Snowdonia National Park
The National White Water Centre is situated in Snowdonia National Park. The park first came into existence in October 1951, covering 837 square miles and was the first designated National Park in Wales. When the Information Centre in Bala first opened in the 1960’s, it attracted 1,500 visitors in its first season and continues to provide useful information to tourists to help them make the most out of their visit.
Ten years after the creation of Snowdonia National Park, construction began on Llyn Celyn reservoir. The reservoir was built to supply water to Liverpool; its creation involved the damming of the River Tryweryn resulting in the flooding of Capel Celyn and adjacent farmland. The village was a strong-hold of Welsh culture and language, and with the reservoir providing no immediate benefit to the local community, the move was strongly opposed by inhabitants of Capel Celyn. In 1965 the village was flooded and Llyn Celyn was created, covering more than 770 acres and destroying 12 farms. The reservoir is up to 43 metres deep and can hold up to 71,200 mega litres of water; this would take 91 days to empty on a constant 9 cumec release. In October 2005 Liverpool County Council issued a formal apology for the flooding of the village, which was met with mixed responses from the people involved.
Paddlesport and the Centre
It took less than 10 years for people to begin kayaking on the newly dammed River Tryweryn, and by the mid 1970’s it was a popular destination for white water kayakers and canoeists. The Centre hosted its first Canoeing World Championship in 1981, and continues to hold events and international competitions. In 1985 the UK’s first commercial rafting operation was set up on the Tryweryn and we continue to be Britain’s favourite white water rafting destination. The National White Water Centre building, on the banks of the River Tryweryn, was officially opened in July 1995 by the Chairman of the Sports Council for Wales, Mr Ossie Wheatley.