The Graveyard

Nick Penfold

Grid Reference Ref SH891401

Nearby Postcode LL23 7NU

LOCAL MAP

One of our most exciting slalom courses. Not as scary as the name makes it sound, but quick and tight. The problems come thick and fast, and the way you handle one gate must set you up for the next. Chris Sladden says it's an excellent, continuous class III+/IV- rapid.

The river accelerates from the warm-up area into a series of small drops, enters a mid-course pool - a classic location for breakout gates and crosses - then plunges again down a fast drop before slowing along a tricky, boulder-strewn channel to the finish.

The course is part of the Welsh National Whitewater Centre (Canolfan Tryweryn) and if you go up there to train before race day you will have to pay to get on the water. There are hot showers in the Centre, which justify the fee all on their own in cold weather. Take your Canoe Wales / SCA / British Canoeing / CANI card for lower rates, and check on water before you go - there is information on planned releases and opening at http://www.canoewales.com/water-level-info and the Water Information Line is on 01678 520826.

The water levels - 7 to 12 cumecs - don't sound very big, but the gradient makes them challenging. This is not the course for your first Div 2 race unless you have quite a bit of whitewater experience, but it is a great place to build up top-level slalom skills.

To reach the centre turn right off the A494 as you enter Bala from the direction of Llangollen, and then turn left off the A4212 about 1 mile north of Frongoch. The centre is well sign-posted.

JS Grading: D

D: ‘Real’ slalom water. Beginners will need some practise to handle this, and some bravery simply to paddle down it.

Even courses that are usually easy can become dangerous in exceptional high water conditions. If in doubt, seek advice or stay off the water.