GUIDE TO THE AFON ARDDU
(Llanberis Falls to Llanberis)
NAME OF RIVER: Afon Arddu.
There seems to be some confusion over this. There is a confluence about 300m above put in where the Arddu and the Hwch meet. The Arddu is the bigger river at that point so I guess that it keeps its name. The bridge over the river downstream has 'Afon Hwch' on it though. Chris Sladden refers to it as the Arddu, although he does describe paddling it from above the confluence.
WHERE IS IT?: Under the Snowdon Mountain Railway Viaducts, Llanberis, North Wales. Map.
PUT-INS/ TAKEOUTS: Put in at the pool below Llanberis Falls (of Shaun Baker fame). It's signposted from all over the village.
Take out onto the footpath just before the house/coal yard.
APPROX LENGTH: 400m.
TIME NEEDED: Inspection time, plus 5 minutes.
ACCESS HASSLES: There is a footpath running alongside the whole stretch. The path is a popular tourist walk and I've never heard of any objections to people paddling this section.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Water needs to be coming over the front face of the main falls, not just down the main gully.
GRADING: 4 unless very high.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: There is some metalwork from the railway on the riverbed, but this is normally covered at paddleable levels.
Don't forget to put on below the main falls.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: This is a tight grade 4 run which is often working in the evening after a few hours rain on the mountains. It is a good finish to a days paddling elsewhere or a days work.
It consists of a series of small, rocky drops with two larger drops into narrow pools.
You can inspect the whole thing from the path that runs alongside it and there is plenty of room for setting up safety and taking photos.
OTHER NOTES: This river can be paddled from much higher up if you fancy the walk up the Llanberis Path, it's in Chris Sladdens 'The Welsh Rivers'. There's one clean 3m drop directly above the main
falls that looks ok (you can drive up next to it) and then some harder, rockier V-IV falls for about 200m above. Above that is a fun looking creek, all the way from the Halfway House. It's on the list for next time it
rains. There's plenty of white water up here at the moment, it's just stuck to the hills :-)
Check out the guide to the river above Llanberis Falls.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Sam Moore, Boulder Adventures.