|Bala shown within Gwynedd|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Bala (Welsh: Y Bala) is a market town and community in Gwynedd, Wales. Formerly an urban district, Bala lies within the historic county of Merionethshire. It lies at the north end of Bala Lake (Welsh: Llyn Tegid), 17 miles (27 km) north-east of Dolgellau, with a population taken in the 2001 and 2011 census' of 1,980. It is little more than one wide street, Stryd Fawr (High Street, literally "Great Street"). The High 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 percentages of Welsh language speakers in Wales. According to the 2011 census, 78.5% of Bala's population can speak Welsh fluently, with the highest percentage in the 5–9 age group, 95.7%.
In the 18th century, the town was well known for the manufacture of flannel, stockings, gloves and hosiery. The Tower of Bala (Welsh: Tomen) (30 ft. (9 m) high by 50 ft (15 m) 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.
In 1800 a 15-year-old girl, Mary Jones, walked the 25 miles from her home village Llanfihangel-y-Pennant to purchase a bible in Bala. The scarcity of the Bible, along with the determination of Mary to get one (she had saved for six years), was a major factor in the foundation of the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1804.
Bala hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1967, 1997 and 2009. The 2009 Eisteddfod was notable because the chair was not awarded to any of the entrants as the standard was deemed to be too low. Bala hosted the Eisteddfod Genedlaethol yr Urdd Gobaith Cymru, National Eisteddfod for the Welsh League of Youth, in 2014. On 16 June 2016, Bala's name was changed to Bale temporarily in honour of Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale. This was only for the duration of UEFA Euro 2016. 
The Welsh word bala refers to the outflow of a lake.
Bala Lake (Welsh: Llyn Tegid) is the largest natural lake in Wales. It occasionally freezes over—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 Bala Lake.
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 had been 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 World War II.
The Afon Tryweryn, a river 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 cater for the influx of canoeists from many parts of the world.
|Railway stations in Bala|
- Bala Lake Halt railway station was Bala's first station, on the Bala and Dolgelly Railway (open 1868 to 1882; 1934 to 1939)
- Bala (New) railway station - Bala's second station, on the Festiniog and Blaenau Railway (open 1882 to 1965)
- Bala Junction railway station - The meeting point of the Bala and Dolgellau Railway, Corwen and Bala Railway and the Bala and Festiniog Railway (open 1882 to 1965)
The Bala Lake Railway (Welsh: Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid) runs for 4.5 miles (7.2 km) 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. It terminates at Bala (Penybont) railway station, which opened in 1976 on the site of the former Lake Halt station.
As with the rest of the UK, Bala benefits from a maritime climate, with limited seasonal temperature ranges, and generally moderate rainfall throughout the year. There is a met office weather station at Bala, sited at 535 feet above sea level.
|Climate data for Bala 163 m, 1971–2000|
|Average high °C (°F)||6.7
|Average low °C (°F)||0.9
- Bala Series of geologic beds in Bala
- Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania
- Bala Town F.C., local football team.
- Bala RFC, local rugby union club.
- One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bala". Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 231.
- "No-one worthy of eisteddfod chair". BBC News. 7 August 2009. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
- Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru. a–baldog. University of Wales. 2006. p. 648.
- Freyhof, J. & Kottelat, M. 2008. Coregonus pennantii. In: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.1. Downloaded on 17 April 2010.
- Butt, R. V. J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations: details every public and private passenger station, halt, platform and stopping place, past and present (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85260-508-7. OCLC 60251199.
Jowett, Alan (March 1989). Jowett's Railway Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland: From Pre-Grouping to the Present Day (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85260-086-0. OCLC 22311137.
Jowett, Alan (2000). Jowett's Nationalised Railway Atlas (1st ed.). Penryn, Cornwall: Atlantic Transport Publishers. ISBN 0-9068-9999-0. OCLC 228266687.
- "Climate Normals 1971–2000". YR.NO. Retrieved 3 Mar 2011.
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