I’m not much one for social media…

…as anyone looking through my website blog, Facebook page or LinkedIn account will readily testify: only one or two posts in the last 2 years – and very little before that! My excuse is that I’ve been too busy ‘doing stuff’ to take the time to write about it – but that doesn’t really wash in the current Covid-19 lockdown – so here goes with a brief update…

During the last 2 years I have been:

  • until last September, working 1-2 days a week as the Waterways and Environment Officer for Canoe Wales, providing ‘expert’ advice on waterways access, liaising with a wide range of national stakeholders; and launching the campaign for Clear Access, Clear Waters in Wales;
  • working 2-4 days a month as the Coordinator and Company Secretary for the South Wales Outdoor Activity Providers Group, liaising with Members and regional stakeholders on a wide range of issues affecting the provision of outdoor activities by commercial and non-commercial groups in the Brecon Beacons and South Wales;
  • working for numerous weeks as a Freelance Instructor for
    • the Hampshire and Cass Foundation Mountain Centre in Libanus, using canoeing and hillwalking experiences to challenge and develop groups of young people;
    • the Soldier Development Wing at Sennybridge, using canoeing, kayaking and hillwalking to ‘stretch’ army recruits and develop their their mental resilience and their understanding of the Army’s Core Values; and
    • Call of the Wild Ltd, facilitating the leadership development of groups of apprenticeships from the John Lewis Group through a variety of indoor and outdoor exercises blended with classroom learning;
  • organising and running a few British Canoeing Coach Education courses including:
    • Emergency / Aquatic First Aid;
    • Foundation Safety & Rescue Training;
    • Paddlesport Instructor Award Training & Assessment; and
    • Coach Award Core Training, Slalom Coach Training, Sheltered Water Canoe & Kayak Coach Training and Assessment;
  • continuing to volunteer as the Coaching / Development Officer (and Chair) of Brecon Canoe Club; and as Canoe Wales’ Slalom Committee Chair (until last summer); and
  • occasionally helping to deliver outdoor activities for Bonedd y Bannau Explorer Scout Unit and visiting Scout Groups camping on our family farm.

I started this year with every intention of being more organised, laying out a full programme of Coach Education courses, as well as working with my wife on our new joint venture Back to Basics Well-being Weekends, combining a day of ‘mindfulness’ in our own woods with a day of contemplative outdoor activity…

…but then Covid-19 arrived and put all that on hold (apart from one Sheltered Water Canoe & Kayak Coach Training course which I managed to sneak in just before the lockdown!) – so here I am looking forward to the ‘recovery phase’ when things might start to get back to normal – and in the meantime making use of all this ‘spare time’ to get vital building and maintenance jobs done around the home and farm…and catching up on long-neglected tasks like writing this piece!

Here’s hoping that I’m soon too busy again to write such lengthy blog entries – but not too busy to keep a little more up-to-date!

Canoe Slalom Coach Training

I was privileged to have the opportunity to work with the renowned canoe slalom coach Daniel Goddard this weekend, delivering a British Canoeing Slalom Coach Award Training course to 6 aspirant coaches. 1 day at Holme Pierrepont focusing on observation and coaching features on a man-made site, followed by 2 days at Canolfan Tryweryn focusing on safety & rescues skills and coaching upstream and downstream moves on a natural river. Great feedback from the 6 candidates who we hope will have been inspired to continue their journeys towards becoming qualified slalom coaches 😉


Canoe White Water Coach Award Training

Glasbury-Hay 27 March & Symonds Yat 28 March: despite less-than-ideal water conditions, we managed to find enough Moderate Water to complete the training. “Well rounded course”; “Great speed of progression, informative and ‘student-led”. Thanks to both of the enthusiastic participants!

Yet another qualification!

I recently attended the British Canoeing Stand-Up Paddleboard Discipline-Specific Module (at Parkwood Outdoors, Dolygaer) so am now ‘qualified’ to include SUP sessions in my coaching (or will be when I’ve had a bit more practice – preferably not in mid-winter!)…

More qualifications!

I’ve recently qualified as both a British Canoeing Performance White Water Kayak Coach (formerly known as UKCC Level 3!) and a Disicpline Specific Tutor & Assesor for the the new British Canoeing Coach Award (Sheltered Water Kayak & Canoe, White Water Kayak, White Water Canoe, Open Water Canoe and perhaps even Slalom!). I’m looking forward to using these soon, as well as my existing Paddlesport Instructor (formerly Level 1 Coach) Tutor / Assessor qualification. Watch this space!