22nd and 23rd of May, 2010 – Open Canoe 3* Training

Two days training towards the 3* Open Canoe award with day 1 being work on paddle strokes within the beautiful setting of the Tweed estuary at Berwick Upon Tweed.

Day 2 was a short but full river descent of a stretch of the River Till (a tributary of the Tweed) between Ford and Etal, two gorgeous little villages in Northumberland. We stopped numerous times to work on different skills including, sharp turns, breaking in and out of eddies, polling, rescues and descending basic rapids. Rescues were last but well worth the wait, if only to cool off on a very summery day. One unexpected outcome of the day was rolling a canoe – a bit contrived and not likely to be achievable in any real paddling situation but great fun and surprisingly easy to do, all of us got it first time.

Canoes seem to be much harder to disguise faults in ones paddling, errors are exaggerated and because there are so many different paddle strokes with strengths and weaknesses at different times it is easy to pick the wrong one. The single bladed paddle is inherently unbalanced in terms of powering one side over the other at any given time and so getting the forward paddling to work efficiently is tricky, correctional elements to strokes are required and overall canoeing definitely seems harder at to pick up than kayaking but it is really satisfying all the same.


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