GUIDE TO THE AFON DULAS
(Tylwch to Llanidloes)
NAME OF RIVER: Afon Dulas.
WHERE IS IT?: Mid Wales, Near Llanidloes. OS Sheet 136 Newtown and Llanidloes.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Access by the bridge in Tylwch GR970801. Egress after the A470 road bridge, there is a track on river left. Alternatively continue down onto the Severn and take out river right after the bridge in Llanidloes.
APPROX LENGTH: 5 or 8 km.
TIME NEEDED: 2 to 3 hours.
ACCESS HASSLES: We encountered no problems, the locals at Tylwch came out to have a look at us and never asked us to leave. The locals at the egress in Llanidloes are used to canoeists (same finish point as the Clywedog) and have always been friendly to us.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Certainly within the banks. Looking downstream from the access point, the right hand bend should have gravel banks visible and look a bit scrapey. Anything above medium spate would be very dangerous.
GRADING: Grade 3/4.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Trees are a definite problem on this river. We encountered at least a dozen strainers, five of which were in one of the grade 4 rapids. Most could be sneaked with care, but both the grade 4s have tree problems. After the first kilometre there is a metal fence completely across the river, portage right. The rocks in the gorge are very slippery, as I found out the hard way!
Mike Wilson...'On 1/02/04 although the upper Wye looked fantastic, we decided to paddle the Dulas (Llanidloes). It turned out to be a disaster and an adventure all in one. I wouldn't recommend this river in its current state. The level was perfect but we had to portage after the first turn in the river as a tree was totally blocking the river. This set the theme for the day. A bit further on two gates are strung across the river which necessitated another portage. We then dropped into the beginning of the gorge and had to portage another large tree. I then scouted ahead, which was quite hard work as you had to climb out of the gorge to work down it. I noticed a strainer where the gorge narrowed round the next corner which required a positive breakout on river left. A couple of us more confident paddlers went down first and we set up safety before the rest follwed. Unfortunately we had a swimmer who we managed to haul out easily enough but his brand new liquid logic Hoss was pinned vertically in the strainer. It took us two hours to get the boat out which involved several climbs in and out of the gorge and crossing to the other side! We then scouted ahead and found two more complete blockages within the next 100 metres. By this time it was about 2 o'clock and not knowing how far down the gorge we were and what lay ahead we decided to walk back out to the get-in. We reckon that we'd only got about 1 kilometre out of the 4.5 km that it's supposed to be. It's a shame that there are so many blockages as the gorge is fantastic, very narrow and quite technical. It needs someone to go down there with a chainsaw! Anyway we had some good prctice at rescue techniques and z-drags etc and it brought home to all of us the importance of taking enough kit, we had about 6 throwlines on the go as we were using them to help us climb in and out of the gorge.'
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: If it wasn't for the trees, this river would be a regular run for me. The gorge sections are tight and comitting, being only as wide as a boat in parts! Good technical paddling with blind bends and must moves, though never overly demanding.
OTHER NOTES: If you choose to continue on to Llanidloes there is one more grade 3 rapid behind the shops in town, however I don't reccomend this section as there were four barbed wire fences to be portaged between the A470 and town. I will, next summer, gorge walk this river accompanied by my bowsaw. Unless anybody beats me to it.