Extremadura, also, offers the possibility to descent in white waters: the Descent at the Alagón River is one of the most expected dates in the sporting calendar of the north of Extremadura. This happens every year on the first Sunday of August. And it takes place at the middle of the valley of Alagón. One of its most important blessings is that it is open to beginners. Even children, as early as eleven year olds, can take part and live their baptism in Extremeño white waters by the hand of specialized tourism agencies, prior to the event. These agencies cooperate with the Town House of Coria in the organization of this event, since 2007 when it was first started.
This Descent, certainly, has a lot of pull if we consider that in eight years it has increased participants from a little more than 80 to 800 with their companions. Of these participants about 80 enter with their own vessels and the others rent for the event. Some of the vessels are rented at neighboring Portugal, who also contributes with sport -people for the Descent of River Alagón. For a fee of 14 Euros if you enter with you own material and for 34 Euros if you need a canoe or a kayak, you can participate in this event. Which is certainly a very different Sunday activity. If you are a visitor to this region, you will probably want to spend the night or the entire weekend, which has converted the Descent of The Alagón River into an important economic factor for the entire district.
For the participants it is a good deal, because the registration fee includes transportation for the participants and the vessel or the renting and transportation of the canoe, insurance and the coexistence meal, all in a very festive atmosphere. If anything, every body agrees that the event at the Alagón is a fiesta. The Descent of River Alagón promises amusement and adrenaline for the veterans and a challenge for the beginner, who will have to manage if the person does not want to end up in the river. The itinerary is always the same and they start at the Macarrona Bridge, in Riolobos, where the organizers transfer all the participants with buses. In spite of the crowd of participants, the start is well organized to assure a proper flow of the canoes and rafts. During the first two kilometers the river is sufficiently wide and tranquil to make a comfortable sail. From there the difficulty starts, as participants will try to control their vessels through the water currents, which will stretch out for about one kilometer. This part of the river goes through a wooded area. After, you will reach a stretch of tranquil waters. At a place called Rincon de Obispo participants can stop for provisions and some will even want to drop out of the event. If you decide to continue, you will go non-stop until you reach the Puente de Hierro (Iron Bridge) of Coria, with spectacular views of the walled city from the river.
A Family Project, The Descent of River Alagon
There is no need to have experience or to have a special physical training, but you need to be aware that the descent will take about four and a half hours, to journey 19 kilometers. This route is travelled, every year by hundreds of men and women, generally between the ages of 18 to 40, in a sporting event that is ideal to enjoy with the family. It constitutes part of the “Circuito de Aguas Dulces de la Junta de Extremadura” (The White Water Tour of The Junta de Extremadura). Surrounding the Descent, many specialized businesses have multiple activities and special rates are offered for lodging and food. No doubt, the Descent of River Alagón has a growing number of fans. You might want to ask a group of 50 people, who are coming this year 2015 to the Descent. They work at the same company in Jerez de la Frontera, and are following the advise of a group of four scouts, who attended last year. Also, many spectators come to witness the participants, along the entire riverbank, since it is a real show just to watch them go down the river.
Event: The Descent of River Alagón until Coria
Date: August, First Sunday
Original article by Merche R. Rey
Translated by Susana Windt