Moderate Water Endorsement Training (Canoe)
For me the work began before the course. As an APL (Accredited Prior Learning) candidate for the moderate water course I had some homework to do – 4 tasks which helped me get up to speed on all that I had missed not doing the UKCC Level 2 coach course. During this course and on reflection at the end of the course I was glad I completed this. Having stayed at my in-laws the night before in Penrith I headed across the A66 to meet up with course director Ken Hughes on Saturday 11th Feb 2017. The forecast was for snow and there was a concern I might not make it over the A66. Luckily for me the weather proved to be not as cold as forecast, but still very cold to be sitting on a river in a canoe and talking coaching.
The first day was made up of the what to coach and how to coach whilst trying to keep warm in the sub zero conditions.
On the second day we continued where the last day left off, continuing to look at the technical and tactical aspects of what to coach before mock students arrived to put our training into practice. We each took turns to coach our given students whilst observing the coach taking the session.
Snowing on the second day before the students arrive.
The way home back over the A66 proved to be a snowy one filled with stuck cars, crashes and single track duel carriageway driving, timed perfectly by slotting in behind a snowplough to safely get back over to the west of the country.
Attending this course enhanced my coaching skills whilst working in canoes in the moderate water environment. I have already been working with small groups and individuals to improve their personal paddling. Once I have passed the assessment (recommended to attend one within the year) this will give me the remit to coach other canoe paddlers the skills they require to improve their performance whilst out paddling in Moderate water.
5 Star Whitewater Kayak (Now called Advanced Water Leader)
Day one of this course in April 2017 was spent brushing up our personal paddling skills in kayaks including forward paddling with an opportunity to lead a section of the River Spean Gorge.
For reports and pictures visit: Chris Redmond – Paddle reports
My turn to lead came when we got to Constriction. As the name suggests the river constricts through a narrow gap. First and second paddlers nailed it. The third paddler didn’t unfortunately. Despite three, maybe four rolls he bailed and as leader I was on hand to rescue…firstly him, then his boat and subsequently his foam footrest and lunch too. Unluckily for the fourth paddler I got to practice those same skills again as he too went swimming too.
I was particularly please with the feedback on my leadership and safety from Chris Dickinson, Course Director:
‘Good briefing when you took charge. Leadership demonstrated on Spean and on Meig was very sound. Good use of CLAP principles. Particularly liked the effort you made to place yourself in critical positions to provide real safety. Well done.’
The second day we went to the River Meig, North of Inverness in search of water. This was a new river for me and I was keen to apply skills learned from the previous day into a ‘new river’ situation, typical of how you might lead a river with a group if you had never paddled it before. The River Meig allows no time for a warm up as straight after the dam you go through a slot drop and then ‘The Entrance Exam’ (pictured below).
The rest of the river was full of fun, challenging and interesting river features to lead and manage a group on.
When it came to my time to lead again, I ended up needing to set up safety to avoid a siphon.
This course has updated my skills on advanced water and given me the confidence to lead club members in the advance water environment in a kayak. Once I pass my assessment (also recommended to attend within the year) the club will be able to increase what we offer for younger members who want to progress to more challenging rivers.
Many thanks again for the help funding these courses. You have helped me expand my abilities on the water, whether it be coaching or leader in any craft.