Fancy learning to kayak on rivers, clean water, fantastic scenery, and sunshine? Okay we cant guarantee the sunshine, it is Scotland after all, but we have had two outings so far in this series of  trips which have provided all the above although it has been cold!

The temperature will increase as we approach the summer and the water levels will drop but there will still be sufficient rivers for us to paddle and to work on river running skills.

The idea for these sessions is to provide club members with the opportunity to develop in this area of kayaking. Participants can be any age and should be of 2 star standard to get the most out of the experience. That doesnt mean that you have to have your 2 star award but you should have 2 star skills such as efficient forward paddling, being able to steer and manoeuvre the boat and being able to prevent a capsize. Being able to roll in the pool also helps but isnt strictly necessary.

So far we have kayaked on the River Teith and on the River Doon as tackling different rivers is also part of the development process that we are seeking to provide. These rivers are graded as moderate white water. ie. Grade 3 maximum.

Rivers are generally graded using the international grading system. This gives an idea of how difficult a river will be by providing a scale of 1 to 6 which takes into account both technical difficulty and seriousness. There are numerous places where the grade of a river can be found such as Scottish White Water ? The SCA Guidebook or Scottish Canoe Touring which is also published by the Scottish Canoe Association. There are also sources on the web such as the UK Rivers Guidebook.

The bottom line with these sessions is that the hardest water we will be venturing onto is grade 3 which should be well within the capability of a paddler who has control over his or her speed and direction and has practised their support strokes!

The only downside so far has been the poor uptake from club members. I can only assume that people are put off by the thought of paddling raging torrents and flowing over huge waterfalls. I can assure you that these things dont come into the grade 3 definition.

The plan for these sessions is to provide a safe progression allowing participants to develop their skills. If you are a sea kayaker you will learn skills that are useful at the top end of sea kayaking when you paddle on tide races and on overfalls. If you are a canoeist you will learn how to read the white water and choose the best route. We will work during these sessions on transferable skills that will improve your paddling in other areas.

Have a look at the dates and see if you can make the next one. Contact the organiser in advance as places are limited for persons seeking to progress to 3 Star. Paddlers who have their 3 star ww Kayak and above are welcome to come along and enjoy the trip!

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