Begin Your Journey Along The Path Of The PaddleIf you’d love to make journeys – large or small – by open canoe then this course has been designed for you.
Our week-long programme delivers the paddling and campcraft skills you need to get under way with canoe-camping trips.
Combined with important safety, rescue and survival techniques, the Expedition Canoeing Skills Course provides an extensive range of know-how for travelling efficiently, safely and in comfort by open canoe.
Set amongst the stunning scenery of the Lake District National Park, the course is run from a private estate with a significant amount of shoreline access to Windermere, England’s largest natural lake – an ideal training ground and a fantastic place to spend a week.
Starting in a sheltered bay, and progressing to the main body of the lake, you will learn – and put into practice – your canoe skills on Windermere’s waters.
Camp In a Stunning Location While Learning From Experienced Instructors
You will be camped alongside the lake – and your instructors – for the duration of the course. While on shore, each day we will share campcraft and cookery skills which can be applied directly.
Their aim is for you to have, at the end of this course, the confidence and ability to make multi-day trips on open water, whether it be on lakes or lochs of Britain or wilderness areas further afield.
If you want to plan and undertake your own trips, you’ll have the skills and knowledge required to choose – and successfully use – the equipment you can hire from an outfitter in areas such as the Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada for example.
The Expedition Canoeing Skills course opens up a whole new world of canoe adventures!
What People Say About The Expedition Canoeing Skills Course:
“My main concern about booking this course was whether I would gain what I expected from the course. Yes, I did. I gained confidence on flat water – being in control of the boat, not the other way round. The other benefits of attending this course were the bushcraft skills, open fire cooking & meeting likeminded people. The balance between the skill sets (bushcraft & canoeing) was just right.”
Rob McGill, Lincolnshire.
“Going into this course the capsize drills were a bit of a concern but the course allowed me to overcome my fear of being in deep open water! The course made me relax, taking in the surroundings and enjoying the activity. Some courses can be quite intense and this one allowed an element of slowing down. The location, combined with the weather made for a perfect week. I would say that if anyone is thinking of taking up canoeing or a new activity then this would be a perfect course. The quality of the training and instruction was excellent and taught in line with the speed of the group. You could tell it was born of experience and communicated really well, so was easily understood. The campcraft side was very good also. I learnt a lot from that as well as the canoeing. Delicious food and good quantity as I didn’t feel hungry at any point!”
Paul Nicholls, Bedfordshire.
“In a nutshell this course gave us the skills and confidence to undertake our own independent wilderness canoe journey. Even in the context of a few days on a course, to some extent we were able to get into the camp routines that would be a key aspect of a canoe journey. Learning what things to do, without having to think too much about priorities, means more time to sit back and enjoy the place you’re in. And that is the whole point as far as I’m concerned. I particularly enjoyed the cooking and meal planning aspects of the course. Although the focus of the course is not on kit it was a useful opportunity to see what kit people carry on a canoe journey, to learn what is really necessary and what is not. Having the right kit makes things easy and frees up time to do other things. There was enough ‘down time’ to allow us to appreciate our surroundings, share stories and experiences and just relax and have some fun with like-minded people. We learned a lot but we laughed a lot too. We also ate well (in fact we put on weight!) and Sally was very happy with the vegetarian meal options. I’ve already begun to look into canoeing opportunities in Sweden. I would recommend this course without hesitation. The quality of instruction and the depth of knowledge of the instructors made this an outstanding experience.”
Steve Bayley, Hertfordshire.
“Coming into this course pretty much a novice to canoeing, I learnt a huge amount about how to handle the canoe effectively in water, as well as how to think about safety on the water and planning for different types of water and weather conditions. I also found the expedition planning side of the course invaluable – the amount of information is daunting, however it does provide us with a grounding to start our own smaller expeditions and grow those in future. I also learnt a fair amount about managing the camp (fire/water/shelter/food) and how to cook effectively for a larger group. I really enjoyed the mini expedition – it brought together so much of what we had learnt, and enabled us to try it for real – the packing, the organisation of the canoe, as well as the more bushcraft related elements in setting up camp. Primarily you are learning the practical skills you need in order to get an excellent foundation in canoeing, and from one of the leading coaches in the country. Safety is a key consideration at every turn, and we were given a real respect for potential dangers but also the skills to handle or avoid them. I think I didn’t have enough respect for the hazards of this sport prior to coming on the course. Simply put it’s a lot of fun – there’s the camaraderie between the students and coaches and the joys of being out in nature for a week. Having done a previous course with Frontier I didn’t have any concerns about booking and it was a very easy decision to book. If anything my concern was for my wife and whether or not she would enjoy the experience – as it turned out I needn’t have worried on that count either. It’s accessible to anyone without any previous experience, and it gives you the opportunity to learn new and interesting skills from the best coaches in a beautiful setting. I think Paul and Ray did a great job and I look forward to Spey later in the year.”
Howard Houlston, Oxfordshire.
“We wanted to attend this course to learn to travel easily and safely in the wilderness with a canoe and the main things we gained were confidence brought out by Ray and Paul giving confidence in our own abilities, the safety aspects, kit lists, packing advice and knots were things we lacked skills in. We enjoyed the mini expedition the most, giving great insight in to travelling by canoe. To me, the main benefits of attending this course are the xpert canoe tuition, great insight into wilderness travel and skills needed to make a trip enjoyable. I’d recommend it if just for the safety and planning aspect. Vicky and I enjoyed the course and learned a great deal, thank you.”
Tony Goundry, Yorkshire.
“Thank you very much for the good time we had in Windermere! My main goal was to get pratice and learning of an expedition in canoe in open water prior to my summer holidays because I have rented a canoe in Norway and intend to do a week long trip in a big lakes region. I also intend to do more trips like this in the future, also on rivers in a second step. For me the main benefit of the course was practice! Because we did lessons but also a mini-expedition to use what we talked about in “real” situation. I was good to see how to deal with real beginners because I will have to in my trip. I also got a few intersting tips I didn’t know. I got informations on gear so I’m currently updating my kit list with items I didn’t have or which are not well adapted to the situation. Also it was good to be able to try a canoe camping trip from no knowledge on this, be able to try gear, and meet famous and nice people! 🙂 I appreciate doing such course with real experienced professionals, just getting what works and no fancy ideas, when you pay for this it is important. Thanks to you to have given me confidence in doing such adventures! That was a pleasure to meet you and I hope we will see again each other one day!”
Sylvain Rossi, France.
Detail of What You Will Learn: The Syllabus
Canoe Techniques and Safety:
- Efficient paddle strokes for travelling;
- Efficient turning and control strokes;
- The ability to work as a team in a boat;
- An introduction to solo paddling;
- Decision making on open water;
- Understanding weather and, in particular, wind and fetch;
- Problem of cold water immersion;
- Improvised sailing;
- Rafting canoes;
- Dealing with a capsize;
- Deep water rescue techniques;
- Strategies for self-rescue;
- Packing a canoe and adjusting its trim;
- The merits of different packing systems in different circumstances;
- The art of portaging (a true wilderness skill);
- Introduction to poling;
Campcraft, Cookery and Expedition Considerations:
- Choosing and organising your campsite;
- Expedition/group tarp systems and knots;
- Choosing cookery equipment for canoe journeys;
- Choosing food and devising menus for canoe trips;
- Campfire cookery, including
- Effective camp ovens;
- Baking bread;
- Perfect pancakes;
- Grills (done properly);
- Protecting your food from wildlife;
- Failsafe fire-lighting skills – for every day use and emergencies;
- Constructing cooking tripods and arms from natural materials;
- Everyday wilderness axe skills;
- Personal equipment for canoe journeys;
- Emergency equipment for canoe journeys (and how to use it);
All the Other Details You Need to Know…
You don’t need to spend lots of money on specialist clothing or equipment for this trip. At a bare minimum you will need some warm layers and waterproof shell clothing, a daysac and some basic camping gear.
Canoes and other specialist equipment – including buoyancy aid, paddle and drybag for your kit – will be provided for your use during the trip. We will ask you for some measurements so that we can provide you with appropriately-sized equipment. We will also provide communal cooking/kitchen items.
If you have your own buoyancy aid, paddles or boat, please feel free to bring them. Please let us know if you do not require the use of our equipment by writing “not required”, “not applicable” or “N/A” in the sizing fields of the booking form.
A full kit-list is available here. The kit-list will also be e-mailed to you after your booking has been accepted.
Accommodation and Venue
This course will be entirely outdoors, run from an expedition-style base-camp. Please bring personal camping equipment as per the course kit list.
Food for breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided but please do bring your own favourite snacks for during the day.
Equipment for cooking will be provided.
If you have special dietary requirements there is the opportunity to tell us about this during the booking process. You can also pick up the phone to talk with one of our team about any concerns you might have.
You do not need to have previous experience of canoeing or camping to attend this course. The course will teach you the skills you need to do both.
Availability and Booking: Expedition Canoeing Skills
Duration: 5 days, 5 nights.
Deposit: 25% on booking.
Suitability: 18 years & above.
Course size: 10 participants (maximum).
Location: Windermere; Lake District National Park, Cumbria.
Course Meeting Time: 17:30 Day 1.
Course Finish Time: 16:30 Day 6.
Course Leaders: Ray Goodwin and Paul Kirtley.
Back up to the bushcraft courses page.