Getting Started in Canoeing

From a beginning almost as old as mankind, when the kayak or canoe was part of the process of survival, to the present day, when boundaries of exploration are being rolled back, canoeing is a sport rich in potential for young and old - the adventurous and the less adventurous. Canoeing offers a wide range of activities, some based on competition and others, less formalised, based on journeying and adventuring. HOW CAN I GET STARTED Join with a local group or club - it's more fun, safer, and will help you to master the basic skills more quickly. We are publishing clubs who welcome new faces, many running special sessions for newcomers. Activity holidays often include canoeing and this can be a pleasant introduction, or perhaps you'd prefer to attend one of the many regional events organised by the British Canoe Union (BCU),and chat to some of the paddlers themselves. Courses One of the best ways to get to know what canoeing has to offer is on an activity holiday or specialist course. Under expert guidance you will learn the basic techniques, and the simple safety rules, which will equip you to enjoy a lifetime of water wanderings, or aquatic adventure. We are developing a national calendar of courses and events which can be found in the 'Events' section. The BCU maintains a register of centres approved for the quality of the canoeing and instruction offered. It also holds a register of instructors, activity centres and clubs with an interest and expertise in catering for people who are disabled who wish to canoe. Send a SAE to the BCU office for an up to date list. Contact the Centre of your choice for a catalogue showing the wide range on offer. Where to canoe in Britain The British Isles are made for canoeing - there is a wonderful variety of water to choose from. Inland, the canals, rivers and lakes offer simple touring on placid water, through to challenging white water descents. Not all inland water is open to canoeists, some is privately owned or is bounded by land which is private. The British Canoe Union has an Access Officer in each region who can advise you about local canoeing waters. The coastline of Britain provides superb canoeing water, some of which is remote with spectacular scenery. Coastal canoeing in all but enclosed, sheltered sites demands knowledge and skill. Experienced canoeists are always keen to help beginners develop themselves, but you are strongly advised not to embark upon any coastal cruise without adequate personal ability, training and knowledge. CANALS There are several thousand miles of canals These 'water highways' offer safe touring. A licence is needed - included with BCU membership for all 2,000 miles of British Waterways Canals SEA Surf beaches, off shore islands, sea cliffs. Seek expert guidance before going afloat. Courses available around the country. RIVERS AND LAKES Upland rivers offer white water Lowland rivers offer interesting touring Many lowland rivers require a licence - BCU membership includes a licence for BWB rivers, canals and EA waters, excluding the Thames BCU Access Officers can give help on where to get on and off the water Guide books are available Types of kayak and Canoe - Equipments Canoeing magazines Canoe Focus is the official magazine of the British Canoe Union - produced every two months. It contains advertising, articles, competition results, book reviews and private sales. The magazine is free to members or £2.00 to non-members. ‘Canoeist’, ‘Paddles’ and ‘Playboater’ are independently published magazines. Videos A wide range of canoeing videos, including expeditions, coaching and competition is available from Chrisfilm & Video Ltd, The Mill, Glasshouses, Pately Bridge, Harrogate, North Yorkshire. HG3 5QH Tel: 01423 711310 National Canoeing Venues For BCU courses: Plas y Brenin, Capel Curig, Betws y Coed, North Wales. LL24 0ET (01690 720214) Email: Plas Menai, Caenarfon, Gwynedd. LL55 1UE(01248 670964) Glenmore Lodge, Aviemore, Inverness-shire, Scotland. PH22 2QU (0479 86256) Books The Canoeing Handbook is the most comprehensive book on the sport of canoeing and is the official manual of the British Canoe Union. It contains information on technique, skills for kayak and canoe, the behaviour of water, history, boat design, safety, teaching, canoeing for the disabled and a great deal more. Available from BCU, price £16.95 inclusive of P & P Canoe Clubs There are many canoe clubs throughout Britain, some of these specialise in particular aspects of canoeing, while the majority have members whose interests range widely. Look in the Sports Directory to find your local club. White Water Canoeing takes place at the following national venues: National Watersports Centre, Holme Pierrepont, Adbolton Lane, Nottingham. (0115 9821212) White water slalom course (man-made) open daily; sprint racing on regatta course. National and International events. Tees-side White Water Course, Tel: (01642 678000) email: National White Water Centre, Canolfan Tryweryn. A white water course on the dam-controlled River Tryweryn. Used during period of water release. For up to date information phone the 24 hour answering service: (01678 520826) or (0891 633 424) all bookings and enquiries Tel: (01678 521083) Nene White Water Centre Ltd, Bedford Road, Northampton NN4 7AA Tel: 01604 634040 Fax: 01604 634343 Email: Canoe and equipment retailers and manufacturers Check the Sports Directory for your local retailers. Start Safely and Enjoy Canoeing

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