(Aberglaslyn Gorge)


WHERE IS IT?: It is beside the A498 Capel Curig to Porthmadog road. Map.

PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Consider starting on the Upper Glaslyn or the River Colwyn. Or, there is a layby beside this short section of river to change in. The takeout is at the road bridge where the white water ends. You must stop and get out ABOVE the bridge, however awkward this may prove.

This section is so short that you probably don't need to park there and irritate the residents of the house beside the bridge.

APPROX LENGTH: 500 meters

TIME NEEDED: 3 mins - 30 mins


Don't let the below access agreement put you off. This is a very regular run, there are usually no problems. Sometimes you will find upset fishermen and other times you will find nice people fishing who will bring up their line to let you pass. Just paddle this at sensible levels as discussed below...

Access agreement in full, from Pete Cornes, WCA (march 2004)...

Access/egress points:

Old Railway Bridge 597473. Ample parking, though care should be taken not to block gate
AA telephone box lay-by 593466
Pont Aber Glaslyn (egress) 595462 immediately upstream of bridge.

LAO: Ian Ganderton

Access Agreement

The access agreement between the WCA, the National Trust and the Glaslyn Anglers Association allows canoeing on the Glaslyn between the Old Railway Bridge (700m downstream of Beddgelert) and Pont Aberglaslyn, from 18 October to 1 April. This includes the section of the river known as Aberglaslyn Gorge.

The section of the river from Llyn Dinas to Beddgelert has no access agreement due to the presence of spawning beds.

The river below Pont Aber Glaslyn used to be tidal until the construction of the causeway at Porthmadog. There is no access agreement for this section of the river. The land is National Trust property and the Trust is anxious to keep the pool below Pont Aberglaslyn as quiet as possible to encourage the indigenous wildlife, so please respect this.

For access to Afon Glaslyn, please sign in at The Village Stores, Emrys House, Beddgelert

Please note

1.Maximum group size 6.
2.Access is between Bryn-y-Felin railway bridge Pont Aberglaslyn.
3.Please behave in an appropriate manner for a rural environment.
4.Follow advice on WCA signs.
5.Watch where you walk! There is a wealth of delicate flora on the river bank.
6.Canoeists should have the appropriate Public Liability Insurance.

Please fill in your name, home town/address and whether or not you are a member of the WCA/BCU/SCA or CANI.

Laurence 'Pob' Crow...(Dec '01) The last but one time I paddled it there was a plaque in the wall on the river side of the road about halfway down the long layby. I am positive it said that an access agreement was agreed between the 31 October and 1 April ( fishing close season I assume). I also vaguely remember being told by someone that this plaque had a habit of "disappearing" (hmmmm). The last time I paddled it in Feb 00 the plaque had indeed gone walkabout. Hope that helps. Maybe someone else can shed more light on it (or correct me if I'm wrong).'

Richard Beveridge...(Dec '01) 'The agreed takeout is river left ABOVE the bridge, there is no agreement for canoeing past the road bridge at the takeout.'

Nigel Crompton...(Dec '01) 'There doesn't need to be an agreement to paddle past the road bridge at the take out as until the "Cob" was built at Portmadoc, the Glaslyn was tidal to this point. We are thus entitled to paddle this section anytime without hiderance as it's a Navigation - cargo boats used to be able to get almost to the roadbridge. The river is wide placid meandering downstream of the gorge - tho' heavily populated by members of the Glaslyn Anglers Association! The other hazard is the road bridge at 593414 which isn't very high tends to collect debris. Excellent birdwatching river too. A friend of mine farms the land river left downstream of the roadbridge and also one bank at the top then both banks of the Nantmor, and my mother-in-law lived in Beddgelert for 15 years...'

WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: In the river opposite the top car park river right, there is a red and green sign which shows if it's a good level to paddle. Best to paddle when the water level is in the green. It is possible to paddle when the water level is in the red but you could cause damage to fish spawning on the river bed. The river is green to go at 0.7 on the EA GAUGE. Anything above a 0.9/1.0 is considered medium. 1.2 and above gets hairy.  

GRADING: 3/4+ at low and medium levels. Intense grade 4+/5 at higher levels.

MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Essentially all of it, there is one notable drop half way down called the breaker but that lands in a large deep pool. Go river right. Best walk up from the bottom and inspect the lot if its your first time.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Usually put in next to the red/green tick. Paddle a couple hundred meters to where the rapids begin. It will look steep and intimidating but once you drop in you get a better view of whats going on. This has to be one of the best short section of river in the UK, continuous from the word go right till the end, full of stoppers, waves, drops all the way down, similar to alpine style. The general line is start left then gradually move right above the breaker (half way drop) and then any line goes. Catch your breath back then go for run number 2.

OTHER NOTES: Dave Bradshaw...(Dec 5th '01) 'Is this the biggest white water in the UK? (I haven't paddled the Moriston full on, so I can't compare) We ran it on Thursday, after doing the Colwyn, which was on 6 on the gauge. The grade 3 lead in had turned into a grade 4, and the grade 4 had turned into a grade 5. This was a continuous 500m stretch of White Water, with no breaks. It was littered with big stoppers, and paddling consisted of trying to survive the stoppers, and then trying to recover quickly enough to get a line into the next one. I got squirted so high in the stopper before the big drop, that I did not think it would come down soon enough to be able to pick a line. At this level the big drop has a diagonal stopper on the lip of the fall. When you hit this you go underwater, and run the drop with the boat submerged, and of course when you get to the bottom you go down a long way. The only realistic chance to catch your breath is just after the big drop, where there are eddies on both sides of the river, and then it is into the last stretch down to the bridge, which almost maintains the grade of the previous stretch.'

We haven't paddled the flat bit downstream to the sea...anyone able to tell us about this?

It's pretty flat as it used to be tidal before the cob was built in Porthmadog. Worth doing for scenery. See Nigel Crompton comment above.


Chris Griffiths in high levels. (Photo- Joe Rea-Dickins).

Chris Griffiths in high levels on the breaker half way down. (Photo- Joe Rea-Dickins).

James Smith in high levels. (Photo- Joe Rea-Dickins).

CONTRIBUTED BY: Mark Rainsley, also Laurence Crow, Richard Beveridge, Dave Bradshaw, Pete Cornes and Nigel Crompton, Ieuan Belshaw.