Meet the Team

Richard Harpham - Director

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.  Richard is has over 30 years experience of paddling and is a UKCC Level 2 coach, 4 star canoe leader and has completed his 4 star sea kayak training.  Richard holds SUP qualifications as well as coaching modules for young people and navigation.  He has also cycled the Sahara and completed London to Marrakech by bike and kayak and in total has now completed over 9,000 miles of human power.  You can see more about his adventures by visiting 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 which provides inspirational programmes and experiential learning to young people and communities.

Ashley Kenlock - Managing Director

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. Ash is a qualified Level 2 coach UKCC and is also a qualified SUP coach.

Our Team

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:

Aaron Buckingham - Senior Coach

Aaron Buckingham is member of the canoe trail team, he is a white water adrenaline junkie loving both white water kayaking and white water rafting. Aaron started off paddling at the age of 9 doing canoe slalom with the local Viking Kayak Club. His passion for kayaking soon led him to be the junior British Champion in the Double Canoe with his brother Dean. Alongside the slalom kayaking Aaron also played polo for Viking Kayak Club, giving Rich a good run for his money! At the age of 15 Aaron swapped slalom kayaking for white water rafting and represented Team GB at the U23 world championships in Costa Rica in 2011, a fantastic experience that has put him off rice for life. Aaron is a UKCC Level 2 coach with moderate water endorsement in whitewater kayak. Aaron is a 5 star canoe leader and a 4 star white water kayak leader. Aaron is a qualified first aid trainer providing First Aid Training from First Aid at Work to 2 and 3 day NGB and Outdoor REC courses.

Aaron has known Richard from a young age and was a team member of the Big 5 Kayak Challenge, (paddling the source to sea of the River Thames ) when he was just 14. After finishing school Aaron moved to Wales to pursue his outdoor instructor dreams, gain qualifications and expand his experience. Aaron now holds a wide range of qualifications from first aid to climbing and mountain biking to kayaking. Alongside this Aaron has spent many months travelling in New Zealand and Europe paddling famous grade 5+ white water sections like the Wellebruke on the Ötztaler Ache and the Nevis Bluff on the Kawarau. Aaron returned to Canoe Trail biannually to help with the Bedford River festival and do kayak displays off the big air ramp. He is now back for good to help with the expeditions and courses that canoe trail runs.

We are setting up a new coaching and expedition company and Aaron is all set to be a director of this new subsidiary of Canoe Trail.

Rob Campbell

Rob is the jedi master of paddling within our team. He is 62 years young and puts most of us to shame. Rob has a 1st Class Honours in 3 Dimensional Design Ceramics and Printmaking and completed post-graduate studies at Goldsmiths. Rob has been head of Art at the prestigious Carmel college and then Bedford School were he ran the canoe club and racing sections.

Rob is a keen competitive racer and has taken part in the infamous Devizes to Westminster 10 times winning it 3 times. Rich and Rob have raced together in the 2017 DW together and also competed in the Yukon River Quest “Canoe Trail on Tour” in 2016 finishing 9th in their class. Rob is a Level 4 coach and also holds

Rob spends lots of time exploring Scotland by canoe in an area known as the Rough Bounds; between Ardnamurchan and Mallaig. Rob uses his paddling as inspiration for his sculpture and art which is simply stunning.

Rob is a fantastic coach, racer and artist with huge experience and passion to share his knowledge.

Ashley Coleman

Ashley Coleman has worked in the outdoor industry since graduating from Shuttleworth College with a National Diploma in Outdoor Ed. He has worked in Europe and America as a lead instructor on youth programmes teaching life skills, paddlesports, sailing and windsurfing.

Ash is a qualified paddling instructor with a SUP coaching award. In his spare time he is likely to be found hiking in the hills in the Lake District or the flats of Norfolk (compare and contrast!). He loves wild swimming although the rest of us are surprised the North Sea is listed as his favourite location, brrr freezy!

Ash loves travelling and has visited China, Hong Kong and drove around America. Ash has a Level 2 qualification in Youth Work. He is always cheerful and can be identified his epic hair and beard combo! (Sideshow Bob stunt double!!)

Marc Nicholson

Marc is a selfless member (part time) of our team and strong canoeist having paddled in Scotland, Ireland and around the UK. He is a qualified coach and has completed his 4 star training in canoe with Ray Goodwin. He is a member of the open canoeing association. Marc is the driving force behind canoe polo in Bedford having set up the polo section at Viking Kayak Club. The club now has 6 squads including youth, ladies, development squad and one team now in Div 2 and one team in Div 4.

He lived in Ireland for a few years and enjoyed polo and river paddling (lots of whitewater). Marc is also a qualified stand up paddle board (SUP) coach. Marc is one of the friendliest guys you will ever meet.

Jay Goss

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 at Level 2. Jay is a 4 star kayak and canoe leader. Jay plays canoe polo in Division 3 with Richard and works alongside Rich and Ash in Inspired Life ( as well. Jay is a brilliant instructor who loves passing on skills to our customers.

Roger Palin

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 Dee

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…