Our Origins & Story

Canoe Trail was founded in 2005 by Richard and Ashley, a husband and wife team. The award-winning business is based at Kempston Outdoor Centre in Bedford. It offers a range of adventures and activities including canoe, kayak, and stand-up paddleboard hire, paddlesport lessons, woodland camping, and paddlesport expeditions. Find out more below.

Adventures Around the World!

Company founder Richard Matheson Harpham FRGS is a human-powered adventurer who alongside Ashley has undertaken many worldwide adventures. You can watch the video to sample some of their exploits to Cananda

At Canoe Trail we have an adventurous and competitive DNA with team members completing big canoe and kayak races including the infamous Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race (125 miles and 77 portages of pain time), the Muskoka River X race (80miles of Canadian lakes, rivers and wilderness) and the Yukon River Quest – “The YRQ” (444 miles and the world’s longest annual canoe and kayak race).

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Meet the Instructors

People come to us for canoe and kayak coaching and tuition because we are friendly, break it down into simple steps, offer progression from basic paddling to expert level, and have some great kit. Our current instructors:

Ashley Kenlock

Ash is the CEO of Canoe Trail and has 20 years of paddling experience.

Ash runs Canoe Trail with her husband Richard. Ash is a qualified Level 2 coach UKCC and is also a qualified SUP coach. She is a natural paddler and learned to roll in 10 minutes in the pool. She has a Masters in human and equine biology and is a keen horse rider and instructor used to train the Queen’s horses.

Ash loves wild swimming and previously surfing. 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. Ash has also led expeditions in Canada in Ontario. She has completed her canoe leader training.

Richard Harpham

Company founder, Richard is now Director and coach at Canoe Trail.

Rich is an experienced adventurer, kayak, and canoe coach. Richard has completed human powered adventures all over the world. Richard has over 30 years experience of paddling and you can see more about his adventures by visiting www.richadventure.com

Richard regularly writes for magazines including Outdoor Adventure Guide, Paddler Magazine and BAMLife.

Calum Steel

Calum is a White Water Kayak Leader, Canoe Leader, Expedition Leader with 14 Years of Experience in the Outdoors.

Scottish born and bred! He has led many canoe and kayak expeditions across Scotland. He has paddled all over the world, BASI Level 3 Ski & Snowboard.

Chris Whitmore


Description coming soon

Damien Barker

Damian has been studying outdoor adventure at Shuttleworth college and is now a level 3 outdoor instructor.

Damian has been paddling as long as he can remember and most that has been spent upside down. He is also an experienced white-water paddler, having spent time in on Scottish lochs and on Canadian rivers. He has also lead expeditions across the UK and abroad.

Alex Bonney

Alex is currently Studying Level 5 Higher Education in Sport

Alex has been paddling since he was 14 and rarely ever finished a session dry, avid white water paddler with some SUP sprinkled in. His preferred trips have been trips to Scotland, North Wales, and now sea kayaking.

Arafat Walugembe

Arafat has worked in the business for as long as we can remember!

Alongside studying at university, he is a key member of the team and is a qualified Paddlesport Instructor. The SUP king!

Dano Di Credico

Dano is a level 5 outdoor instructor and has been with us since 2021

Dano has 4 years experience of being an outdoor instructor and has led in the humid Rio Sucio River in Costa Rica and the not so humid Ross-on-Wye river in Wales and the River Derwent..

Sib Eames

Paddling for around 12 years recreationally, Sib has spent the last 7 years coaching and encouraging the next generation of paddlesports enthusiasts through the Sea Cadets.

The need for adventure bought Sib to Canoe Trail originally as a customer. Now a whole new adventure has begun! Sib is a SUP, Canoe and kayak coach, as well as our resident first aid trainer and assessor. Sib has run expeditions on the Great Ouse, Derwent and Stour.

Henry McGinty

Henry is Canoe Trail's Operations Manager, having run event programmes for multiple event deliverers and charities across the country.

Henry had a misspent youth getting rained on in the more inhospitable parts of the world, before beginning to arrange for others to do so as well.

After falling in love with paddleboarding and canoeing, and developing a decidely more mixed relationship with Kayaking, Henry has qualified as a paddlesport coach, as well as a climbing wall instructor.

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