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Lake Vyrnwy. The Story of a Sporting Hotel

Written by: John  Baynes, George Westropp and Simon Baynes


Published by: Quiller 2019


Rating: **


This book is a rework of the original work about the famous Vyrnwy Hotel with added material bringing its history up to date. It charts its life from the time the reservoir was created as the biggest masonry reservoir in Europe, through changes in ownership, the effect the wars had with the absence of staff and the loss of keepers which hastened the decline of the welsh grouse moors, and how the fishing was developed.


The first section from the original book is very detailed about the ownership and staff changes and I found it hard to get through. As a historical document, it is excellent, as an enjoyable read it definitely isn’t. My wife gave up before the end of this section and I think many would, whereas I persevered and found the later added chapters much more interesting and readable.


I would recommend reading the later stages of the book before staying at the hotel and fishing the lake; the advice is very sound and would prove most helpful.  Similarly, the section on the shooting I also enjoyed even though I don’t shoot as it explains the demise of the grouse and the change to pheasant shooting.


I also think there must be many humorous anecdotes that could, perhaps even should be included which would lighten the tone of the book, especially in the dry first historical chapters.


In summary, the book is worth reading if you know and love the hotel as many do, or plan to visit and fish or shoot, but if you find the first chapters hard going, you lose nothing by skipping them onto the more modern times.