Nestled amidst the Snowdonia hills, Llyn Tegid, or Lake Bala in English, is the biggest lake in Wales. If you want to participate in paddle boarding on Bala Lake, we’ve got you covered with all the information you need.
Bala Lake is part of the Three Lakes Challenge, alongside Loch Awe in Scotland and Windermere in The Lake District. It’s located southwest of the small town of Bala and is known as Llyn Tegid, which translates to ‘Lake of Serenity’ in English.
The lake is between the Berwyn, Aran, and Arenig mountains and Wales’ largest natural lake, measuring almost four miles long, up to ¾ of a mile wide and 42 metres deep in parts. It’s a popular spot for watersports, especially during the warmer months. In this article, you will find further information about paddle boarding at Bala Lake.
Bala Lake is a Site of Special Scientific Interest
Bala Lake is a Site of Special Scientific Interest owned and managed by the Snowdonia National Park Authority. The lake is a hub of recreational activities during the summer months, with canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, and sailboats.
Wildlife at Bala Lake
Bala Lake is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including otters and 14 different types of fish like pike, European perch, trout, eel, and the Gwyniad, a unique whitefish that only exists naturally in Bala and is a remnant of the last Ice Age. The lake is also home to the rare Myxas glutinosa, a species of tiny freshwater snail. You can learn more about the wildlife at Bala Lake here.
Will you spot Teggie, the Beast of Bala?
In this country of Celtic heritage, storytelling is deeply ingrained. The legends, some of which date back to the eleventh century, have been collected in the historic tome known as The Mabinogion. The rugged landscape of mountains, forests, and valleys is said to hold ancient tales, whispered on the breeze and embedded in the geology. While many of these stories are old, the account of Teggie is relatively modern. Kind of like Bala’s own Loch Ness Monster.
Since the 1920s, sightings of a dinosaur-like creature have been reported in the area. Strange disturbances in Bala Lake led to rumours of a prehistoric beast lurking some 40 metres below the surface. Despite the hype, Teggie has always been a camera-shy creature. In the nineties, a Japanese film crew came to the rural market town of Bala with diving equipment and a small submarine, but they returned to Tokyo with little more than some old welly boots and shaky footage of the peaty murk under the water.
Look out for Teggie while you paddle board!
Can you paddle board on Bala Lake?
Yes, you can paddle board on Bala Lake. It’s one of our favourite paddle boarding spots that’s reasonably local to us. It’s a popular activity among visitors, and the lake’s calm waters make it an excellent spot for beginners. Just be sure to follow any local regulations or guidelines for safety. There are many ways to take part, whether hiring a board, taking part in a SUP lesson or self-launching your board. We discuss those further in this article.
Can you self-launch a paddle board on Bala Lake?
Yes, you can self-launch your paddle board at Bala Lake, and there are a few spots to do this. Private launches are the responsibility of Snowdonia National Park, and you must purchase a permit to paddle on the lake before you launch. These can be bought from the Lake Warden’s Office or the pay and display machine in the Foreshore car park.
Bala Adventure and Watersports Centre
We have used Bala Adventure and Watersports Centre many times and always have a great experience! The staff were accommodating and ensured everyone was safe while having fun. Many activities are available here, including kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, and more. We highly recommend this centre to anyone looking for a fun and exciting outdoor experience whilst visiting Bala Lake.
Paddle boarding at Bala Adventure and Watersports Centre
You can hire a paddle board for £16 per hour from Bala Adventure and Watersports Centre. You can also hire a canoe, kayak or double kayak. Half-days and full-days are also available. You’ll receive basic instructions and be told the boundaries.
They also offer a 1/2 day SUP taster for under 16s, which is a paddle board taster session to learn the basic skills and knowledge to enjoy this great activity. The minimum age is 8. And there is also a 1/2 day SUP taster for adults where the minimum age is 16.
Other adventure activities
They offer various options, including canoeing/kayaking, climbing/abseiling, gorge walking, hill walking, sailing, windsurfing, raft building, whitewater rafting, mountain biking, archery, camp craft, and powerboating. They also offer boat trips and canoe hire if you want to relax and enjoy the water. For those interested in team-building or multi-activity days, select the Adventure Activities tab on their website.
Will I need any prior experience?
Don’t worry if you don’t have any prior experience, as most activities don’t require it. However, you must inform them of illnesses or disabilities beforehand so they can ensure your safety. If you plan on participating in water-based activities, you should be comfortable in the water and able to swim at least 25m with the assistance of a buoyancy aid or lifejacket.
Location: Bala Lake Foreshore, Bala LL23 7SR
Safety at Bala Lake
When visiting Bala Lake, there are a few essential safety tips to remember. First and foremost, always wear a life jacket or buoyancy aid when engaging in water activities. Even if you are a strong swimmer, unexpected accidents can happen. It’s also crucial to never leave children unattended near the water. Additionally, be mindful of the weather conditions and never go out on the lake during a storm or if there are high winds. Finally, bring a fully charged mobile phone and inform someone of your plans and expected return time.
Where can I park for Bala Lake?
You can access the lake from Snowdonia National Park Authority car parks. There are two car parks, one on the lake foreshore and another at Llangower. You can find further parking information here.
The foreshore car park is ideal if you want to paddle board at Bala Lake. It is situated on the lake’s edge, making getting straight on the water easy. There are toilet facilities and a cafe; an ice cream van is often on-site during the summer and outside picnic areas. It’s a great spot as there is a small beach/ grassy area where you can picnic and relax. Please be aware that it gets jam-packed in the summer and peak times.
Location: Bala Lake Foreshore, Bala LL23 7SR
Where to camp near Bala Lake
There are a few locations close to Bala Lake where you can camp, and some have lake access to easily launch your paddle board.
Glanllyn Caravan and Camping Park
The park boasts 16 acres of flat, natural parkland filled with beautiful, mature trees and breathtaking views of the hills and mountains in the area, making it the perfect place to set up camp with your caravan, motorhome, tent, or campervan. You’ll have your pick of level grass or hardstanding pitches.
If you’re a fan of water sports, you’ll be happy to know they have a private shingle beach. It has an accessible launching area, perfect for windsurfing, sailing, kayaking, fishing, and paddle boarding. And if you’re into wild swimming, you’ll love Bala Lake’s tranquil and breathtaking mountain backdrop.
But if you’re looking to explore beyond the park, Glanllyn is ideally located at the border between North and Mid Wales, making it convenient to visit some of the area’s major attractions.
Ty Isaf Campsite
Ty Isaf Bala, Camping and Caravan site, is situated along a beautiful stretch of land. It’s part of a working farm, just a short distance from Bala town centre and Bala Lake (Llyn Tegid). The site is well-known for its stunning scenery and picturesque setting.
The camping and caravan area is spacious and flat, with electric hook-ups and fresh water points available. There’s also a play area for children and fishing rights for a frontage of the River Dee, making it an attractive option for those seeking a peaceful break.
You’re allowed to set up awnings, barbeques, and campfires. Pets are welcome as long as they’re well-behaved and kept under control on leads. It’s worth noting that the site is music-free and anti-social behaviour isn’t tolerated.
There are plenty of opportunities for relaxation in the surrounding area. You’ll find several highly-recommended pubs and restaurants in the local area.
Pant Yr Onnen Lakeside Campsite
Located on the southern shores of Bala Lake, near Bala centre, Pant Yr Onnen is a stunning campsite that offers an ideal retreat for everyone. Surrounded by the beautiful Welsh hills within the Snowdonia National Park and set in an International Dark Sky Reserve, this campsite is perfect for those seeking a peaceful getaway.
With lake access, you can enjoy various activities such as sailing, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, paddle boarding, open-water swimming, and cycling. If you prefer a more relaxed approach, you can take in the beautiful mountain and lake views by a campfire near the lake. When you’re ready for more, plenty of tourist attractions are nearby.
The campsite can accommodate touring caravans, tents, campervans, and motorhomes. In addition, there are four charming Shepherd’s Huts that each have their unique features. Please refer to the individual descriptions to find the one that best suits your needs. The site has some wooded areas, approximately half a mile of lakeside foreshore, and various pitches, some of which offer electric hook-ups.
We hope you have found this article helpful! Bala Lake is the perfect destination for paddle boarding with its stunning natural surroundings and peaceful atmosphere. So why not pack your paddle board and head to Bala Lake for an unforgettable experience? You won’t be disappointed.