Gwersyll yr Urdd Glan-llyn is a residential activity centre in Snowdonia for children and young people. The centre also welcomes members of the public, who enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities and water sports at Glan-llyn.
On the banks of Llyn Tegid at Llanuwchllyn, near Bala, is Gwersyll yr Urdd Glan-llyn, one of Urdd Gobaith Cymru‘s activity centres for children. One of four Urdd residential centres around Wales, Glan-llyn gives children an opportunity to learn and socialise through the medium of Welsh.
Urdd Gobaith Cymru – The Welsh League of Youth, or “the Urdd”, as it’s more commonly referred to – began its life in 1922 when its founder, Sir Ifan ab Owen Edwards – a resident of Llanuwchllyn – wanted to find a way to help children and young people to keep the Welsh language alive. Through the Urdd the young people of Wales have the opportunity to live vibrant lives through the medium of the Welsh language, while learning to have respect for each other and for all people around the world.
The Urdd organises all sorts of activities for children throughout Wales. Its development officers ensure there is a full programme of activities for Wales’ youth, and in the organisation’s 90-year history some of its members have gone on to become well-known personalities (including the newsreader Huw Edwards, the opera singer Bryn Terfel, and Blaenau Ffestiniog resident and Big Brother contestant Glyn Wise).
The Urdd has 50,000 members; in fact, a third of Welsh speakers aged 8-18 are members of the Urdd. Of these members, a third have learnt Welsh (that is, it’s not their mother tongue). As well as having a vast membership, a further 10,000 people work as Urdd volunteers, active in 900 branches across the country, bringing the huge benefits of Urdd membership to as many communities as possible.
Urdd Gobaith Cymru organises all sorts of activities for Welsh-speaking children and young people, from sports clubs, courses and matches to activity holidays in the Urdd’s residential centres. The Urdd even has its own annual Eisteddfod, which in 2012 – the Urdd’s 90th anniversary – will be held in Snowdonia, at Glynllifon near Caernarfon. The Urdd Eisteddfod is the largest youth arts festival in Europe, where 15,000 children and young people compete in singing, dancing, acting and poetry competitions; much like the National Eisteddfod, but with much younger competitors!
At Gwersyll yr Urdd Glan-llyn, children and young people get to take part in a huge variety of fun activities, through courses, summer camps and weekend breaks. Whether Welsh is their first or second language, young visitors to Glan-llyn have the opportunity to try their hand at an exciting range of watersports and other outdoor activities. Some of the activities on offer at Glan-llyn include kayaking, sailing, high wire courses, gorge walking, white water rafting, rowing and canoeing. There’s also a climbing wall, ten pin bowling, and a disco hall – so the evenings are just as fun-filled as the days!
Although Gwersyll yr Urdd Glan-llyn is mostly used by children and young people, it also welcomes day visitors and offers many of its facilities to the public. And there is a fantastic variety of courses on offer; these include a huge range of outdoor activity courses, as well as Welsh language courses for children and for adults. Welsh is very widely spoken throughout Snowdonia, so if you’re planning a visit to the region and would like to learn to speak this beautiful ancient language while having a fun, active break, Glan-llyn is the ideal place to combine the two!
Gwersyll yr Urdd Glan-llyn is about four miles from Bala, a delightful market town in Southern Snowdonia. If you’re planning a visit to Glan-llyn, it’s worth exploring the town, which has a fascinating history reaching back at least as far as the Roman occupation of Wales. The town’s medieval street layout is still very evident, with a bustling high street that boasts a great range of restaurants, inns and shops. The town and surrounding areas boast several sites of historical and architectural interest, and with the largest natural lake in Wales – Llyn Tegid – on its doorstep, Bala is the ideal base if you’re planning a water sports break in Snowdonia.