OCA East Midlands: Canoe Skills Development Programme

Hi Everyone,

I’m pleased to let you know that the OCA East Midlands is launching its Canoe Skills Development Programme. It is what is says in the tin: a effort to provide OCA members with a series of structured opportunities to develop their paddling skills.

The programme is aimed at both competent flat water paddlers who want to start paddling consistently on white water and paddlers who have some experience in more advanced environments and want to take the opportunity to take it further.

The programme is not intended to compete with the star-award system, nor does it intend to reinforce. Unlike the star system, it does not intend to provide route to certification - it aims exclusively to develop competence but where pertinent, we will create opportunities for those intending to pursue the three- and four-star awards.

We intend to organise events frequently — we like to provide opportunities to develop the whole range of canoe skills: from paddling down river on a moving flow to multiple day expedition techniques.

Upcoming events, some of them already advertised. Unless stated otherwise, the events are free to OCA members but a contribution would be expected to cover the coaches cost (mainly, petrol & cake). 

Courses for OCA members Moving water weekend: 30th & 31st January.

We intend to do a weekend suitable for those wanting to get into white water paddling more consistently. Suitable for three star candidates and above. Ideally, the venue would be the river Derwent. Sadly the river levels are extremely high at the moment and this may have been a major factor in a recent tragedy. We do not intend to proceed if the water does not get below 0.80m on the EA gauge (1.52m at present), as the river covers the features and the high flow makes it unsuitable for the activities intended. We will try to find an alternative venue but that may not be possible due to the amount of rain. I’m coordinating the event; I’ll keep you posted.

Open water weekend: 27th & 28th February on Bala lake.

Great venue, with a range of places that would allow to cater for a variety of interests and skills levels. With great chances of wind, it could be a great place to do some sailing, rafting, and some tracking. Suitable for three star candidates and above; Pete Montandon is coordinating the event.

Possible three star assessment weekend: 23rd & 24th April, both moving and open water.

Venues to be determined. Suitable for both those who have attended the two previous sessions and want to get assessed, as well as for those who want to further practice their skills. There will be several coaches, so we’ll be able to cater for a range of interests. Ian Dennies is coordinating the event.

5 star Canoe training x2: 4th-8th April & 3-7th October.

5 days in Scotland Members £280. Using our go to Level 5 coach Jules Burnard (check him out on www.voyageur-coaching.co.uk ) we will be putting on a 5 star training programme this year almost certainly in Scotland over 5 days. Last year he provided 2 courses which were both very successful (I can give contacts from some of the participants if you want more info - you can also read my blog on the second course on www.canoetree.co.uk/blog/).

This will be at heavily discounted rates for OCA members. In addition we can help you link up with people who want to paddle so that you can use and refine what you have learned. We also run a 5* Facebook group so that you can stay in touch with people, gossip, swop ideas and arrange to go Paddling. Max 4 person so early commitment is essential. If interested contact Pete Montandon peter.montandon@opencanoe.info.

4* Canoe training: 27th, 28th & 29th May 3days North Wales Members £130, or 4* Canoe training & WWSR Package: October, 5days Scotland Members £280. This is a continuation of the program that was started by us about 4 years ago Jules Burnard does the formal training and the OCA will help you achieve your Action plan given to you by Jules by offering “Development days “on moving and lake water, opportunities to run trips, a well qualified mentor (if you want one) and contact with other people who are going through the same process as you. Max 5 persons

This year we will be offering a 3 day course so you get plenty of time to cover all elements. We are also trialling 4* with White water safety and Rescue over 5 days . Contact me if you are interested.

We are more interested in helping you become a really competent leader than getting a tick in the box so you set the pace. You can get to assessment in 12 months but most of our members take 2/3 years. We will also be offering an assessment depending on demand. Will advertise on Facebook. If interested contact Pete Montandon peter.montandon@opencanoe.info.

Expeditions and Trips

There will be a number of trips.  Two big trips in Scotland and several in France maybe Slovinia. We hope there will be more: this is what we have so far.

The Ardèche: 30th May-5th June.

An absolute favourite this will be our 5th trip none have disappointed. There has always been sun, ice cream, great camping an unsurpassed scenery. Our experience means that we can often have the river to ourselves with out the intrusion of all that yellow plastic. This is a European classic. Contact me, if interested - either message here on FB or email me at pancho@opencanoe.info).

The Tarn: 6th-12th June.

A very picturesque river in the massive Central filled with gentle water, red wine and SUN. Contact Pete Montandon, peter.montandon@opencanoe.info. Scotland: 11th-15th April. A traditional Scottish Journey. Loch Nevis River Carnoch, Loch Quoich and River Garry to the Great Glen. This a serious journey using all the 5* skills in a very remote location including a very tough portage led by Jules Burnard cost members £130. Limited numbers a truly stunning trip.

Scotland: 26th-30th. October Loch Finn, Veyatie and Sionascaig.

In the far North of Scotland, north of Ullapool, remote, yes, spectacular very much so. The mileage is low because there is so much to explore and enjoy in the boat and on foot, ideal for those wanting to get a taste of the wild without too much effort Led by Jules Burnard members £130 Limited numbers. Contact Pete Montandon, peter.montandon@opencanoe.info.

White water safety and Rescue: 19th & 20th March

In Wales with Jules, prerequisite for 4* and a must for anyone who has aspirations of keeping safe and keeping your mates safe whatever and whenever you paddle. Cost £90 (based on 6 attendees). If interested contact Pete Montandon peter.montandon@opencanoe.info. Tarps and Tents in summer time: A weekend of mucking about using a tarp, lighting fires loading the canoe, portaging keeping yourself clean etc etc. If you ever have the urge to Canoe camping this weekend will be really worthwhile Contact Ian Dennies: ian.dennies@opencanoe.info.

Hopefully we will add to the list so if you fancy organising a trip let me know. If you are interested on any of the trips advertised, get in touch and please let me know. Hope to see you on the water - or by the campfire.