Llyn Padarn is approximately 3k long and 450m wide and runs in a SE to NW aspect. Access is simple with a selection of access points and car parks around the lake. The car parks at the Llanberis end also have public toilet facilities. Due to the surrounding mountains the wind can blow in different directions than the weather forecast might suggest. Generally speaking if it's windy it will be blowing from one end of the lake to the other with varying degrees of cross-shore added in at different points along the lake. If you are using a general forecast, south easterly to south westerly winds will blow from the Llanberis end to the Brynrefail end. Westerly to northerly winds generally blow from Brynrefail to Llanberis. North easterly and easterly winds can funnel down from Pen y Pass making for choppy conditions. It's worth a quick look at our web cam if you want to check live conditions on the lake. The webcam looks out from our shop towards the slalom pole lagoon.
We regularly use different areas on the lake for fun and training, varying sessions depending on wind strength and direction. On windy days the lagoon island, the river or a downwind run, (providing you can launch and get to the right area of the lake) make for good options. On calm days there are lots of options, how about going for a fast time on the 5k time trial course? If you want some ideas on different interval sessions click here, they have been designed with kayaking in mind but are equally applicable to SUP as well, don't be afraid to tweak things slightly if you feel it necessary.
The lagoons and the Lone Tree on the southern bank are popular areas of the lake, if you are doing a session using this area on a busy day you should expect congestion and crowds.
Lagoon Island (425m). Good for days when you want shelter from the wind. You can launch from a sheltered car park straight into the lagoon without much difficulty. When the wind is howling towards Brynrefail be careful paddling around the SE end of the island, (danger of getting blown into trees). The water depth in the narrow gap at the NW end of the island can be very shallow.
Lagoons/lone tree - monitoring platform - Star - Lagoons (1900m). Good for interval training, dealing with different wind directions. Adjusting and maintaining pace. Look out for shallow water and overhanging trees around the entrance to the lagoons.
Electric Mountain (EM) slip - monitoring platform- Star - EM slip (775m). Good for interval training, dealing with different wind directions. 3 legs of similar distance. The slipway has a large area of flat concrete where it meets the water. Depending on the water levels this can be hiding just below the surface ready to damage the equipment of an unweary paddler.
Padarn Lap following shoreline (6600m). Good for clocking up the distance and sightseeing. A good option on busy days when you want to find some space. At various points around the edge of the lake the water gets shallow enough to catch you out so keep your eyes peeled.
Slalom poles. Regularly used by local coaches and the youth development team. Good for turning practise, (obviously). The poles are in a sheltered area of the lake so can make another good choice on days when you don't fancy venturing to far. Good fun when you set a course and challenge friends to the quickest time. Don't forget to add penalties if you touch the poles!
Slate heap - monitoring platform (190m). Good for sprint practise. The marker buoy below the slate heap also makes a good 180 degree turn point to practise turns at pace. Practise turning in both directions.
River mouth - rail bridge (225m). Good for sprints on windy days. The rail bridge to the red life ring at the river mouth makes a good distance for sprinting. Using the foot bridge as the start/finish line drops the distance to 200m. Beware of old metal work below the bridges and don't paddle further upstream than the rail way bridge. You will also have overhanging branches to consider, most of which are on the northern bank.
Slate heap - Star (445m). Good for interval training. The monitoring platform is approximately half way so the complete distance can easily be split in to two. Can be exposed to wind.
Lagoons/lone tree - Star (690m). Good for interval training on choppy days without having to head to far from the shelter of the bank. On windy days you'll often have an upwind and downwind leg. Look out for shallow areas if your sticking close to the shore.
Lagoons/lone tree - monitoring platform (920m). Good for interval training when you want to head into the middle of the lake. On windy days you'll often have an upwind and downwind leg. At the monitoring platform you will be at the most exposed area of the lake.
River mouth to slopey rock following N shore (2500m). The time trial course. Starting and finishing within a couple of board/boat lengths of the bank this out and back route follows the northern shore closely for 2.5km to the obvious large rounded rock detached from the bank. Turn around the rock then retrace your strokes to the start/finish line. Unless you go out on a day with zero wind you will have upwind and downwind legs to deal with. Look out for areas of shallow water close to the shore and at the turn point.
Straight line from Rivermouth - Brynrefail (3100m). Clocking up distance without worrying about running aground. A good option which stays in the middle of the lake so avoiding the shallow areas along the shoreline, one to consider when it's dark or in poor light. Also useful on busy days when you want some space.
Downwinding in the right conditions can be a blast. Arranging a vehicle shuttle from one end to the other is simple. On days when there are small ripples it's an easy way to get from one end of the lake to the other, on days when it's stormy it can be a really wild run where you'll be able to catch and surf waves, (and probably fall in a fair bit if you're on a SUP). In big storms the waves can get up 2 or 3 foot high. In these conditions you'll need to be fully aware of everything around you and your abilities, BEFORE you launch. You will need to know where the exits are and have the skills to paddle to your chosen exit. An unplanned landing anywhere other than an established exit is likely to damage you and your equipment. If the wind is strong and waves are blowing onto the N shore choose your launching point and route carefully.
Surfing - A good option on stormy days when a strong wind is blowing waves toward the northern shore is to surf the outside of the lagoon island. This is usually relatively sheltered and you will often find small clean waves rolling down the outside of the island. You can usually paddle upwind close to the island then turn and catch a wave or two back to where you started from. You can also park and launch from the shelter of the lagoons which will get you to the lagoon island without to much difficulty.
Feel free to pop in to the shop if you need more details about any of the courses listed above. We'd love to hear how you get on.