NAME OF RIVER: Afon Cynfal.
WHERE IS IT?: SH 713409 near Ffestiniog. Map.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Park in a sensible spot at Pont Tal-y-bont on the A496. There is a minor road near by which has enough space to park on. It's a 20-30 min walk in up the footpath on river left. At the second gate, make your way down into the gorge.
APPROX LENGTH: 1.5km
TIME NEEDED: 40 min lap to 2 hours
ACCESS HASSLES: A local farmer that seemed to be based very near the get on told us not to paddle here, fortunately we were in a position not to leave any vehicles there and decided to paddle anyway. Please go up in small groups to avoid unnecessary damage to wild life as this is a SSSI site.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Go the day after rain. It would be hairy with a lot of water in it.
GRADING: Pool drop 4+
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Trees! Lots of trees! Tight falls, blind drops and being in a deep gorge in general.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: This is a marmite river, some people love it and others hate it. This is a stunning gorge that aligns itself East to West so the sun is usually shining on it. Start off by portaging a tree choke (please don't try and remove it as it stops wood from going down into the fun sections). The first major drop is a tight multiple drop constriction finishing into a boxed in weir, can scout/portage on river right with care. Soon after you will find a straight 15/20 ft drop which is difficult to scout, it lands in a deep cauldron. You leave the cauldron via another 15/20 ft drop into another deep cauldron, hard to scout but is possible with care. There is a tree on river left but is easily avoidable by going right! The rest of the river is just smaller rapids with added trees.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pax3DpB-NGI - Last waterfall
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWrbOBoDlIU - Last Waterfall
Ieuan Belshaw on the first constriction, low water. (Photo by Tom Drake).
Ieuan Belshaw on the first waterfall, low water. (Photo by Tom Drake).
The first cauldron showing the first waterfall and the lip of the second waterfall. (Photo by Ieuan Belshaw).
CONTRIBUTED BY: Laurence Brown also Ieuan Belshaw