Go Canoeing provided us with a tailored family canoeing experience in Bath as part of their Family fun on the water campaign. With special thanks to Go Canoeing and Paul from Bath Canoe Club, who was our instructor and guide. We went as a family of 6, or varying ages and needs. Paul made the time on the water fun, and it seemed to be over quickly. He was really patient and good at averting any crisis. Our session started at 10 AM and we left around 2 PM.
One of my favourite childhood memories is of going canoeing in the sea and learning to capsize and roll the boat back over. My 11 year old has really got to an age now where he is really starting to be interested in outdoor pursuits and I think it is really important for health and fitness. I think that trying out a variety of activities can really help shape a person, as well as build confidence and self-esteem. Canoeing is also something that my husband has never done before. This surprised me as it was something I had taken for granted in my childhood. Our two oldest sons have even tried it at least once with their schools. They had also both tried kayaking inside a pool on holiday.
Paul explained about all the different boats, and why they were different. He showed us the boats that belonged to other members of the club too. All the equipment we needed was provided – boats, life jackets, helmets and a dry bag. I had never heard of a dry bag before but am definitely considering getting one. It was soaked on the outside (attached to the boat) but the contents were completely dry (and safe to keep my camera inside). I could see these having multiple uses – such as taking camping when the weather is very wet.
I felt perfectly safe and at ease for myself and all of my children. Paul had his own separate boat and kept a good eye on us all. My 11 year old managed to pretty much capsize his boat and become very upset. Paul quickly had it all in hand and got him up on his boat, and in a coat to warm up (and calm down so that he was ready to try again).
It was a great way to see the beauty of Bath from another angle, seeing parts that others are not always able to see. It was peaceful and we did not have to worry about being crowded by other tourists trying to see the same thing. Paul also explained about the area, pointing out places of interest. He told us that it was possible to canoe our way around the pubs, and that another route to canoe was up by a park for the children.
Paul also had the boys sitting on the weir, playing games with a ball, getting the children to stand up, hold hands, jump, and so on. We all had a great time. It was really good to see an activity that encompassed all the boys, despite the age gaps. Our oldest certainly picked it up quickly, and hopefully something he may do again when he goes off to University. I think our 11 year old is also listening to the advice we are trying to give to his big brother that it would be useful to have interests for his UCAS form.
Although the whole experience was really relaxing it was great exercise and afterwards we were all thoroughly exhausted (luckily the driver did not fall asleep on the way home but think everyone else did!)
Bath Canoe Club is situated in an old organ factory at Cleveland Cottages. They are trying to improve the facilities by installing a full length messanine floor within the building and to improve the access to the river. This is currently steps, and quite steep and difficult to use in high waters. They would like to make it more accessible to everyone – for example those in a wheelchair. They also have Monday night pool sessions – where it is easier to teach capsizing and rolling back over.
Go Canoeing offer Starter Sessions , Guided Tours and Fun Events. You can find the nearest club for your ability in the activity quick search. Otherwise if you want to find a sports activity or fitness venue near you try SPOGO, which has over 112,000 venues listed.
We were provided with a free family canoeing session, a Go Canoeing T-shirt, certificates and some yummy chocolate cake (thank you Paul). No other financial compensation was given. All words and opinions are my own. I would thoroughly recommend not only Go Canoeing but Bath Canoe Club who went out of their way to make sure myself, and my family, had an amazing experience.