Long Term Canoe Leader Programme

Long Term Canoe Leader Programme

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Mountain Water Long Term Canoe Leader Programme

British Canoeing – Personal Performance and Leadership Awards:
British Canoeing – Long Term Canoe Leader Leadership Programme

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

Have you ever wanted to become a British Canoeing Canoe Leader but maybe just don’t quite know how to get there? Maybe you lack the confidence or just don’t have the relevant experience or equipment to move forward with your dream.

Our new long term canoe leadership development pathway will offer you a fully tailored professional approach to help you achieve your goal of becoming a British Canoeing Canoe Leader.

As a Canoe Leader 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.

Itinerary / Duration

During the 18 months you will have unlimited access to personal and professional one on one advice you will also have the opportunity to achieve the following British Canoeing awards as part of your development pathway:

  • British Canoeing Canoe Award
  • British Canoeing Progressive Canoe Award
  • REC 16 hour Outdoor First Aid Course
  • British Canoeing Whitewater Safety & Rescue (WWS&R)
  • British Canoeing Canoe Leader Training
  • British Canoeing Guide Module Training
  • British Canoeing Canoe Leader Assessment
  • Four Canoe Development Days

Four optional days as a mock student on other canoe assessments Mountain Water Expeditions are running.

You will also have access to be coached by some of the top UK canoe coaches over the 18 months period.

Skills looked at during Canoe Leader Development Programme:

  • 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

Canoe Based Skills:

  • Efficient paddle strokes for travelling
  • Efficient turning and control strokes
  • The ability to work as a team in a boat
  • Decision making on open water
  • Understanding weather and, in particular, wind and fetch
  • Packing a canoe and adjusting its trim
  • The merits of different packing systems in different circumstances
  • The art of portaging (a true wilderness skill)

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

Expedition Skills 

Campcraft, Cookery and Expedition Skills:

  • 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
  • Personal equipment for canoe journeys
  • Emergency equipment for canoe journeys (and how to use it)

Training Prerequisites 

British Canoeing Explore Award would be an idea starting point to allow you access to the development programme. 

If however you don’t hold that award but you feel you have a suitable level of experience to enter the programme please do not hesitate to contact us for a chat.


This course is non-residential.

Meeting Place
T.B.C normally somewhere within North Wales, Lake District and the Northern Dales.

Course Dates

September 2020* [Running for 18 months to March 2022]

*Covid-19 Government Restrictions allowing.
Canoe Leader Development ProgrammeNorth Wales, Lake District and the Northern Dales£1495MWE-CTA-ENQUIRE

There is an option to spread out the payment over a 12 month period (Term & Conditions apply).

Deposit of £495 and then 12 payments of £100.

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
  • Expedition standard open canoe 
  • Opportunity to try out a selection of Freebird paddles
  • Canoe pole (if needed)
  • Waterproof Rucksack and inner drybag (if needed)
  • Water access fees
  • British Canoeing provider fees
  • Access to a range of canoe equipment suppliers discounts

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

British Canoeing Membership

All course participants will need to be full members of their Home Nation


Alan Pinnington, Ray Goodwin or Lizzie Harrington

For further information or to book a place on this British Canoeing Canoe Leader long term development programme please email info@mountain-water.co.uk