Up and running with courses for 2021!

Wow, has it really been almost 9 months since I posted optimistically that courses were running post-lockdown (just before the second one began!)?

Well, I did manage to run one FSRT course in the brief period of freedom in autumn 2020…

…but the good news is that I’m now up-and-running with courses for 2021 (having already run one Paddlesport Instructor course and proved that it can be done with Social Distancing restrictions!).

Details, dates and bookings of scheduled courses are all available on the attached flyer and my Events page; and details of all the courses I am able to deliver are on my Courses page.

Please get in touch if you have specific needs and I’ll see what I can do to help!

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!