GUIDE TO THE AFON YSTWYTH
(Blaenycwm Farm to Cwmystwyth Bridge)
NAME OF RIVER: Ystwyth.
WHERE IS IT?: Aberystwyth/Elan Valley Area
Map: Aberystwyth surrounding area, no. 135.
Map.PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Park at the farm in Blaenycwm, GR 843773. Put on at the confluence with Diliw.
Egress at Cwmystwyth bridge,GR 789739.
APPROX LENGTH: 5 km.
TIME NEEDED: Along with the Diliw, 2-3 hrs if you're quick.
ACCESS HASSLES: No access agreement but I have had no problem but be aware during lambing season.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: The Diliw and upper bits of the Ystwyth need a lot of rain. A couple of days solid rain is needed. There is a gauge by the mine workings past Cwmystwyth, anything over half a metre should be ok.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: After confluence with the Diliw, a large stone bridge which sumps on the right, watch out in high water.
One weir before the get out.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: A brief boulder garden needs to be tackled before a large shallow slide is reached. Shoot right. After this is Drover's Bridge. This needs to be taken hard left, large sump on the right, very dangerous in high flow.
The rest of this section is made up of boulder gardens and boulder choked drops. They all run through but pinning is very likely. Also lines can't really be seen until just at the edge of a drop, easily inspected if you can be bothered to get out your boat. The last big rapid of this section is bouncy with some nasty stoppers in high flow. One last steps like rapid before you reach the farm at Blaenycwm. Some egress here.
After a few km of flat water (one low bridge!) you reach the mine workings at Cwmystwyth. As you go around them some unexpected grade 3+ rapids appear.
After a while a little gorge is reached with an annoying rock right in the middle so stay river left.
A little further down is a weir which in spate is quite nasty but usually is a nice play wave/hole.
The best bit of this section is just below the weir where you'll find a nice bouncy grade 3 rapid with some narly stoppers in spate. Egress just below bridge.
OTHER NOTES: Below this there are two gorges, the first is mostly grade 5 and needs high water. There is one broken dam that needs to be sqeezed under (best portage if you can). The second is not advisable but is a great gorge walk in summer. From here to Aberystwyth harbour is grade 2 reaching 3 in high water with 7 weirs to tackle, all easy.
More info from Patrick (July 2004)...'All grid references are for the OS Landranger Aberystwyth (1:50000) no. 135.
The lower section that is popular with intermediates starts at Trawscoed Bridge (GR 666 730) and egress at the bridge near Llanilar (GR 619 757). I have had no access problems but it is private farm land so take care.
Another section for begginers is from the bridge at Llanfarian (GR 590 779) and get out at Aberystwyth Harbour (GR 589 809).
It can be done from Trawscoed to Aberystwyth Harbour but it takes a long time.
The first gorge can be accessed at the egrees for the upper Ystwyth at the bridge at Cwmystwyth (GR 789 738). Egress at Pontrhydygroes (GR 741 728). It is possible to egress earlier but this is the easiest way out.
The second gorge as far as I know has never been run. I have gorge walked it many times and some parts look suspect with some horrible undercuts. One rapid near the end does not look runnable. In high water I dont think there are many places to stop either. Not easy to inspect so at the end of the day it looks like a bit of an expedition. Access at Pontrhydygroes (GR 741 728) and egress anywhere you like as the road follows it all the way down.
My site http://www.clissold.fotopic.net has some photos of me gorge walking in the gorge.'