River report – Lyffni grade II/III – Dec 31st

This is a report of the third new (to us) river paddled in 3 days over New Year, yay! Paddlers were: Alison, Claire, Tim, Heidrun, Helen, Aussie Dave (C1)  and Sue.

After the dark and twisted ways of the Grywfrai the day before, we thought we’d pick one of slightly lower grade and rather more guidebook stars – the Llyfni, 12km II/III.

Ukriverguide description, Welsh Rivers description.

The farmer at the get-in was friendly, but quite firm that he was not happy to let us get on – he’s had hassle in the past from farmers downstream giving him grief for letting people paddle. This was after we’d already unpacked, kitted up and done the shuttle, so a big thanks to Mike, who then shuttled us all again to an alternative get-on we found further downstream – Cheers Mike!

The lower get-in is from a public footpath river right of a road bridge. It misses out “the everglades” and presumably is further downstream than the unhappy farmers – we certainly didn’t have any more problems.

Very pleasant. At first very slow moving, then narrows and picks up speed, twisting through open countryisde, flowing nicely with occasional II rapids, very nice.

On getting briefly near civilization, the river passes under a roadbridge and tunnel – this needed inspecting, as the tunnel contained one wheelbarrow, a bunch of other rubbish, and some metal stakes – keeping far right avoided all this.

Then after a while the river descends into woods. The Llyfni does have a much more “open” feel to it than the Gwyrfai. Still tree hazards to watch out for and sometimes portage, maybe there were 4 or so that needed walking round, but the open aspect of the river meant there were also long read-and-run II/III rapids without having to worry too much.

Alison and Claire river-led, thanks for looking after us! Sue was sweeping, and Tim and Dave buddying up as one pair, Helen and Heidrun as the other. Heidrun did fantastically – this is only her 3rd river ever, a sterling job. One dunking near the beginning (tree hazard) didn’t damp her enthusiasm one bit and she picked good lines.

The most challenging bit C1-wise was a rapid starting with one larger drop between boulders, and then a nice 3 or 4 smaller steps before levelling out. Dave approached the top drop, promptly tipped over, rolled up to cheers and relief all round, still managed to tip over a second time, did the first drop completely upside down, rolled up a third and final time and carried on. We cheered. Nice one Dave, no swims on the Llyfni then.

The rest of the river was happy and dappled and ran nicely with plenty of II/III rapids, a couple of portages, no flat bits, a lovely river.

Towards the end were two weirs, both went at this good mediun level. We finished river left after the road bridge of the main A499 coast road, where Mike was waiting to whisk us away to the Inigo Jones Craft and Tea Shop.

Never been so exhausted – crawled up the bank to the car and collapsed.

A happy 3 days of paddling in good company, hooray!

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