Begin Your Journey Along The Path Of The Paddle

Canoe in twighlight

Access a new world of adventure – learn the skills to make multi-day canoe journeys. Photo: Ray Goodwin.

If 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.

Your instructors will be Ray Goodwin and Paul Kirtley.

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.

This course is also perfect preparation for our River Spey and Missinaibi River trips.

The Expedition Canoeing Skills course opens up a whole new world of canoe adventures!

Two men paddling a Wenonah Rogue canoe
Windermere is a great place to get your paddle strokes in order. Photo: Paul Kirtley
Expediton style camp on canoeing course with Frontier Bushcraft
A lovely venue for campcraft and paddling combined. Photo: Paul Kirtley
Canoeing on Windermere
Gain the confidence to explore lake systems… Photo: Paul Kirtley
Canoe paddles lined up
Get organised in camp… Photo: Paul Kirtley
Learn all the technical skills you need. Photo: Paul Kirtley.
Learn all the technical skills you need. Photo: Paul Kirtley.
Canoes are great for getting close to nature... Photo: Paul Kirtley
Canoes are great for getting close to nature… Photo: Paul Kirtley
Looking at a range of canoes with Ray Goodwin.
Learn about and try a wide range of equipment. Photo: Paul Kirtley.
Tripod and campfire by night
Enjoy the campfire atmosphere of an expedition camp. Photo: Paul Kirtley
Canoes with improvised sailing rig on Windermere
There’s more to canoes than paddling… Sailing canoes on Windermere. Photo: Ray Goodwin.

What People Say About The Expedition Canoeing Skills Course:

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…


Canoe Kit Fully Lashed down
Specialist equipment will be provided…

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.

Experience Required

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.

Price: £797.

Deposit: 25% on booking.

Suitability: 18 years & above.

Course size: 12 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.

Expedition Canoeing Skills Course Dates:

09/06/24 – 14/06/24 FULLY BOOKED

16/06/24 – 21/06/24 FULLY BOOKED

Book your course now


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