What is Canyoning?

A Guide to Canyoning in North Wales

This is a question we get asked a lot! The adventure activity knows as ‘canyoning‘ is basically when you descend a river just wearing a wetsuit and a buoyancy aid. This means you’ll be scrambling, swimming, sliding and jumping your way down a cascading Welsh river. This is almost certainly our most popular adventure activity and is suitable for anyone between the ages of 11 and 70+.

The Canyoning Adventure

We start by getting geared up. This means changing in to a wetsuit, putting on a safety harness, a buoyancy aid and finally a helmet. These items help keep you warm and safe whilst you’re navigating your way down the river! Then when we’re ready, your instructor will guide you to the start of the river.

Take a deep breath and go for the plunge!

The first bit’s the worst bit! If you’re brave you can throw yourself straight off the riverbank in to the water; there’s no point delaying the inevitable! If you’d rather a less intense approach you can carefully lower yourself in and swim across the first pool.

Next up the slide underneath the waterfall, this is good when the river’s high!

Once everyone has crossed the first pool, we then have to pass the slide under the waterfall. In high water this section is really exciting! The waterfall creates a big curtain that you have to get inside before sliding down the slide and in to a section of the gorge. Another pool leads to another waterfall slide, we put a rope on this so you can slide down nice a carefully.

For this slide we go steady, using the rope to control your speed

The next area is the big pool area. This is where we can do the jumps. From the edge, you can climb up the rocks starting from the smallest ledge at about 1ft (good for small or scared people!) to the biggest jump which is about 10ft. Sometimes we organise a relay race; pandemonium in the river!

This is where you can jump in

Next is some scrambling and swimming, passing small pools and slides. There are some interesting features that we encounter including remnants of an old mining bridge, some rare plants and mosses and unusual rock formations. In the end we arrive at the final obstacle: the BIG slides! These series of giant natural water slides cut through the canyon for almost 250ft before ending at a 40ft waterfall. 

The big slides, clipped to the rope for safety!

Slides, Waterfalls and an Abseil / Zipline

After a safety briefing, we get clipped in to the rope and start sliding down. When we arrive at the top of the waterfall we either abseil off the edge or zipline straight off the top (small group abseil, large group zip-line). This lands you in the middle of the final pool where we can go for a swim under the waterfall before regrouping on the beach and climbing out of the canyon.

The grand finale! Zipline off the 40ft waterfall

The canyon trip is suitable for anyone who has some level of fitness. Normally we enforce a minimum age of 11 but this is a guide only. If the river is very high then smaller children will not be able to descend the slides where as if the water level is very low, we’ve had children as young as 6 complete the trip without any problems.

All obstacles on the trip are avoidable so if there’s something you don’t like the look of you can just go around it! Although you’ll find the trip easier and less scary if you can swim, all participants wear a buoyancy aid that makes you float; we’ve taken plenty of groups that can’t swim confidently and everyone has always found the trip very rewarding.

How to Book Your Adventure

The best way to organise your canyoning trip is to book online using our online booking system. You can select your date, time and the number of participants and once you’ve booked you’ll automatically receive all the relevant information like where you’re meeting, what you need to bring etc.

If you’re part of a bigger group then the best thing to do is contact us via the online form and we can organise your trip from there.

Need More Adventure? Canyon Xtreme is for YOU!

If you think this all sounds good but a bit tame, you need to check out our Canyon Xtreme trip. This trip offers everything the normal canyon does, plus we continue to an area with some seriously exciting features including a slide off a 15ft waterfall, jumps up to 45ft, more slides and pools to a climb out up a waterfall stream. You can watch a video of the trip here. Check out this blog post for more information on the trip here (coming soon).


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