Langorse Lake (51°55'51.46"N, 3°15'45.92"W) is the largest natural lake in south Wales, and is situated within in the Brecon Beacons national park, near to the town of Brecon and the village of Llangors. The lake is famous for it's fishing (particularly pike), watersports, the afanc (nick-named 'Gorsey') and the only example of a crannog in Wales and England. Llangorse lake is also one of the most mentioned sites in Welsh folklore.
Due to Langorse Lake's long history of human activity it has been known by several different names during its history both in English and Welsh, other names include the lake's Welsh name, llyn Syfaddan, and Brycheiniog Mere.
Llangorse Lake is a eutrophic glacial lake with a 5 miles circumference covering an area of 327 acres 153 hectares. The lake is 1 mile long and 154 m above sea level.
The Lake is a Sight of special scientific interest and has long been regarded as a place where fish and birds are found in unusually high numbers. Gerald of Wales (Giraldus Cambrensis) mentioned the abundace of waterfoul in his travelogue, 'The Description of Wales in the 12th century AD. The largest pike caught by rod in the UK was caught in Llangorse Lake in 1846 by O.Owen and weighed 68lbs3 and the carcass of a pike of unknown weight, but comparable size to O.Owen's catch was discovered by Mike Tunnicliffe on the shores of the lake in 2004
Gorsey, the Afanc of Llangorse Lake
The earliest known surviving litary reference to the afanc or lake monster of Llangorse is in a poem by the 15th century Welsh poet Lewys Glyn Cothi:
Yr avanc er ei ovyn
Wyv yn llech ar vin y llyn;
O dòn Llyn Syfaddon vo
Ni thynwyd ban aeth yno:
Ni’m ty'n mèn nag ychain gwaith,
Oddiyma heddyw ymaith.
The afanc am I, who, sought for, bides
In hiding on the edge of the lake;
Out of the waters of Syfaddon Mere
Was be not drawn, once he got there.
So with me: nor wain nor oxen wont to toil
Me to-day will draw from here forth.
The Afanc would have been well known in local folklore at the time of the composition of the poem and is still sighted to this day.
Oll Lewis, an Ecologist and Cryptozoologist in the Centre for Fortean Zoology has been studying the Afanc of Llangorse Lake for several years has proposed the hypothesis that the Afanc may be sightings of the abnormally large Pike of the lake.