Canoe Trail was founded by experienced adventurer and kayak / canoe coach Richard Harpham. Richard has completed human powered adventures all over the world including sea kayaking the channel, 1000 miles from Vancouver to Alaska, canoeing the Yukon River as well as many iconic trips and expeditions closer to home. He has also cycled the Sahara and completed London to Marrakech by bike and kayak and in total has now completed over 8,000 miles of human power. You can see more about his adventures by visiting www.richadventure.com Richard regularly writes for magazines including Outdoor Adventure Guide, Paddler and BAMLife.
Richard is also one of the coaches at Bedford’s Viking Kayak Club, Club of the Year 2012 and home to Olympic Champion Etienne Stott. Richard’s passion is to inspire young people and communities to set goals, get outdoors and to dream big. He is a co-founder of www.inspiredlife.org which provides inspirational programmes and experiential learning to young people and communities.
Ash is the other half of Canoe Trail’s management and is married to Richard. Ashley has a Masters in human and equine biology and is a keen horse rider and instructor, used to train the Queen’s horses and came late to paddling. Ash loves wild swimming and previously surfing. Her skills and knowledge of paddling has developed quickly and she is great at coaching beginners and new paddlers to the sport. Ashley has great balance from her horse riding and makes Stand Up Paddle Boarding look particularly easy. Ash is a natural paddler and learnt to roll in 1o minutes in the pool.
Since learning to paddle Ash has paddled some iconic Rivers and Lochs including Loch Ness, River Wye, Norfolk Broads and a number of Scottish Rivers.
Canoe Trail uses a series of experienced coaches and guides to fit with the different paddling experiences that we have on offer. We provide a broad range of paddling opportunities from simple hire of boats, to guided trips, to expedition training and courses to develop complete paddling skills.
Guides and staff we use include:
Jay has been an outdoor instructor for the past 10 years working at a range of outdoor centres and organisations. He has a broad range of skills and is a qualified climbing, archery, canoeing, kayaking and biking instructor. Jay plays canoe polo in Division 3 with Richard and works alongside Rich and Ash in Inspired Life (www.inspiredlife.org) as well. Jay is a brilliant instructor who loves passing on skills to our customers.
Mark is a former BBC reporter and manager who now works as a freelance consultant. He is a keen paddler and qualified coach.
Ben is a white water paddler, river leader and qualified coach who has worked in the Alps, Nile and paddled many big river destinations. Ben is at home in a canoe, playboat or snowboard.
Jake is a top slalom kayaker and paddles in the Premier Division of the sport. A former junior British Champion he was a professional athlete for several years close to selection for the GB Senior Squad. Jake is an easy going kayaker with plenty of skills and knowledge to share.
Steve is a qualified PE teacher and accomplished paddler. He has joined Richard on some of his adventures and has played canoe polo (a kayaking team sport) at the highest level. Steve has played in the top division in Scotland and was selected for GB U21 for polo.
Roger is a Royal Navy / Royal Marines Adventurous Training Instructor and a visiting instructor at Glenmore Lodge. He is a Level 5 canoe coach, Level 4 kayak coach, Level 5 Mountain Bike instructor and also Ski and mountaineering at the highest level. Roger joined the Royal Marines aged 16 and rejoined the training section after a spell with Snow and Rock helping their training department.
Meet the Pack
A particularly popular and friendly element of the team are fondly named “The pack” which are our 3 rescue dogs (rescued not rescuers!). They are part of our family and are at home on land or water although can add to the instability of SUP’s and canoes when paddling with them! All of our pack aree rescues and we believe they now have the life they deserved.
Rosie is our black Labrador, she is very friendly, always hungry although does have a loud bark. Keeping her out of the water is the biggest challenge. She loves it and does a great impersonation of a seal
William is one of our Collie Cross Springers who is wired and zips around at full speed, must be the collie part. Like Rosie he loves diving into the water as much as paddling with us.
Dee is William’s sister and has pretty springer spaniel freckles. She is a little bit more laid back (in fact the polar opposite of ‘Wired William’) than William and a little less confident in the water. She is always a favourite with kids and families as she as she is quiet and loves being fussed.
We also have chickens and horses but they don’t yet take to the water…