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Paddlesport Touring Leader Assessment



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"Great course, loved your technique descriptions and demos; right on point! And the course did exactly what I hoped it would do - fill in the blanks and strengthen my canoeing skills; perfect! Really enjoyed the river journey too!"

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"Very useful, did what it said it was going to do. Adapted the course and gave people individual challenges.  Change of venue was well communicated and in plenty of time. Given lots of development points for both personal paddling and leadership elements. Level of personal skill was quickly assessed which allowed different challenges to be set for individuals."


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British Canoeing Awarding Body

Paddlesport Touring Leader Award

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Paddlesport touring leaders can lead participants on trips in large pieces of open water and easy white water rivers. This is the perfect leadership award for experienced leaders who operate on the larger lakes of Cumbria and on simple white water rivers.

Touring Leader Training in Cumbria

How can Wild River help prepare you for the assessment?

Wild River runs 2 day training courses.

On our training courses we look at:

  • Pre-trip information gathering.
  • Trip planning and predicting weather and conditions.
  • Safety briefs for mixed fleets in open water and slow moving rivers.
  • Group control for mixed fleets in a variety of environments.
  • Sailing set ups.
  • Games for journeys.
  • Wind and current awareness.
  • Leading groups in safe but inspirational ways.
  • Towing options.
  • Rescues of different craft in open water and simple white water.
  • Incident management.
  • Benchmarking and improvement of personal paddling skill.

You may well also decide to attend:

The key part of any training course is the individual debrief to assist with your development of your detailed action plan.

How does assessment work?


On assessment you will be asked to lead a group on both open water in force 4 and a section of moving water that has some grade 2 white water.

Assessments for 2-4 candidates will be run over two days to allow access to the two different environments.

On an assessment candidates will be expected to be able to:

  • Paddle their chosen craft at a good standard in the top end of the remit.

  • Rescue all craft from their own craft in a variety of environments whilst maintaining good group control.

  • Plan and lead an inspirational journey in a way that encourages independence and development of the participants.

  • Lead students on open water and simple whitewater at the top end of the remit comfortably.

Prior to an assessment you will be given the opportunity to contact the group members to gather information about their ability, equipment needs and aspirations for the trip. You will be encouraged to plan the day in detail with logistical support from Wild River if necessary.

The leader will be working from their suitably chosen craft and will be assessed leading a group of 4 to 6 paddlers in a variety of craft (including at least one open canoeist, one stand up paddleboarder and one kayaker).

The certificate will not list the craft which the leader was assessed in. It would be best practice for leaders using different craft on future trips to evidence their personal skill and rescue skill with a Performance Award such as the Progressive Canoe Performance Award.

Wild River has scheduled dates for assessment courses. Alternatively, assessments can be booked by individuals on dates that suit. One day assessments for a single candidate may be possible if conditions are appropriate.

Pre-requisites for assessment:

  • Prior to assessment all candidates must register with their home nation association (Paddle England, Paddle Scotland, Canoe Wales, Paddle Northern Ireland).

  • Full home nation association membership.

  • Valid (within 3 years) 2 day First Aid Award recognised by Paddle UK.

  • Valid (within 3 years) Safeguarding Training recognised by Paddle UK.

Where does a Paddlesport Touring Leader operate?


Paddlesport Touring Leaders are qualified to take participants:

  • Open water journeys up to 500m from the shore.

  • In winds up to but not exceeding force 4 (less than 18mph).

  • slow-moving rivers up to and including grade 1 which may include the occasional short rapid of grade 2 and simple safe weirs.

  • Tidal movement up to 0.5 knots.

This award covers all the open water in the Lake District in appropriate wind and most open water in England and Wales.

River journeys include:

  • Easy sections of the river Eden outside the classic white water sections.

  • Middle Derwent near Keswick from Derwentwater to Bassenthwaite.

  • Upper Derwent from Grange to Derwentwater.

  • River Lune below Kirkby Lonsdale.

  • River Kent from Burneside to south of Kendal.

Who can I work with?

Paddlesport touring leaders can lead paddlers who need support in the environment in any craft.  They can work with groups in a mixture of craft or in the same craft. They have the experience to decide on the number of paddlers they lead but 6 solo craft or 4 tandem craft would be seen as large groups.


Paddlesport Touring Leader

Download or print the Paddlesport Touring Leader Factsheet:

Download touring leader factsheet


Training Dates

5,6 October 2024
25,26 November 2024

Cost: £200 per person.

Assessment Dates

2,3 December 2024

Cost: £270 per person (requires 2 candidates to run).
1 to 1 assessments £350 - contact us to arrange this.

Training Prerequisites

There are no formal pre-requisites for leader training but candidates should have a level of personal skill relevant to the moderate water environment.


For the assessment all candidates must register with Paddle UK. The cost of registration is £40.56 and includes certification.

Full home nation association membership (Paddle England, Paddle Scotland, Canoe Wales, Paddle Northern Ireland).

Valid (within 3 years) 2 day First Aid Award, recognised by Paddle UK.

Valid (within 3 years) Safeguarding Training recognised by Paddle UK..


Google Forms Assessment Feedback

How to Register Video

British Canoeing Paddlesport Leader GuidanceTouring Leader Course Documents

Safeguarding Training

Link to Paddlesport Leader e-learning

British Canoeing Environmental DefinitionsEnvironmental Definitions

Paddlesport Leader Assessment




Paddlesport courses in the Lake District