Why You Should Try White Water Rafting in Winter
White water rafting already provides a very fun and adrenaline-boosting experience, but what if there’s a way to guarantee high water levels and even more fun? That’s where winter white water rafting comes in. Most people only go rafting in the summer months, but here are reasons you should reconsider and try white water rafting in winter instead.
What is White Water Rafting?
We’ve already discussed white water when it comes to canoes and kayaks, but what is white water rafting?
White water rafting involves being in a huge inflatable raft and other passengers, as you work together to manoeuvre the boat down white water rapids. Part of the fun is to expect lots of water, bumps and turns, and maybe even getting thrown out of the boat, all of which provide great adrenaline sources.
Typically a raft holds around 9 -10 people including an instructor so don’t worry you aren’t just going in completely blind, however typically you will be placed in a boat with other adventurous people which again is part of the fun as you have to work with strangers to paddle the boat.
The challenge of your white water rafting experience depends on what grade of the river you are choosing to go to, usually, you are placed on the middle level of the river danger scale, as obviously you want some sort of rapids otherwise you just sailing down a river.
So what about white water rafting in winter?
Why Should You Try White Water Rafting in Winter?
Despite most places being open year-round for white water rafting, the majority of people tend to visit in less cool months, making winter a less popular visiting season. However they are missing out as white water rafting in winter is an experience you must have, especially for those who are more adventurous in spirit. The colder water temperatures and weather conditions are usually a huge turnoff for people when it comes to this activity, but they forget some of the fun.
In winter, there is typically more rain and even snow which results in rivers swelling and bigger water levels, which makes for a much more exciting white water rafting experience. Deepening on the location you chose to visit, you may even be lucky enough to raft in snowy conditions, making for an even more magical time!
What you need in your ‘White Water Rafting in Winter’ Kit
Aside from the main kit, one of the most important things you need on you when white water rafting, no matter what time of year, is an experienced and professional instructor who knows what they are doing. Having a guide is essential, and if you are going through a company, you will already be provided with all the kit and safety equipment you will need. The typical things you should expect to be provided with are a wetsuit, helmet, gloves, a fleece or coat and of course a paddle, but check before visiting in case there’s anything they suggest you bring.
Things you should consider taking yourself would be a change of clothes for after, a towel and suitable shoes such as boots that you don’t mind getting wet.
Best Places for White Watering Raft in Winter in the UK
Due to the UK’s guaranteed cold and rainy weather during winter months it makes it full of excellent locations to check out for white water rafting in winter seasons. Here are a some of the best places to visit:
Cairngorms National Park: River Findhorn and River Tummel – Scotland
Coldwater and rain are to be expected anywhere in the United Kingdom, but Scotland especially is full of it, especially in winter seasons, making it perhaps the best spot to go white water rafting in winter. Cairngorms National Park, measuring twice the size of England’s Lake District, is home to five of the highest mountains in the UK. It is also home to two rivers, River Findhorn and River Tummel, both of which provide amazing water for white water rafting through the Scottish Highland. The River Findhorn is graded at an IV level and is full of waterfalls, rapids and of course white water perfect for anyone of adventurous spirit.
Fort William: The River Garry – Scotland
Home to the highest mountain in the UK, Fort William is considered one of the best spots for white water rafting in Scotland. The River Garry already provides amazing conditions for white water rafting, it has graded III and IV water levels, and with scheduled dam releases there is guaranteed water levels year-round. However, when there has been recent snowfall or rain in the area, the rafting scene expands even further into the nearby rivers Roy and Arkaig providing an excellent spot for white water rafting in winter.
National White Water Centre, Bala: River Tryweryn – Wales
Claimed as ‘the best summer water facility in the UK’, the National White Water Centre located in Snowdonia National Park provides excellent white water rafting experiences year-round. Thanks to it being a dam-controlled river, the River Tryweryn has consistent high flows of water throughout the year, meaning while it may be known for being an amazing water summer facility, there is also fun to be had in the winter months where when it is less likely to be as busy. The Afron Tryweryn is split into two sections, the upper is of a grade of grade III-IV rapids for 2km and the lower section, running 6km, is grade II-III.
Peak District: River Derwent – England
A perfect beginner river, The River Derwent in England may run 66 miles altogether through the Peak District, but don’t worry you are only tackling a section of that. The 4.5 miles stretch between Darley Dale and Matlock Bath is a great white water rafting spot, and think of how magical it will be to raft through the Peak District especially later in the year.
The River Bann – Northern Ireland
A favourite of white water rafters and canoeists alike, the River Bann in Northern Ireland is full of rapids of varying sizes. Mostly consisting of levels around the grade II mark, the River Bann has a very reliable flow in winter months compared to the more predictable ones in summer, so the best time to visit for white water rafting is in winter, but on top of that you are guaranteed high levels of water too from rain and snowfall in the area during this time.