Explorers Connect

Powering an Adventure Revolution

British Canoeing Awards Course
Saturday 27th - Sunday 28th April 2019

This adventure is now fully booked. Click the BOOK NOW button below to join our waiting list and you will be notified if a place becomes available.

If you’ve enjoyed kayaking or canoeing before and want to take it further, this recognised qualification will provide you with all the skills to become a true wilderness paddler. All just 35 minutes from Central London.


Get a recognised British Canoeing qualification to prepare you for all your water-based adventures with this weekend specifically designed to help you develop your paddling, wild camping and adventure skills on one of the most beautiful rivers in Britain - the Great River Ouse. Paddling through rural Bedfordshire, you'll start on the Victorian embankment and then make your way out onto miles of pristine river, known for otter sightings, kingfishers, herons and other wildlife. You’ll sleep in sheltered riverside woodland, learn bushcraft skills and enjoy open-fire cooking. Working in a small group of just 12, with coaching from professional instructors, you'll learn everything you need to be able to become a true wilderness paddler!

EC adventures are informal, friendly and great fun! They're made up of singles, couples and small sets of friends with ages typically ranging from mid 20s to mid 40s but anyone over 18 years old and young at heart is welcome. Whether it's your first time exploring the outdoors or you're an adventure professional, EC adventures are a great way to meet like-minded people in a safe, welcoming and fun environment.


Across both days you'll follow the syllabus for the current British Canoeing 1 Star and 2 Star Awards. These canoeing qualifications recognise a paddler's ability to control a boat using fundamental skills that are taught by qualified, experienced instructors. You'll get the chance to apply these skills on different types of craft and over the weekend most people, if not all, will achieve the 1 Star standard and many will also get to 2 Star standard (we're aware that British Canoeing are making changes to these awards in 2019 but don't worry, your skills will still be valid under the new award schemes).

You can download the syllabuses below before the course so you know what to expect - you'll be required to meet certain criteria to achieve the awards but we promise you'll have fun in a friendly, informal setting too.

You'll also get the opportunity to learn some really useful bushcraft skills too, like how to construct and maintain your own camp, campfire cooking over an open fire, shelter building, and fire lighting. This course really has it all!


Early on Saturday morning you'll meet your instructors and pick up your boats in Bedford, and after a short briefing and equipment check you'll go straight out onto the river. After a half day of paddling and learning skills along the way you'll arrive at a secluded riverside woodland to set up camp, start a cosy campfire, with steaming cups of tea and coffee, and enjoy a night wild sleeping under the stars. You can choose from shared teepees, small tents and hammocks, or you are more than welcome to bring your own tent or hammock if you prefer. As a group you’ll cook a free-range woodland feast over the camp fire, learning some top tips for preparing bush tucker, with a cosy pub down the road as a backstop option. Then it’s time to relax, toast marshmallows and just enjoy being in the wild.

Sunday will start with a hot campfire breakfast and you'll gather round to learn more bushcraft skills before packing up camp and returning to the water. You'll have another full day of learning while paddling back to your start point, stopping for lunch along the way, to finish around 5pm.


You'll spend the night in a private riverside woodland where you'll work together to light a fire and prepare dinner, with the option of a cosy local pub down the road. There will be a variety of camping options available including large, shared teepees, small tents and hammocks. You'll need to bring your own sleeping bag and mat and are welcome to bring your own tent if you want your own space. You'll need to bring your own packed lunches for both days but dinner and breakfast are provided - when you book please let us know your dietary requirements.



This is a great adventure to travel to by public transport as our start point is just a short walk from Bedford railway station. There are regular trains from central London which take just 35 minutes. Free car parking is also available on local streets.


This course is suitable for all no matter what your paddling experience. When on the river you'll never be too far from land and always wearing a buoyancy aid so there's no need for you to be a champion swimmer, but to achieve the requirements for the qualifications you do need to be confident on the water.


  • Two days use of kayaks, canoes and stand-up-paddleboards (SUP)

  • All specialist watersports equipment

  • Adventure-specific bushcraft skills tuition

  • Coaching from experienced and qualified instructors

  • One night's wild camping in a private woodland campsite

  • Free range dinner on Saturday night

  • Free range breakfast on Sunday morning

Please note: you will need to bring packed lunches with you for both days, as well as your own sleeping bag and roll mat. 


This course runs for two days from Saturday 27th to Sunday 28th April, 2019.


A wonderful event with beautiful scenery, campfires, opportunities to try new things like SUPing or sleeping in a hammock.
Instructors are very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about being on the water. A wonderful weekend getaway and experience!!
Really enjoyable weekend, well organised with a great bunch of people.

If the trip is full, this button will take you to join the waiting list.


If you'd like to know more about this weekend or have a particular question about this or any of our adventures, please email enquiries@explorersconnect.com or call the office on 0117 405 7497 during normal office hours and we'll do our best to help you.