River: Skafta (middle section).

Grid Reference: 63 deg 55′ N; 18 deg 37′ W.

Grade: IV and V.

Length: 20km.

Date run: 4.07.91 – 5.07.91.

Weather conditions: Rain and fog.

River level: Medium.

Significant portages: Three.

Access arrangements

Get on just where the track and the river start to seperate. This section of track is reasonably good and should not cause any problems.


The river becomes braided, keep right. Get out just next to the farmhouse which is visible if youre in the right channel.


Extreme caution is needed when running this section. The river changes very fast and it would be difficult to retrace your steps if you found you were on the wrong bit. Continues inspection is essential.
This section starts of with many seperate braided channels. These are similar to Welsh mountain streams being very shallow and bumpy. These eventually all join together and the river increases in volume. The main rapids start with a large left hand bend with two big angled waves on it followed by a large munchy stopper. This stopper has rocks in it. Run just left of the stopper which could be very nasty. The river then enters a wide gorge. There is nothing tricky except one large fall with a horrible death at the bottom. This should be portaged. The river then splits in two, the right channel having a large foss in it. Take the left channel but be careful. At one point the river dissapears down a hole. This is marked by what looks like a small innocent surfing wave. Don’t try and surf it! A lava bridge crosses the river and the entire river dissapears down a hole to reappear a few metres downstream. Even if you did manage to survive this siphon without having various limbs removed the stopper below it is quite horrific. Get back in below this.To follow this is a big bouncy section with a corking surfing wave at the bottom. We camped on the right just after this “wave of scorn”.
The river becomes braided again followed by a left corner with a large wave at the start of a big rapid which must be inspected. This rapid “Toms terror” is shot on the left after which the river widens out again. The river then splits in two, the right channel being very rocky. Take the left channel which has a flat section then a 3 metre drop. The “optimists pancake”. This is run left down the main tounge. Next is a large gorge with large bouncy rapids and some notable holes. The river continues into larger rapids with one very large drop (3 metres) with a horrible stopper at the bottom. This is possibly a run but not by us especially as it is followed with continious big grade IV rapids full of large holes and rocks. A swim could be very unpleasant. The river then becomes braided. Try and head right and get out next to the farmhouse.