Gorge Adventure: A beginner's perspective

I had never been gorge walking before. In fact, I wasn’t even sure what it was or what I would be doing when I agreed to give it a try on a training evening. As I soon learned, gorges are essentially just a narrow valley between hills and mountains that has eroded away over the years.

Lisa, our activities manager, suited me up with a wet suit, a cag (a sort of waterproof top), a buoyancy aid and a helmet. I was advised to bring some old trainers, a t shirt to go under the wetsuit, a change of clothes and a towel. As far as I was concerned I was now fully prepared to hit the gorge, apart from the fact my swimming ability is on a par with that of a small child! I was a little worried about the fact I cannot swim very well however Lisa and Mike advised me that I would be fine.

We headed over to the Sychryd Gorge from Dolygaer which is approximately 30 minutes away and changed into our gear. We started our adventure by checking out a map, as Mike explained to us where we would be heading. Those of us who were not strong swimmers (i.e me) were given a little extra advice on what to expect.

We started off on land, trekking down the side of a hill where I soon hit my first obstacle: having to leap off a small rock into the babbling river. I was worried (it was a cold day!), but with the support from my instructors and the rest of the team I took a leap of faith and threw myself into the water. Even though it was the end of September the water was not quite as freezing cold as I’d expected, though I was still a little shocked. After catching my breath and getting onto my back I started to relax as the river took me down and I stared up at the sun going down behind the trees - it looked beautiful!

When we got to a rocky river we got up onto the side of the gorge and clambered over some rocks. Mike and Lisa gave us all some advice on scrambling safely, like where to lodge your feet safely between rocks and the importance of communicating with the other members of the team. We continued heading towards a more slender part of the gorge until we reached a rocky part of the river and dried off a little. How nice it felt to be dry I thought... until Mike suggested we head straight up underneath a waterfall!

I was a little worried the water pressure would restrict me and I would get stuck but I watched a few others head up under the waterfall and drew comfort from the fact they had successfully reached the top. With only a little nervousness then, I decided I’d give it a go. It was a strange sensation looking for things to hold and pull yourself onto with water coming down your back but I did not feel restricted or limited in what I could do. I succeeded (hooray!) and we took a long walk through the trees to the final obstacle.

This was another, large waterfall. I was a little more nervous for this one, particularly as it was now getting dark. I followed the others to the side of the waterfall where one of our newer instructors, Anthony, explained how we were going to get up onto the waterfall. We had to climb up onto a set of rocks, carefully moving onto the waterfall platform where we got on our hands and knees to crawl across and then jump from the waterfall into the pool below. Even though I am quite afraid of heights, I thought that after everything I had done I should be able to make it. After all, I had a good team around me and they had looked after me well so far, so after a few nerve-wracking minutes I took the leap.

Writing this now I still cannot I have believe I have done it! I overcame every obstacle and fear and had great fun while doing it. All in all, I would definitely recommend gorge adventure to anyone looking to test themselves and have fun outdoors.

Ready for your Gorge Adventure? Visit our dedicated activity page here to find out more, or contact us!

Contact us today on: 01685 848 309

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Opening Days:

  • Monday   09:00 - 17:00
  • Tuesday   09:00 - 17:00
  • Wednesday   09:00 - 17:00
  • Thursday   09:00 - 17:00
  • Friday   09:00 - 17:00
  • Saturday   09:00 - 17:00
  • Sunday   09:00 - 17:00

About Us

Parkwood Outdoors Dolygaer is an activity centre based in the south of the Brecon Beacons, just a 15 minute drive from Merthyr Tydfil. We offer a fantastic range of activities suitable for all ages and abilities

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Parkwood Outdoors Dolygaer Pontsticill Merthyr Tydfil CF48 2UR