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Introduction to Open Canoeing



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What our clients say...

"Just wanted the confidence to take a boat out on my own. Information on website about course was what I was looking for. Gone from absolute beginner to begin able to journey round a lake and down a river."

"Excellent course, really well put together. The equipment was much better than I had been using and made it easier. "

"Had a great day, learnt lots and practiced and played lots. Lots of opportunities to practice the elements I had requested to work on. I felt really relaxed today, instructor made this flow from one skill to the next and I felt my skill level improved."

"Overall everything was outstanding. Fantastic course, covered everything I needed and more different teaching styles made grasping certain strokes A LOT easier."


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Introduction to Open Canoeing

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With the perfect combination of lakes and rivers Cumbria has some of the finest open canoe paddling in the country. We can introduce you to the joys of canoe paddling in a variety of venues. A two day introductory course would include all you need to get you started along with the opportunity to paddle in some of the most beautiful places in the country.

The Lake District is our favourite place to paddle. However the best paddling is often when it rains the most. The budding white water paddler relishes the rain as it brings the water levels in the rivers to a better height.  There is no bad weather just bad clothing.

With this in mind we will provide you with a drysuit for the duration of the course. This means that you will stay pretty dry even if you feel like having a bit of a swim out of the canoe. Feel free to try stuff without that cold wet consequence. Of course if shorts and tee shirts are the way forward, that is ok too.

Open Canoeing Derwent Water

After an introduction to the boat and other equipment you will spend time in a sheltered area learning how to control the boat. From there you will go on a lake or river journey developing a greater understanding of canoe paddling as you go. At the end of the first day the coach will give you the options for the second day and help you decide where to paddle.

Options for this include:

  • Paddling in the sandstone gorges of the river Eden in the Northern Lake District.
  • Journeying on Derwentwater through Borrowdale and using the river Derwent to link it to Bassenthwaite Lake. This trip would take you past Skiddaw, England’s forth highest peak, to the hunting ground of the Osprey.
  • Travel around Windermere before tackling some of the best white water in the country on the river Leven.

During this day we would allow you to use the skills developed from the previous day in a more challenging environment.


We will provide you with all the technical equipment you need from our extensive range of high quality kit. This will include:

  • A very well outfitted open canoe with a kneeling thwart and appropriate flotation.
  • A drysuit.
  • Canoe paddle appropriate for you.
  • Top quality white water buoyancy aid.
  • A white water helmet.
  • A small dry bag to put your valuables in.
  • Spare clothing can be carried on the trip in one of our larger dry bags.
  • We will bring a range of other equipment options so that you can start to gather information about equipment you might purchase at a later date.

If you already have the above equipment please bring it along.

We would like you to bring:

  • Clothing to wear under a drysuit, including a couple of thermal layers and some warm socks.
  • Sturdy footwear such as trainers or substantial wet boots but not walking boots. Note that thick socks and drysuit feet take up more room so make sure the footwear allows for this.
  • Lunch and hot drink.

If you don't have any of the above equipment please contact us as we can probably provide it, if given appropriate notice.


There are a range of river and lake options that could be used to tailor this course to meet your individual needs. The course can be based on the Northern, Central or Southern lakes using Ullswater, Derwentwater, Windermere or Coniston. We will agree the precise venue closer to the time, taking into account your travel or accommodation needs and the prevailing weather conditions at the time.

Course Dates

2 Day Courses:
Dates to be arranged.
Course Fee: £200*

*Course fee includes boats and equipment. Drysuits are available if required.


Open Tandem Canoe
Canoe Skills

Open Canoeing
Open Canoeing

Additional Info

Wild River recommends that all customers take out personal insurance for the activity.

We can tailor a course to your specific needs.

If you cannot find the course you want or the date you need then please contact us and we will try to meet your needs.

Wild River Course Dates



Paddlesport courses in the Lake District