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Water based Courses

Water Based Courses
At Mountain Water Expeditions we offer a wide range of water based national governing body courses for you to choose from to further your own professional development.

–   BCU 1 Star
–   BCU 2 Star
–   BCU 3 Star Canoe
–   BCU 3 Star Kayak
–   BCU 4 Star Training Canoe
–   BCU 4 Star Assessment Canoe
–   BCU Foundation Safety & Rescue Course

Our all new BCU Start Kayaking/Canoeing Course has been created to provide you with an introduction to a range of paddling skills both for closed cockpit kayaks and open canoeing. We’ll get you on the water using some of the latest equipment and the most up to date BCU coaching techniques. You’ll discover the fundamentals of paddling that are both fun and challenging.

BCU 2 Star
Our all new BCU 2 Star Paddling is an improvement award that covers the basic strokes and techniques on flat water and designed for people who have completed a beginners course, and spent some extra time on the water practicing but want to further their skills and knowledge. Again using a range of equipment including open canoes and closed cockpit kayaks, the emphasis is on creating the desired movement of the boat through developing an understanding of cause and effect rather than concentrating on rigidly defined strokes. This course really helps develop your paddling experience and confidence. Solo performance at 2 Star level is required for attending a course for the qualification of Level 1 Coach.

BCU 3 Star White Water Kayak Training & Assessment
White water kayaking is at its core about our ability to put the boat in the exact place we want it, whatever the conditions. When possible we use the river to help us, however sometimes that isn’t possible. Either way, if you can control the boat on easy water the process is the same in more advanced conditions. 

At Mountain Water Expeditions we pride ourselves on our technical understanding of the discipline. We will teach you the most up to date techniques that will allow you to progress without any barriers.

You can attend our 3 Star courses as a training or assessment or perhaps both.  It is two days of coaching in the skills needed for white water paddling on grade 2 rivers and has the opportunity to achieve the 3 Star Award. All candidates leave the course with a very clear, precise and personalised action plan: safe in the knowledge that they have a range of techniques that are effective and safe.

BCU 3 Star Open Canoe Training & Assessment
There are three main elements to open canoeing technique, boat, body and blade. If you get the boat right, the body and blade will have to do less work. Once we get the body right then the blade falls into place.

Open canoe paddling is the most diverse paddlesport disciplines, because we can explore a variety of environments from the seat of an open canoe. 3 Star canoeists have a good understanding of how to move a canoe in open water, in wind up to force three and on easy white water.

One of the joys of open canoe paddling is fluidity and grace with which a 15ft/16ft craft can be guided through a skill of a paddler with one long blade. To attain this skill can at first be difficult, but at Mountain Water Expeditions we can help you to begin mastering the art!  

We will teach you more than just strokes. We will show you good techniques, and make sure you know when and how to apply them.

We will cover all aspects of the syllabus helping you to acquire the basic skills for open canoeing. Like all our coaching we aim to give you straightforward options that will work in all environments.

You can attend our 3 Star course as a training session or as an assessment, or perhaps both.  A candidate would receive two days of coaching in the skills needed for open water and white water paddling on grade two rivers. They also have the opportunity to achieve the 3 Star Award.  All candidates leave the course with a clear, precise and personalised action plan; safe in the knowledge that they have a range of techniques that are effective and safe.

BCU 4 Star Open Canoe Training

Would you like the confidence to lead a group of friends or peers on an open canoe adventure?
As a 4 Star Canoe Leader you will have the ability to do this, you and your group would be qualified for the following activities:

Paddle a grade two river in solo or tandem canoe

Paddle across a lake one kilometre wide in solo or tandem canoes in wind up and including force 4

Sail open canoes in wind up and including force 4

Pole up or down a section of appropriate river

The foundation of good leadership in paddlesport is personal skill, as it allows you to focus all your attention on the group. Once a leader is comfortable in the environment they can easily help and instruct others. On our training course we will help you improve your personal paddling to let you move around the river or lake thoughtlessly. As you do this you will have plenty of time to think about the group and plan what they should do. This will allow you to match the technical skill of your group to the difficulty of the river or lake and then make a safe decision as how to lead them.

Rest assured that at the end of a Mountain Water Expeditions training course your personal paddling and technical understanding will have improved significantly.

We will give you demonstrations of best leading practice and allow you to try them with the support of an extremely experienced coach at your side.  We will give you as much freedom to make decisions as you want while always being there to help if necessary.

We feel that three days are needed to allow enough time to cover the 4 Star canoe syllabus and adequately prepare students for the full range of activities involved in the moderate environment in canoe.  However for those people who feel that they already have a significant of the knowledge in the syllabus we run a small number of two day courses. It is not possible to cover all the syllabus in any depth in two days so we would suggest that this is appropriate for students who already hold other outdoor leadership qualifications and perhaps more specifically another 4 Star Leader Award.

Skills looked at during 4 Star Canoe Leader Training:

–   What equipment to carry.
–   Logistics for river and lake journeys.
–   Matching venues and journeys to the skill level of the group.
–   Strategies for leading in moderate water and when to use them.
–   Communication skills beyond signals and briefing.

On open water

–   Group management and how to use trim adjustments to make life easier and improve group control.
–   Effective use of the variety of forward strokes to move efficiently.
–   Improvised sailing and the problems that can occur.
–   Rescues of solo, tandem and rafted canoes.

On the river

–   River reading.
–   Line choice for different abilities and solo or tandem boats.
–   Applying CLAP to the river environment.
–   Personal paddling skills and technical understanding.
–   Using river features effectively.
–   Slowing the canoe to aid manoeuvring.
–   Canoe appropriate rescue techniques
–   Poling and lining.

BCU 4 Star Open Canoe Assessment
The 4 Star Canoe Leader Award has many aspects to it. With it’s combination of open water and moderate water, the Lake District or North Wales is the perfect place to complete your assessment.  The ability to paddle lakes and rivers on the same day makes Cumbria or Wales the ideal venue. At Mountain Water Expeditions we understand that assessments can be very stressful and work extremely hard to make them as relaxed as possible.

On our assessment we create the opportunity to show your leadership skills in all the appropriate environments.  This will include paddling and leading a group on open water; some downwind sailing; paddling and leading on a grade 2 river, along with the traditional skills of lining and poling and of lots of rescue practice.

We know that candidates enjoy the assessment more when we bring real students for them to lead. We will bring students on both the open water and river sections of the course. This makes the whole course more relaxed. There is no need to pretend for scenarios and definitely no tricks or set ups.

All you have to do is take a few people paddling and look after them. We will make sure that they are at the right level for the environment and are happy to go paddling.

Foundation Safety & Rescue Course
A fun, relaxed way to learn important safety and rescue techniques in a sheltered environment.

On a Foundation Safety and Rescue Training course we will show you quick, simple and effective strategies to deal with the common problems we encounter on flat water.  You will work out how to rescue people from the water in a wide variety of situations. We will make it easy to empty large boats and little boats alike with simple safe solutions.

We guarantee that even the most experienced paddler will take away something new from this course.

Use our range of high quality boats to practice the most up to date rescue techniques. This is definitely the most fun you can have around, on and in the water.

Topics covered on the course include:

–   Safety and rescue protocols.
–   Equipment checks.
–   Simple bank based rescues.
–   Use of throwlines.
–   Towing boats and swimmers.
–   Techniques used to empty a variety of boats including white water kayaks, canoes and sea kayaks.
–   Assisting swimmers back into their boat.
–   Dealing with unconscious kayakers.

This course is a pre-requisite for the Level 1 Coach course and as such we include this training free on all our Level 1 Coach courses. It also works extremely well as a standalone rescue course for all who paddle on sheltered or open water.