Canoe Trail and Bedford Borough Summer Sports Course 2019

For more information and booking:

29th July to 2nd August 2019



Canoe Trail - ‘Woodland Wild’

09:30 – 16:30


£120 (£30 per day)

Matchstick Wood
Nr Willington Dovecote Bedford MK44 3PX

5TH To 9th August 2019



Canoe Trail - ‘Wet N Wild’

09:30 – 16:30


£120 (£30 per day)

The Embankment, Bedford MK40 3QF

12th to 16th August 2019



Canoe Trail - ‘Wet N Wild’




(£30 per day

The Embankment, Bedford MK40 3QF

19th to 23rd August 2019



Canoe Trail - ‘Woodland Wild’

09.30 – 16.30


£120 (£30 per day

Matchstick Wood
Nr Willington Dovecote Bedford MK44 3PX

27th to 30th August 2019



Canoe Trail - ‘Wet N Wild’

09:30 – 16:30

8-15 yrs

£100 (£30 per day)

The Embankment, Bedford MK40 3QF

Develop Your Adventurous Side With Canoe Trail

Canoe Trail has been helping people develop their adventurous side for almost a decade teaching canoeing, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding as well as expeditions and trips to destinations off the beaten track. Each year we help lots of people to develop new skills from novice to intermediate and onto more advanced skills with coached courses, qualifications and experience on white water. 

We also get some customers who embrace their adventurous side and join our coaching team of professional instructors for our best of Scotland canoeing week, canoeing the mighty Yukon River and exploring Ontario’s Algonquin and Temagami wilderness areas. These expeditions or longer canoe paddling trips are true ‘bucket list’ destinations with the peace of mind that our instructors are leading the trip and also coaching you to improve your skills.

So you can really move from introductory canoe and camp trips with us to 440 mile 18 day canoe expeditions. You can also opt one to one or personalised canoe or kayak coaching on moving water, for specific challenges or simply to learn a specific technique. Our team have years of experience, racing, exploring and competing at the highest levels, nationally and internationally and are used to making these skills accessible for all.

Coached canoeing, SUP and kayaking tuition and courses

Canoe Trail staff are qualified in British Canoeing coaching and leadership qualifications from core elements to moving water (white water) as well as different disciplines including white water kayak, moderate water canoeing (white water to Grade 2/3), Advanced white water in canoe and kayak as well as stand up paddle boarding (SUP).

We can also provide specific coaching for different elements of paddling with canoes, kayaks and SUP’s such as:

  • Rescue techniques for independent paddling
  • Rolling clinic for kayaks lovers!
  • Better Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP) skills
  • Training for adventure and extreme races
  • Training for charity challenges
  • Introduction to moving water
  • British Canoeing Start Qualification
  • British Canoeing Discover Qualification
  • British Canoeing Explore Qualification

Bucket List Canoe Expeditions

The ‘Best of Scotland’ Canoe Expedition / Trip

The Best of Scotland Canoe Expedition is a fantastic week based from our private game lodge near Aviemore in the Highlands. You fly into Inverness where our team will meet you for the week ahead. We start of on Loch., home of Ospreys and reacquaint ourselves with the fundamental skills for the week ahead. As the course progresses we explore different iconic rivers and lochs building on skills as we go. Destinations for the week usually include a couple of days exploring the River Spey and paddling the infamous Washing Machine, Loch Ness and River ness, Beauley Gorge and wild camping in Wester Ross on Loch Maree. The Loch Maree trip was made by Queen Victoria in the late 1800’s and is a pristine and wild location. 

The Best of Scotland Canoe Expedition includes all accommodation, ground transport, breakfast and evening meals and even a Scottish banquet(well Haggis and all the trimmings) with a wee dram.

Yukon Canoe Expedition

Canoe Trail are no strangers to the mighty Yukon River with Rich having made 7 different trips and expeditions there over the past decade. The team have led the Yukon canoe expedition from Whitehorse to Dawson City (440 miles) guiding different groups and sharing the goldrush history and amazing wildlife with exceptional local knowledge. The team guide our customers, relevant novice paddlers down the stunning river sharing Lake Laberge, Little Salmon, Five Finger Rapids, Rink Rapids, Hootalinqua, Fort Selkirk, and of course lots of little historic sights. Each year we see wide selection of wildlife including Moose, Grizzlies, black bear, Lynx, eagles, beavers and wolves.

Algonquin and Temagami Canoe Expeditions

Our other Canada Canoe Expedition heads to the East side where we explore Ontario spending two weeks paddling Algonquin Park and Temagami’s ancient forests.  We meet in Toronto and travel up to Algonquin Park’s massive lake and river system to spend 4 days exploring the stunning wilderness area, camping and travelling as the pioneers would have. Algonquin Park is home to moose, loons, otters, beavers and black bear so there is plenty to see. We then head North to Temagami where we will be hosted by Hap and Andrea Wilson at Cabin Falls Eco Lodge. Hap, the former ranger and author of 14 guide books will be our guide with Andrea to explore by canoe, swim and hike the ancient Temagami trails. We fly in and out by float plane which adds to the adventure experience.

Other Trips and Expeditions From Canoe Trail

River Tweed Canoe Trip

A fantastic 3 day canoeing trip with plenty of opportunities to learn new skills on faster water. This trip also allows time for developing traditional skills such as poling, lining and tracking and solid white water skills in a canoe. Set on the Scottish Borders the Tweed and Twill are classic canoe rivers with reasonable flow and some great features. We wild camp on the river bank on one of the nights.

River Severn Canoe Trip

Another classic canoe trip starting near the UNESCO heritage site at Iron Bridge the trip passes the remnants of our industrial age past as well as hermits caves, riverside pubs and rolling countryside.  There is an opportunity to play on Jackfield Rapids along the way. Another brilliant trip to develop your skills with Canoe Trail’s expert team of instructors.

Jurassic Coast Sea Kayaking Trip

Switch your canoe for a sea kayak and join us on this 3 day sea kayaking trip where we explore some of the UNESCO heritage Jurassic Coast and subject to weather, tides and ability of the group we will explore different locations including Poole Harbour, Old Harry, Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove, Brownsea Island.  We also aim to include our ever popular Needles sea kayaking element where we cross to the Isle of Wight to explore the Needles.

River Cruises by Giant Voyager Canoes

Voyager Canoes in Bedford

Giant Voyager Canoes are now available for corporate events, youth activities and programmes and general river tours in Bedford.  A river cruise by one of our guided giant canoes is the perfect family activity to get outdoors and enjoy the River Great Ouse.

The stable canoes are great for paddlers of all ages from kids pirate parties to work groups and of course your whole family young and old.

We have used them with some of our youth groups from Princes Trust and YMCA which was great for team work, leadership and communication. They have also proved a hit with our paddling courses 1 and 2 star as well as corporate team building events.

Besides the strong teamwork requirement another key attraction is it a dry activity as well.

Our wider aim is to link this to supported training programmes where we provide technical skills and endurance to facilitate longer trips and expeditions to Canada to the Yukon and Ontario with teams.

The boats are stable providing a great platform for people to try this paddling discipline.  They also provide a great opportunity for disability sport with easier access for customers with limited mobility.

Discovering Voyagers on the Yukon River Quest

Rich and Rob of Canoe Trail first witnessed their power, versatility and grace on the Yukon River Quest in 2016 when several teams were racing alongside them.

Summer Holiday Activities

With the summer holidays in motion and children and young people off school, Canoe Trail wanted to provide some great holiday offers for canoe and camping and adventurous activities for families. 

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Balfour Beatty Warrior Challenge Raises Over £52,000 for the ABF Soldiers Charity with a little help from Canoe Trail
Balfour Beatty Warrior Challenge
Balfour Beatty Warrior Challenge

The Balfour Beatty Warrior Challenge took place during June 2017 and involved cycling over 400 miles around the resting places for soldiers lost in the Afghan conflict and a 128 mile kayak from Devizes in Wiltshire to Tower Bridge, London. It was the brainchild of ABF ambassador Corporal Andy Reid, triple amputee and former soldier of the year and serving soldier Sergeant Major Glenn Hughes.

Andy and Glenn’s comrades were fatally injured when their warrior vehicle hit an IED in Afghan. The team supported by Balfour Beatty visited each of the graves of the soldiers paying their respects as well as connecting with towns and cities around Armed Forces Day to help raise funds for the ABF (Army Benevolent Fund) Soldiers Charity. The challenge included Andy North, long term fundraiser for the ABF who ran over 12 marathons in 12 days. For Glenn it was a different challenge as he has been coping with a hidden injury PTSD.

Canoe Trail joined the team at Devizes with Rob Campbell and Rich Harpham supporting Andy, Andy and Glenn. It was an incredible team effort with the Royal Marines providing two valley Aleut 2’s for the paddlers. The route followed the infamous DW route which includes 75 portages and 125 miles of paddling. Rob and Rich are no strangers to the race with Rob having completed it 10 times winning the C1 class on 3 occasions. Rich has raced twice over the last two years, once in the K2 (kayak) class and once in the C2 (canoe) class.

 The journey from Devizes started well with the first 13 miles without any portages. The first locks meant a tough challenge for Andy as he needed to attach his legs to go around the lock. After the portage he then detached his legs and we carried on paddling. This challenge is tough for anyone and historically on the race Olympians, adventurers and other racers have failed to complete the course. We carried on reaching portage after portage with a steady and tough routine. The kayaks were fast but made from a heavy glass construction were incredibly heavy.

Andy demonstrated his steely resolve with no complaints as he dealt with portage after portage and paddling in between. Andy’s prosthetic arm presented its own problems with sweat collecting on his arm from the silicon cup and also the difficulty of the constant friction rubbing on the stump. Glenn and Andy North also powered on as we made our way along the Kennet Avon Canal. This initial stretch of the canal is stunning with the mounds and rolling hills of the Ridgeway trail. It also means the infamous tunnel and the 1.5 mile Croton Locks which was our toughest portage. Shortly after that was perhaps the funniest moment of the challenge.

Andy Reid was using his hand bike to complete the portages on the longer sections which in theory was a great plan. Many of the banks were very high at 2ft and 3ft which made getting in and out the boat tiring and tricky. Once out on the longer stretches Andy found the hand bike much faster. Off he went a man on mission. We noted the very uneven bank and the local fishermen assisted with keeping the three wheels on terra firmer. At the next section an oak tree roots provided another obstacle so Glenn hopped out of the kayak to assist again. You can guess where this story is heading. On the third obstacle Andy confidently informed us he was fine to traverse the bank and accelerated like a racing driver heading for the gap. In slow motion we watched the right hand wheel lift off the ground and then slowly him get catapulted into the canal. All we could hear from the reeds from Mr Reid was roars of laughter. We managed to retrieve the chair from the canal and Glenn headed back to the bank to get his paddle. The hand bike then took off with a mind of its own (and a little electric short from its immersion) and accelerated along the bank and back into the canal. Our laughter was now near hysteria.

The days rolled into each other with more portages, feed stops and support from the Balfour Beatty Support vehicles and the team from ABF including Colonel Phil Naylor MBE Rtd , Jim Duffy and Charlotte Bell, the team rehab specialist. In addition were Terry ‘ the tea’ and Sean from Balfour who provided food stops and shuttles for the team. There are so many iconic places on the route with Reading town centre, Windsor (and its castle), Henley(which was preparing for the Regatta and meant we saw the Royal Barge passing. This was a real treat and highlight of the day. 

Onwards to Central London and the London Sights by kayak. The team passed the Boat Race course at Putney before passing so many landmarks including Battersea Power Station, Houses of Parliament, London Eye, HMS Belfast and then Tower Bridge. Our emotions were running high docking at HMS President and being hosted by friends at the Royal Navy. The team of Glenn Hughes, Andy Reid and Andy North had completed a mammoth challenge cycling and kayaking over 500 miles. For Andy Reid it demonstrated his strong character, fantastic humour and selfless attitude. The team raised over £52,000 for the ABF Soldiers Charity with corporate donations…

Canoe Trail Expand Our RED SUP Demo Centre
RED Paddle Co SUP Demo Centre
RED Paddle Co SUP Demo Centre

Canoe Trail Expand Our Red Paddle Co. Red SUP Demo Centre

Canoe Trail have been providing SUP Safari’s and Stand Up Paddle Boarding for the last 5-6 years with a range of high quality SUP boards on offer. Since 2014 we have had Red Paddle Co SUP’s on the water in Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire with our Giant Red XL boards and also the ever popular Ride 10’8’s.

The 2016 and 2017 season has seen us expand our fleet with a wide range of RED SUP’s. We are now a listed demo centre for Red Paddle Co (as well as Silver Birch Canoes) and have a large demo fleet as well as plenty of boards, paddles and accessories in stock. Our RED demo fleet includes:

Red Explorer SUP

A great for longer distance touring, fast, high volume and space for kit

Sport SUP 12'6

These are popular within the fleet with a great mix of stability and speed

Race Board

A racing machine with great line speed. It is a little more twitchy but great fun to paddle

Ride 9’8

A good board for lighter paddlers and ladies. Ash loves this board and rarely shares!

Ride 10’6

Reported to be the world’s fastest selling SUP – good mix of stability and speed. Perfect for learning tricks and more advanced manoevres

Ride 10’8

A fantastic board for the heavier paddler, beginner to intermediate and also for those wanting to paddle with their kids or pooch on the nose of the board. Very stable and forgiving

Giant XL

We have two of these monster boards that can carry 6-8 people. We use them a lot for youth programmes and corporate events. A great place for a ‘board meeting’.

Red Paddle Co SUP Stockist

Canoe Trail is a Red Paddle Co Stockist where you can demo and ‘try before you buy’ the full range of RED paddle boards with advice and guidance from our team of professional instructors. Most of our instructors are keen SUP’ers and hold instructor qualifications in stand up paddle boarding.

We hold a number of boards in stock and offer great deals matching prices around the country. You can also receive one of our 4 week courses for free when you purchase a board from us.

Experienced Team of SUP Instructors

Our team have considerable experience and qualifications in SUP (stand up Paddle boarding). Rich has been involved in board sports for most of his life as a windsurfing coach and running a windsurfing, bike and skate shop called Endless Summer. Rich has completed a few expeditions by SUP including trying to stand up paddle board around Majorca which coincided with the worst storms in 25 years.

Aaron has tried his hand at whitewater SUP’s and like most whitewater disciplines is annoyingly good. He has completed a SUP qualification and enjoys coaching SUP Skills.

Ashley Kenlock and Ash ‘Man’ Coleman are both experienced SUP coaches with strong skills. Both are great at coaching youth programmes on SUP and also ladies SUP courses. Marc Nicholson is also a qualified SUP coach.