Llyn y Dywarchen

Llyn y Dywarchen

Llyn Y Dywarchen; ‘The lake of the Turf Island, is a lake steeped in myth and legends. It’s a small lake, located above the village of Drws y Coed, in Dyffryn Nantlle, which sits between Y Garn and Mynydd Mawr which rises sharply at either end of the shores.

As mentioned in the ‘Llyn Bwlch y Moch‘ post, in the 19th century the lake was extended by building a wall on the South side of the lake, and also, the direction of the river flowing out of the lake has been changed, from flowing down the River Llyfni into Dyffryn Nantlle, to now, flowing into the Afon Gwyrfai, and into Llyn y Gadair – just behind Rhyd Ddu.

It’s the lake that Gerallt Gymro (Geraldus Cambrensis – an early historian) described when he wrote about a floating island on a lake, as he and his party passed the lake on the way to Caernarfon, while they were enlisting men for Third Crusade in 1188AD. The floating island was either made of turf, or a slab of peat that broke away from the mainland, or detached itself from the bottom of the lake and floated to the surface, and was being kept afloat by the gasses, such as methane  that came out of the marshlands. He noted that farm animals would often be seen marooned on the island, as they would walk on the island while it was resting on the shore, and it would suddenly drift off.  The scientist Edmond Halley (of the comet fame) confirmed that the island was indeed floating, as surrounded by on-lookers, he swam out to the lake, and started rowing – to which the lake floated along! But, unfortunately, the Island we see in the lake today, isn’t the famous floating Island.

There are many legends surrounding the shores of Llyn y Dywarchen. This is the land of the ‘Tylwyth Teg or the little people. As the Legend goes, a young man was returning home to Drws y Coed from Beddgelert, on a bright moonlit night, and came across a number of ladies known as the Tylwyth Teg, who were going about their nightly tradition of dancing and frolicking. Charmed by the beauty of the Ladies, he fell in love with one, and leaped out into their circle, and stole one of the Tylwyth Teg and wanted her to be his wife. She refused, but became his maid instead, but if he found out her name, she would marry him. He heard the other ‘fairies’ talking about her one evening using her name, so she married her with a warning not to touch her with iron. Unfortunately, while attending to his horse one day, an Iron buckle from the saddle touched the Tylwyth Teg, which in a blink of an eye, caused his beloved to disappear for ever.

Another short legend from the lake, is about another man who spotted the Tylwyth Teg one evening, going about their nightly frolics, and invited the man to join them. They danced away, resulting in the man being transported away to a beautiful country, from which it took 7 years to return.

I don’t know much about the old building which once stood where the car park to the lake is now, as I can’t seem to find any information about it online.

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  1. […] away, North of Llyn y Dywarchen, contouring around Clogwyn y Garreg, now lies a strip of marsh lands. Older maps, dating back to […]

  2. Hi Iestyn,
    Just a quick note, the building in the old B&W postcard shot is the original Drws y Coed Uchaf, this had a plaque on the front for many years and I’m sure is still in the possesion of Drws y Coed Isaf, I may be able to find out for you.
    The house was fairly ruined when I was a kid growing up in Rhyd Ddu, the National Park were given permission to demolish the remains and create the little car park.
    Brilliant little website by the way, keep it up.

    Ken Latham

    • Hello Ken! Fantastic, thank you very much for the info. So it’s the original farm house? That’s really interesting, I’m too young to have ever seen the house unfortunately. If you have any other information – such as when it was demolished – or any links to other images of the building, I’d love to have a look. Thank you for the kind words about the site, glad you like it!

      Diolch yn fawr!

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