Activities And Things To Do
On the water
Around 200 miles of coastline. Big beaches. Tiny coves. Slipways, harbours and marinas. Outstandingly beautiful estuaries. Seas, lakes and rivers. We have the locations and leisure facilities for all kinds of watersports – hardcore surfers, sailors with saltwater in their veins or those who simply want a pleasant paddle on the lake. The most fun – allegedly – you can have in a wetsuit is on a wakeboarding or surfing break on the Llŷn Peninsula (wakeboarding at Abersoch is a local speciality, along with surfing at nearby Porth Neigwl). Sailors can choose between the sheltered Menai Strait and the open waters of Cardigan Bay and the Irish Sea. Inland, there are lakes like Llyn Brenig, home to the UK’s highest sailing club, with wind that’s perfect for learning the ropes or competitive sailing
Marinas and sailing
Is there a prettier little port than Aberdyfi on the mountain-backed mouth of the Dyfi Estuary? It’s just perfect, one of a string of sailing havens. Others include Barmouth/Abermaw, Porthmadog, Caernarfon and Y Felinheli. Biggest of all is Hafan Pwllheli, a world-class modern marina and gateway to some of the best sailing waters in the UK, with over 400 berths and excellent onshore facilities.
Want to learn to sail or brush up on your watersports skills? Plas Menai National Watersports Centre near Caernarfon runs a variety of courses and activity holidays. It’s in a just-about-perfect location on the Menai Strait, where the sheltered waters are ideal for sailing, windsurfing, canoeing and powerboating but also have easy access to open sea.
White water, white knuckles
‘The scenery goes by, but there’s no chance to take notice,’ says breathless outdoor writer Jon Sparks as he’s riding a bucking inflatable raft at the National White Water Centre near Bala. ‘There are three possible runs. The Upper River Tryweryn is used for regular runs and taster sessions. An enticing alternative is the Tryweryn Safari, a four-mile trip down the Lower Tryweryn. If this isn’t enough, the Tryweryn Special combines the upper and lower rivers in one mammoth run. None of these sessions demands any previous experience, just a willingness to have a go and an acceptance that you can expect to get very wet.’
Bala by boat (or canoe)
Bala’s Llyn Tegid is the largest natural lake in Wales. Its watersports potential is pretty big too, with local companies offering sailing, canoeing and windsurfing. Other watersports lakes include beautiful Llyn Gwynant near Beddgelert, Llyn Padarn at Llanberis, Llyn Geirionydd hidden away in the Gwydyr Forest, Llynnau Mymbyr near Capel Curig, Llyn Trawsfynydd and Llyn Brenig.
Where to go, that is the question? Along the coast for fabulous sea fishing from sand and shingle beaches, estuaries and rocky shorelines. Or go deep and charter a boat from places like Conwy, the Menai Strait, Abersoch, Pwllheli, Barmouth/Abermaw and Aberdyfi. Game fishermen like it here too. No one is quite sure of the number of lakes we have – it’s certainly over 100. Neither have we measured every mile of our many mountain torrents and lazy lowland rivers. There’s also good coarse fishing at locations like Llyn Trawsfynydd. For superb brown trout fishing you can’t beat Llyn Myngul in the mountains near Abergynolwyn, while the Eisteddfa Fishery near Cricieth offers the best of both worlds – it’s a coarse and trout fishing complex with no less than five lakes.
We’ve got it covered
The free guide Snowdonia, the Active Destination is packed with more information on watersports together with a run-down of all the activities we offer.