Bala (Y Bala in Welsh) is a market town in Gwynedd, lying within the old county of Merionethshire. In the 18th century, Bala was famous for the manufacture of flannel, stockings, gloves and hosiery. The town lies at the northern end of Bala Lake (Llyn Tegid) and seventeen miles north-east of Dolgellau and has a population of around 2,000. The town is centered around one wide street, called Stryd Fawr (High Street or Great Street). Bala hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1967, 1997 and 2009. Betsi Cadwaladr, who worked with Florence Nightingale in the Crimea War, and who gave her name to the local Health Board, came from Bala. Bala Lake is the largest natural lake in Wales. The rare fish, The Gwyniad, became trapped there at the end of the last Ice Age 10,000 years ago. It is now in danger because its natural home is becoming unsuitable. The lake can freeze over, which happened in the severe winters of 1947 and 1963.

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