GUIDE TO THE AFON TYWI
(Junction Pool to Dolauhirion)
NAME OF RIVER: Tywi.
WHERE IS IT: South Wales.
PUT INS/TAKE OUTS: Put in: Junction Pool GR773460 towards Llyn Brianne from Llandovery, or any of the bridges along the way.
Take Out: Dolauhirion on the way up to the put in, or any of the bridges on the way.
APPROX LENGTH: Anything up to 16 km.
TIME NEEDED: How fast can you paddle?
ACCESS HASSLES: Currently under negotiation by WCA, please be considerate, not too big a group.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: As long as you don't scrape going over the shingle it will go, in big water getting a swimmer out would be a bit awkward.
MAJOR HAZARDS / FALLS: Trees on the sides, fishermen, 3 drops at grade 3 about, first at the entrance to the deep gorge (it's obvious), the second is shortly after on a bend with an island in the middle (again obvious) and at the take out at Dolauhirion.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The river gently winds through the Twyi valley through farm and forest land, until the bridge Rhandirmwyn is reached. About 1 km below here the river flows into a narrow and high sided gorge with a guarding drop/stopper, the gorge continues in a foreboding manner threatening a drop around the next bend. It never appears and soon the river is back in farmland. Shortly after this there is the drop with the island which can be easily inspected or run on either side.
After this the river drops into another gorge, the next bridge gives a reasonable egress but there is more below to keep you happy. The river continues in much the same vein until the final rapid above the take out, decide as you go, it depends on the water level.
Reg Morris (Jan 2003)...'In spate Junction pool to Dolauhirion Bridge is really grade II with 2 or 3 grade III rapids and one almost river-wide stopper just after the first gorge. This can just be by-passed on the right, but need to avoid a tree across current just below. The stopper might not be there in lower water. Basically a tour unless you have to try rescuing swimmers in the many sections where trees along both banks are in the current.'
OTHER NOTES: I ran the section between the Rhandirmwyn bridge and the next bridge (the best section) shortly after the floods and found dead sheep 7 feet above the water level, be warned it gets very high. There is also a 3km section of grade 4-6 above this running down from Llyn Brianne to Junction pool, I haven't paddled this yet but it recently unseated a friend of mine who is a determined hair boater.
Llyn Brianne is always worth a look too, but I didn't tell you that.
Andy Evans adds...(Nov '01) 'This is a mostly grade 2+ float with a couple of interesting rapids. Ideal for beginner groups and those wanting to work on river leading as you float through a few intimidating mini gorges which make you wonder quite what might be coming up. Excellent beer and food in the Royal Oak, Rhandirmwyn.'
Jeff Handley adds...(Dec '01) 'In flood beware the bottom fall just before the get off, it can produce a horrendous deep recirculating stopper, thankfully I was washed out before my breath gave in.'
CONTRIBUTED BY: Chris Hudson, also Andy Evans, Jeff Handley and Reg Morris.
If you Google nrw Brianne you can see the level in reservoir, if it's dropping fast they are probably releasing. If it's above zero then water is spilling over.
River level was 0.665m on the Dolauhirion gauge. The tree is actually two trees in a big tangled mess just above the water line. From up river it loos like there might under on river left, bu inspection from above looks like there is an other branch above this which will feed you river right, and into the worst of it.
We bailed out, hauling out boats out river left ito the field behind the cottage. From there it's about 1km walk down to the bridge at Penlan where you can definitely get back in safely. There may be some other get in options a little earlier but it's 0.5km - 0.75km walk at least on this side of the river.
As we know there is another definite portage at the end of the third gorge (this is also blocked by trees which have been building for several years now) we decided we didn't have enough hours of daylight left, and walked back to the cars.
Unless someone gets in there with a pretty heft chainsaw it's going to be there a long time.
View from River Right
Whilst writing, there was a really quite big drop right at the end of the gorge which is not normally there which leads me to think there is a tree across the whole of the river holding back the levels. When the levels drop, do be careful out there!