Sunday 13 December 2009

Llangorse Lake -home to a lake monster or a monster fish?

Llangorse Lake in Wales is a glacial lake about a mile (1.6 km) long and fairly shallow in parts about 10 feet (3 meters ) deep on average but up 29 feet (8.5 metres) at it’s deepest point. It is said in folklore to be the home of monster , the Afanc of Llangorse Lake. The modern nickname for this creature is Gorsey,

The earliest known literary reference to the afanc is in a poem by the 15th century Welsh poet, Lewys Glyn Cothi. An extract reads:

Yr avanc er ei ovyn- The afanc am I, who, sought for, bides

Wyv yn llech ar vin y llyn;- In hiding on the edge of the lake;

O don Llyn Syfaddon vo- Out of the waters of Syfaddon Mere

Ni thynwyd ban aeth yno:- Was be not drawn, once he got there.

There have been sightings of the Afanc in the last century.

In 1987, caravan park owner Mark Tunnicliffe reported seeing the Afanc. He had his two dogs with him , which both started barking at the water. One dog, Iggy, jumped in, and landed on a massive pike. Waterfowl had been e seen being taken by something beneath the water.

Then in 1999, Darren Blake was attacked by a 5-6 foot long pike, which resulted in hospital treatment. See the following article:

Terror from the deep as huge pike takes a bite of water skier

The Birmingham Post Sept 1st, 1999

It was no fishy story for water skier Darren Blake as he found himself under attack from a monster pike. The 31-year-old, from Lichfield, Staffordshire, was on Llangorse Lake, in the Brecon Beacons, south Wales, and taking a break from the skiing when the 5ft fish struck "It was horrifying. I felt these huge teeth sinking into my foot and pulling me down. I was just so glad to get out of the water in one piece," he said. "I dropped into the water and kicked off my skis. I was treading water when suddenly I felt these teeth bite into me. "I was yanked down and just pulled my foot up. It was really frightening and I shouted 'Get me out of here'. "The water was too dark to see down but everyone told me there were big pike living in the waters. When I got out my foot was in a real mess and there was blood everywhere. "Mr Blake needed stitches to an inch-long gash on the ball of his foot and six V-shaped toothmarks on his sole. "Looking at the size of its bite some fishermen up there think it could have been 5ft or more long," he said. Mr Mike Tunnicliffe, the 30-year-old manager of Lakeside Caravan Park where Mr Blake was staying, said it was the first time he had heard of the fish attacking a person. And Mr Ron Cousins, of the Welsh Federation of Coarse Anglers, said it was rare for such an incident but he added the fish are "killing machines" and will skulk around the water like sharks.

COPYRIGHT 1999 Birmingham Post & Mail Ltd

Pike can live about 30 years and are predatory carnivorous fish which will eat just about anything. They don’t normally attack people but a fish that large may not see people as a threat or could simply have mistaken the movement for a fish or bird.The largest pike caught by rod in the UK was caught in Llangorse Lake in 1846 by O.Owen and weighed 68lbs. Angling Times has the largest pike on record as being 60lb, but in 2004 a pike mask (skull) of 18 inches was found , estimated to belong to a pike of over 90lb.

So is Gorsey the Afranc a large predatory fish.? The recent encounters would say so. I know Oll Lewis at CFZ has done some research into this. It may be the lake has always been home to various giant pike over the years. There is abundant fish in the lake and it is well known to anglers. I would be wary of having a paddle there in future!

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