Somewhere in your daydreams you probably have places you’d like to call home? Your very own ivory tower. We’ve all looked at places and thought “Wow, I’d like to live there.” Well, this is one of those places for me.

Surrounded by the foothills of the Berwyn and Snowdownia Mountains in Wales, is Lake Vyrnwy (Llyn Efyrnwy in Welsh). What makes this lake one of the most enchanting places in Wales for me is the knowledge that under these still waters lies much of the village of Llanwddyn. The residents of Llanwddyn were relocated and in 1881 the Corporation of Liverpool began work on the huge masonry dam. It took nearly seven years to complete and two years to fill.

Llanwddyn was reclaimed back in the 1870’s to make way for the formation of the lake which was to supply water to the booming English port of Liverpool. While the dam was being built the villagers went about their daily routines in its growing shadow. Their village was made up of two chapels, three inns, ten farmhouses, and 37 houses, much of which was knocked down shortly before the lake was filled, but some buildings, including the church, were simply left to the mercy of the water.

The Tower of Vyrnwy would be my home, though as beautiful and awesome as it it, it would probably a lonesome abode. Like something from a fairytale, the iconic building is set out on the lake in solitary magnificence and linked to the shore by an arched bridge. Though this is no home, it is instead the old victorian watch-tower where guards and engineers would watch over the lake and the machinery hidden below the tower which filters the water and sends it on its way to Liverpool, even to this day.

Of course, no one uses the tower anymore. The machinery has been updated and automated and is now controlled from a computer terminal in South Wales. But such facts, though interesting, matter little when one lets the mind wander. This place would be such an interesting home, or maybe just a retreat from a busy life that could afford such a luxury? And maybe one day I’d go diving. Diving to the old homes of the village that’s been under water for more than 100 years. I wonder what is left of it. What secrets it holds, what tales it could tell?

I took these pictures yesterday when Posh and I put the roof down on the car and went out for a drive, enjoying the crisp February air and the welcome blue sky. Afterward we had dinner in the converted stables of former Bishop’s Palace, Soughton Hall. As a huge open fire burned and the sun set, we drank local wine and ate seasonal local cuisine. I had the wood pigeon and Posh had the duck. I can honestly say I’ve never had wood pigeon before, but it was one of those things I felt I had to try once, like frogs legs in France, or Raki in Greece.

The history of Lake Vyrnwy
Visit Wales
Soughton Hall