GUIDE TO THE AFON TRYWERYN
(Llyn Celyn to Campsite)
NAME OF RIVER: Tryweryn.
WHERE IS IT?: It is near Bala, flowing out of Llyn Celyn Dam. Take the A4212 from Bala.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Numerous, a path runs along the upper section. It's usual to put in at the car-park below the dam, just upstream of the bridge. You are not usually allowed to paddle from directly below the dam. Take-out either at the NRA Bridge or at the bridge below the campsite (there is a slipway on river right) but you will have to pay for parking if you haven't camped there. Alternatively, carry on down the lower section to Bala if it's open.
APPROX LENGTH: 1.5 miles.
TIME NEEDED: Plenty of playing time...
ACCESS HASSLES: Excellent. The Tryweryn is managed by paddlers, available free of charge when releasing.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Call beforehand to check the dam is releasing...01678 520826. The dam acts to regulate the flow of the river, effectively taking the peaks and troughs out of the river's natural regime, this effectively means this river is paddleable for over 200 days a year unlike any other natural WW river in the UK!
GRADING: Grade 3+. The rapids are continuous and pretty darned fast, hence the river is at the difficult end of Grade 3.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS:Chapel Falls seems particularly unpopular...
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The dam released water collects in a stilling pool below the dam, and falls over a weir creating a powerful stopper, before leading to a wave train. You are not usually permitted to paddle this section, but it's in regular use for rescue/ safety courses. The put-ins will vary depending on river usage and information can be sought at the centre.
The most frequently usable start point is 50m upstream of Pont y Ddol Bridge immediately upstream of a small weir. The river then passes under a bridge and then falls over a small drop and stopper...this recent addition is an excellent cartwheel/ loop spot. Directly downstream is the 'Chipper'; a huge irritating metal grating across the river with only a small gap to paddle through. Embarrassing numbers of paddlers end up pinned on this obstacle...
A long flat stretch gives a chance to prepare for the Graveyard section. This begins where the river bends left. The Graveyard is a long steep boulder garden which is technically straightforward to paddle down (inspect on river left if you're unsure). It is however a superb training ground for your manoeuvring skills...how many eddies can you get?
Nb. Summer 2003 saw huge changes to the Graveyard, it's been remodelled into a 'pooldrop' rapid with more channelled water. Take a look and see what you think.
Spare a thought for the slalom paddlers who do it in egg-shell boats! At the end of the Graveyard on river left was the infamous 'splat rock', a relatively safe place to learn this bizarre 'skill'. However this was removed in summer 2003.
Where the river bends left, a horizon line is visible and you may wish to inspect on river left. The rapid below is the Ski Jump, a long chute into an intimidating stopper. Smarty-pants can break out and surf the wave halfway down or play in the stopper.
Below the Ski Jump is the International wave, followed by another horizon line, this time under a bridge. The drop you are approaching is Fedw'r Gog Falls, with a stopper (and sharp eddy on river left) to contend with. This used to be a pretty 'gnarly' stopper, but has been tamed slightly now by riverbed modifications.
The next section, called the Dog Leg, is a long twisty rapid past the Centre building, with a nice surf wave and stopper to pose on directly in front of the building. This rapid becomes a little steeper (now called The Fingers) after this wave, before fizzling out in a big pool which might be a good spot to stop and go get coffee from the caf.
Underneath the next bridge ('NRA Bridge') you'll probably see a crowd of playboaters queuing for the wave and mini-stopper there, one of the better play spots on the river. The steep surf wave and stopper allow for complex moves to be linked and choreographed into spectacular runs. Or you might just get trashed. Nb. this wave is currently being 'tweaked' and changes regularly, summer 2003.
Dave Bradshaw adds (13/10/01)..'The steep wave and mini stopper above the scaffold bridge (this must be known as NRA bridge now it has been rebuilt, but I will always call it scaffold bridge) is also known as the Haystack.'
Shortly below is Chapel Falls, a natural weir with a dubious stopper at the bottom. Like all of the Tryweryn, paddling over it is technically easy. It does however tend to deal out beatings to those who decide to play in it! It even holds swimmers on river right.
Small but enjoyable surf waves now take you down past the campsite to the takeout bridge.
OTHER NOTES: Summer 2003, anonymous - 'The whole river has recently been changed in its flow due to changes in the graveyard, this makes for more fun eddy hooping as the river is more accessible although the eddies are larger and so it all becomes easier, the ski slope and Fedwrgog falls still present interesting situations though. This is an awesome play and train river. The new graveyard allows people to practise ferrygliding on grade 3 water to perfection. But in the process, the flow speed has increased and some new boofs have come into existence over big rocks; there is always a good surfable wave every few metres, yet truly freestyle machines should stick to the cafe wave (elbow) and the campsite wave, the NRA wave is a challenge but can present some excellent aerial moves if controlled. Splat rock has been removed which is a big shame, but other than that all changes are for the better with bigger stickier holes forming.'
CONTRIBUTED BY: Canolfan Tryweryn, Dave Bradshaw, David Lloyd, Mark Rainsley and others.