GUIDE TO THE AFON RHEIDOL
(Parson's Bridge to Allt Y Gigfran footbridge)
WHERE IS IT?: Near Aberystwyth. Map.PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Put on at Parson's bridge GR 748792
Take out at Allt Y Gigfran footbridge GR 726782.
APPROX LENGTH: 4 km.
TIME NEEDED: 4-5 hours. It will take a long time.
ACCESS HASSLES: There were no problems when I paddled it.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: You hardly want any water going over the weir at the bridge in Ponterwyd. You want to paddle it in low to medium levels. If it looks flooded leave it alone.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Some major waterfalls and siphons. You NEED a climbing rope, slings and harnesses. This is a real expedition, as Sladden says it's more of a 'gorge walk with canoes!'
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: You start by negotiating the drops at the gorge above Parson's bridge. It is quite a committing gorge. There are a lot of drops and rapids and a lot of it has to be portaged. Some of the portages are not easy.
A fantastic looking 30ft clean waterfall is reached. However the pool is only about 2 ft deep.
More drops bring you to a major horizon line. This is Gyrfarllwyd Falls. It is a definite portage. However the only way around it is to abseil the 60ft down into the pool below. This is why you NEED a climbing rope, slings and harnesses.
The rapid after this sumps badly. The river is nearly done, a few more rapids bring you to the confluence with the Mynach where the impressive Devil's Bridge Waterfalls cascade down. The Mynach enters the Rheidol over a nice drop which is good fun.
Grade III-IV leads you to some mine workings. Get out and inspect these rapids as there is some potential for some nasty pins. Get out at the footbridge.
NOTES: I had a real epic on this river as I didn't take a climbing rope or harnesses. We had to dump the boats above Gyrfarllwyd Falls and climb out. It is near vertical and I never wish to repeat the experience. We came in the next day with ropes and harnesses to finish the river off. Our rope wouldn't pull through and hence is stuck at Gyrfarllwyd Falls. I warn you that it is an old rope so don't rely on it, take your own.
The upper section is less committing.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Patrick Clissold.