Chasing the Afanc

Chasing the Afanc

Of the many creatures that occupy the myths of Wales one in particular seems to be hard to pin down but easily just as difficult to forget – The Afanc. Today the stories told contain hard to track elements that would make any type of investigation difficult, and yet the legend of the creature has persisted through time, which can only mean that there is something solid in its legacy. Amateur monster hunters, lovers of fantasy creatures or even just anyone with an interest in the odd may want to tread in the footsteps of this monster, here is a quick guide of where to track it many years later.

What Is an Afanc?

This is one of the most well known creatures of Welsh folklore, sometimes referred to as the Welsh Loch Ness Monster, the Afanc (sometimes called Addanc) was supposedly a lake monster. Unlike Nessie however who tends to generally be serpent-like in all retellings, the Afanc has been described by different people as quite drastically different forms. Once portrayed as a dwarf creature, short and stunted, another time it was supposed to have resembled a beaver, which although is a short animal, it doesn’t have dwarven proportions. Beaver fur is matted and oily however which would make sense for a creature that lives in water constantly, and maybe the mammals large teeth indicate the monster had a very obvious set of fangs. Contrary to these descriptions however are claims that the Afanc took a form that looked like a crocodile, which is certainly not something you want to stumble across at any point. This vague description makes the creature incredibly difficult to define, but no matter what it looked like the locals believed that it was responsible for both floods and the deaths of anyone who was foolish enough to pass near the lakes in inhabited.

Where Was the Afanc?

Another thing that makes the Afanc so elusive is that it couldn’t be pinned down to one spot. Possibly migrating from lake to lake, (or more likely the frightening story moved around the country and scared anyone close to a body of water) the watery beast was said to occupy Llyn Llion, Llyn Syfaddon, a spot near Brynberian Bridge or of course Llyn yr Afanc which was named after the creature. All of these places can be visited today and you can swim in their waters if you so please (or dare). However of all the different lakes the one most closely related is Llyn Barfog, the bearded lake.

Lyn Barfog is somewhere you need to go if you are chasing the legend of the monster, here the lake itself was surrounded in mystery with all manner of tales including spooky women and bizarre cows in its vicinity. No stranger to weird happenings it makes sense that the Afanc would appear here, but one story says that King Arthur himself came here to rid the people of the creature. Arriving with a magical chain, Arthur is said to have bound and dragged the creature out with help from his horse. This claim is related to the hoof print that remains embedded into a nearby rock. This is the one tactile piece of evidence you will find in the hunt for the Afanc.