:15

-..the Bishop decided

-not to come near the place.

0:45:150:45:18

-They removed the stone arch

-and replaced it with timber.

0:45:190:45:23

-The Bishop came,

-consecrated the building and left.

0:45:230:45:27

-Then they removed the timber

-and replaced the stone arch.

0:45:280:45:32

-He was all there, wasn't he?

0:45:330:45:34

-He was all there, wasn't he?

-

-He most certainly was.

0:45:340:45:35

-He knew what he was doing.

0:45:350:45:37

-RJ Lloyd Price was an innovator

-in the world of sheepdogs.

0:45:440:45:48

-The estate's relationship

-with dogs continues.

0:45:480:45:52

-The current squire,

-RJ's great-great-grandson...

0:45:520:45:56

-..has been president of the

-Welsh National Sheepdog Trials.

0:45:560:46:00

-The annual sheepdog sale

-on the estate's land...

0:46:010:46:04

-..is also a highlight of the year.

0:46:040:46:07

-There are people here from all parts

-of Wales, and all over Britain.

0:46:090:46:13

-Most don't come to buy...

0:46:140:46:15

-..just to have a chat and a cuppa...

0:46:160:46:19

-..and to see friends

-they've not seen for a year, maybe.

0:46:200:46:23

-Looking back,

-what's the record price paid?

0:46:230:46:27

-I think that the record price

-at this sale is 7,300.

0:46:270:46:31

-That was a year or two ago.

0:46:320:46:34

-A lot of people can't fathom

-why the prices are so high.

0:46:340:46:39

-But a dog works every day.

0:46:400:46:43

-People don't think twice about

-buying a new tractor or motorbike.

0:46:430:46:48

-If you put an hour meter on a dog...

0:46:480:46:51

-..I'm sure the dog would work

-more hours than a bike or a tractor.

0:46:520:46:58

-It's easy to come somewhere

-and merely scratch the surface.

0:47:110:47:15

-But this area

-has so much to offer...

0:47:150:47:18

-..be that its history,

-its stories and its people...

0:47:180:47:22

-..and their contribution

-to this community.

0:47:220:47:25

-Who knows, today's stories

-might be tomorrow's legends.

0:47:250:47:30

-S4C Subtitles by Testun Cyf.

0:47:450:47:47

-.

0:47:470:47:47

Yn rhaglen ola'r gyfres bydd Heledd, Iestyn a Siôn yn crwydro Bro Tegid. The squire who founded the world's first sheepdog trials and a motorbike racer feature in a visit to Bro Tegid.


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