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Sunday 18th February – River Seiont (grade 3(4)) – White Water Kayak

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People kayaking in the water Description automatically generated

Sunday 18th February – River Seiont (grade 3(4)) – White Water Kayak

We made an early start and met at Bangor Services on the A55 for coffee and breakfast before heading to the Seiont. The level was medium and had stopped going up so we were feeling happy. It was mine and Martin’s first time on the Seiont, but (spoiler alert) it won’t be our last.

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We moved all the boats to one vehicle, left the other at the harbour in Caernarfon and drove to the get-on. There someone immediately hailed Ian as we got out of the car. It turned out to be a group from the West Mids and another group arrived just after us – the latter group were gone within minutes, the West Mids group were shuttling cars while we launched. They asked where we were getting out and when we said the harbour they told us “fair play to you” – which left us wondering whether we’d missed something about this river; was there a grade 5 rapid somewhere downstream we didn’t know about? or some extra gnarly grade 4?

We launched into relatively calm if fast flowing water, lulling us into a false sense of calm, but as the grade started to pick up, it wasn’t long before we came to what was clearly the first and only grade 4 rapid on the river. After a quick inspection, we decided none of us were feeling ready for it this morning so we portaged and continued from below the grade 4. Looking back upstream, it looked like a painful swim if something had gone wrong.

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From here down, the river is pretty much continuous grade 3 with a series of rocky weirs and more natural rapids.  It was non-stop fun and probably the most alpine-like river Martin and I have paddled in the UK. Martin scouted each drop and led us down. It is worth scouting each drop because some of the weirs were very sticky at this level with must-make lines through. After a section of true river-running fun, a couple of bigger weirs brought us to the tidal section of the river. The paddle from this point was on easier water and before long we reached the harbour.

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We all agreed it was a fantastic paddle and one we will definitely be doing again.

Paddlers: Ian Bell, Martin Aldridge, Nikki Aldridge