Mountain Water Expeditions Canoe Leader Training

British Canoeing – Leadership Awards:

British Canoeing – Canoe Leader Training

Would you like the confidence to lead a group of friends or peers on an open canoe adventure?

As a Canoe Leader you will have the ability to do this, you will be qualified to lead groups on the following activities:

  • Paddle a grade two (three) river in solo or tandem canoe
  • Paddle across a lake one kilometre wide in solo or tandem canoes in wind up to and including force 4
  • Sail open canoes in wind up to and including force 4
  • Pole up or down a section of appropriate river 

The foundation of good leadership in paddlesports 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 Canoe Leader syllabus and adequately prepare students for the full range of activities involved in the moderate water environment in canoe.  However, for those people who feel that they already have a significant amount 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 Leadership Award. 

Skills looked at during Canoe Leader Training:

  • What equipment to carry (Personally and as a Canoe Leader)
  • 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
  • Rescues of solo, tandem

Training Prerequisites 

British Canoeing 3 Star Open Canoe standard is the appropriate level of performance for paddlers to begin working towards the British Canoeing Canoe Leader. It is not, however, necessary for the paddler to hold the British Canoeing 3 Star Open Canoe Award. 


This course is non-residential.

Meeting Place

T.B.C normally somewhere within North Wales.

Course Date(s)

Canoe Leader Training Date[s]Course/ActivityLocationPriceBook Now
Sat 18th - 19th (20th as an optional 3rd day) April 2020 Canoe Leader TrainingNorth Wales£175
(£240 for the 3 day course)
Sat 9th May - 10th (11th as an optional 3rd day) May 2020 Canoe Leader TrainingNorth Wales£175
(£240 for the 3 day course)
14th & 15th (16th as an optional 3rd day) November 2020Canoe Leader TrainingNorth Wales£175
(£240 for the 3 day course)

What we include

The price of the course includes; 

  • Coaching and guiding from experienced and helpful coaches
  • A single point of contact at Mountain Water Expeditions to provide you with consistent support throughout your experience.
  • Pre course information pack with lots of helpful advice, kit lists etc 
  • Opportunity to try out a selection of Freebird paddles
  • Canoe pole (if needed)
  • Waterproof Rucksack and inner drybag (if needed)

What we do not include

  • Transport to and from the starting point
  • Personal kit and accident insurance
  • Items of personal canoeing kit for example waterproof clothing, drysuits, wetsuit boots etc
  • Food or drink
  • Canoe (There is an option to hire a expedition standard canoe at £15 per day)


Alan Pinnington, Ray Goodwin or Lizzie Harrington

For further information or to book a place on this British Canoeing Canoe Leader Training course please email