Rhandirmwyn and Llyn Brianne

Llyn Brianne is a dam – or is it a lake? I do know that it’s named after a stream called Nant y Bryniau which means a stream in the hills.  It would seem that at some time a map maker had mispelt the word Bryniau and it is said that had the name not been mispelt, Llyn Bryniau may have had a more apt name; “lake of the hills”. Whatever it’s called now, I can tell you that in the early 1960s when it was built, a large amount of landscape went to a watery grave.

Originally, this lake fascinated me because of the solitude and amazing landscape all around it. I knew nothing about the local inhabitants and nearby village – part of which was underwater. One day whilst looking through photographs of Llyn Brianne on Google, I came across the now famous photograph of Fanog Farm which was completely exposed during a very dry summer of 1976. I understand that before the reservoir was built, this farm was actually abandoned. I originally imagined the shock and horror of those people who once lived in it but thankfully, the people who lived there had moved out years before. The For Sale sign was of course put there as a joke – a very short lease!

The nearby village is called Rhandirmwyn – and contrary to foklore it wasn’t submerged when the dam was built. Local folk though were of course extremely scared of the dam. Imagine what would happen if it had broken in the night? Nightmare stuff. Indeed, a couple of years ago, Ian and I camped on a river beach, only a couple of miles downstream from the dam wall (and extremely pleasant it was too). I didn’t realise it at the time but I would have actually been quite scared had I realised where we actually were!

When I visit Llyn Brianne today, I am stunned by the quietness. I often talk about how so very quiet it is and I ask friends to come and visit the place with me as if it has magical properties – even though it takes 4 hours to get to from where I live!

I shall try and visit again next year (2008) and perhaps take an HF radio along so that we can light it up on 80m.

Post Script: I have recently discovered that three Francis-pattern turbines were installed as a “retro-fit” operation to turn this into a hydro-electric plant operating all the year round. Peak efficiency is between November and March producing 4.3Mw – enough electricity to power a small town. Fantastic!

Background story and photographs from http://www.rhandirmwyn.net/, (seeking permission via email 24th Nov 2007)