Afon Conwy is a magnificent river which reaches the sea at the grand old town of Conwy, famous itself for its impressive castle. The lower reaches of the river give a splendid grade II paddling excursion which is justifiably popular. The scenery is both beautiful and varied, and the views of the Carneddau mountain range are spectacular. Each spring the Conwy Ascent Race and Tour attracts a hundred or more paddlers who launch at ‘The Beacons’ at the mouth of the river. The 15km trip upstream to Dolgarrog Bridge is eased by the strong tidal streams generated as the rising waters flood in from the sea.
The Conwy estuary is generally well sheltered and can make a bad weather alternative to paddling around the Ormes. Strong winds from the north-west can produce gusty conditions around the Conwy bridges. When coupled with an ebbing spring tide, large standing waves or confused water conditions may be encountered in the harbour area. The tidal steam running through Conwy harbour runs up to 6 knots. Swift action is needed to avoid mooring buoys and moored craft.
In recent years harbour traffic has increased dramatically. Both new marinas have tidal gates and there is often congestion around half tide when these gates open and close. The Conwy estuary is becoming increasingly popular with pleasure craft, jet skis and powerboats.