A contingent from the Frontier Bushcraft instructional team braved grim November weather in North Wales to undergo four days of canoe skills plus white water safety and rescue training, all with canoe maestro Ray Goodwin.
A few of the team attending had not paddled before and it’s testament to Ray’s coaching skills that they were competently paddling rapids towards the end of day 2.
Every year members of the Frontier Bushcraft team undertake a white water safety and rescue course.
It’s important for not only the team-members who are involved in our canoeing expeditions but for any outdoor activities that take us and our clients near to water.
The training allows all members of the team to understand the dangers posed by water in the great outdoors in addition to providing techniques and strategies for minimising risk as well as dealing with mishaps.
All the rescue training was undertaken in a ‘live’ outdoor environment rather than at a training centre.
Over the four days, temperatures were consistently around 4 degrees Celsius, with heavy rain and winds. Water levels were high and came up higher.
Despite the cold conditions, it was great to be training as a team and it was a lot of fun.
Below is a photoblog of the weekend, with some some beautiful views of Snowdonia as a backdrop when the clouds rose high enough.
Also included at the end is a 60 second video of the highlights of the White Water Safety and Rescue training (largely us getting very wet!)
Day 1: Flat Water Canoe Techniques
Day 2: Moving Water Canoe Techniques
Day 3: White Water Safety and Rescue Course
Day 4: White Water Safety and Rescue Course
We finished off the course by looking at methods of unpinning boats, using different means of gaining a mechanical advantage with ropes and pulleys.
It had been an excellent four days. The two pillars of the course had dovetailed seamlessly, with the canoe training of days 1 and 2 flowing nicely into the water safety training of days 3 and 4.
The weather had been grim most of the time and we had, at times, been cold and wet; but this type of training is always invaluable in keeping our skills sharp.
Below is a fun video of some highlights from days 3 and 4.
White Water Safety and Rescue Video
Given the epic weather conditions, we’ve put our tongues firmly in cheek and chosen some suitably epic music to accompany this short video.
Paul Kirtley is owner and Chief Instructor of Frontier Bushcraft. He has had a lifelong passion for the great outdoors and gains great satisfaction from helping others enjoy it too. Paul writes the UK's leading bushcraft blog as well as for various publications including Bushcraft & Survival Skills Magazine.