Catch-up with Canoe Cornwall

Published January 9th, 2021 Catch-up with Canoe Cornwall Published in: Days Out

For those of you who have not previously had a go at canoeing, we would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to not only a great sport and a fun activity on holiday but also a fantastic way to see parts of the country that you might not otherwise get to see and experience.

Furthermore, canoeing is a low impact activity that can aid with your strength and flexibility, and help to tone you up, as well as getting to see some great and unique areas. You can enjoy the local waterways, as you can paddle on meandering rivers, calm lakes and turquoise seas, and whilst you are having an enjoyable time you are also benefiting your health, a real win, win situation.

Cornwall is recognised as one of the best regions to canoe/kayak here in the UK. The waterways here in Cornwall are ideal for spending several hours simply going on a gentle paddle whilst sightseeing, discovering the diverse natural environments, getting close to waterway wildlife or exploring the dramatic coastline. Canoeing or kayaking can be peaceful and meditative, or you can opt for a more exhilarating paddle.

As with most sports there can be risks and this is where a professional canoe company comes in, they will inform you of the basic rules and show you the basic techniques needed before getting on the water. These companies will also know about any potential hazards in the waterways and the required safety regulations. Canoe Cornwall are a fully insured and professional organisation here in Cornwall. They offer a number of experiences catering to beginners through to accomplished paddlers.

Complete beginners can take to the waterway; you will be fitted with a suitable craft for the waterway, shown the basics on how to steer the boat and fitted with a buoyancy aid. It is beneficial to have some swimming experience. Canoeing is a very accessible activity and one that the entire family can get onboard with. Time sent on the waters is a great way to spend fun family time together whilst creating happy memories.

There are a variety of crafts available that can accommodate solo or joint riders for a tandem paddle. They also offer kayak hire for those who need access to a craft and equipment.

We had a chat with Jay from Canoe Cornwall to see exactly what they offer to guests and what you can expect from one of their experiences.

Hi Jay, thanks for taking time out to chat to us. We just have a few questions for you.

Firstly, what are the differences between kayaking and canoeing?

"Half the paddle, twice the man! Sorry, not sure if I can say that anymore!

It’s a bit of friendly rivalry between canoeists and kayakers. Truth be told, we are all one happy family. To put your question in to context, in the UK, we refer to these terms to just going canoeing. A kayak is a closed cockpit that you sit inside and use a paddle with two blades and a canoe has an open deck you can move around in and you use a paddle with one blade. The Canadian canoe I am really referring to is what I use for my business. Really family friendly boats."

What activities/experiences do you offer?

"You can join me on the river for a guided canoe trip, in the woods to try some archery, axe throwing, spear throwing or learn some bushcraft and survival skills. This will always involve a fire and a chance to have a brew and cook some food if you want. I Have a non-contact Zombie tactical paintball firing range. Its crazy fun, experiencing what it's like to move on a range shooting at zombies. This goes down well with corporate groups, stag and hen parties. I have team building days which involves all these activities and they love it.

I also run school camps and activities and lead group canoe expeditions in Sweden."

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Where do these experiences/activities take place?

"On the Fal River and surrounding woodland areas. I am really lucky to be partners with the National Trust at Trelissick Gardens who have access to some beautiful woodlands. I also provide outdoor activities for other venues, training other businesses and festivals around the country."

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What can people expect on a canoe outing?

"A chance to just become a part of nature I guess. Gliding in to a creek, looking for mullet swimming in the shallows, Herons and Egrets feeding, just slowing life down and end enjoying family time or just a moment to themselves.

Sure, I will teach you some cool paddling skills, tell you about the history of smugglers, Pirates treasure and the film locations of Poldark."

Do you have to be super fit to take part in any of these activities?

"No! I have had all manner of abilities and fitness out with me. If you have any concerns, just get in touch. You don’t even have to be able to swim. The beauty of a Canadian canoe is that they are hard to capsize; it's very rare. You don’t wear wetsuits, and I can raft two canoes together which makes them impossible to capsize. Cats, dogs and Parrots are also welcome.

We launch from a pontoon so nice easy access."

Who or what inspired you to get onto the water?

"In the 70’s when I was a kid, I had a French uncle, we use to go to the south of France to meet up with family, He was one cool guy, I remember seeing him walk out of the water, just like the Bond scene, long hair, muscles holding a spear gun and I though, yeap, I want to be just like him. That and watching Jacques Cousteau and Jack Hargreaves really influenced me in getting to know the great outdoors."

Was it an easy transition from skipper to canoeing as a profession or were you always involved in canoeing?

"My fishing days are long gone now, I do the odd commercial trip and keep my tickets up to date just in case I ever return. The sea has always been a part of my heritage, both my mother and fathers families have a maritime background going back a long time. I've just hit 20 years of policing now so it all does seem like a lifetime ago."

You love to spend time outdoors, how did you get into bushcraft?

"As we all do, playing in the woods as a kid. Scouting was as a strong influence and I have many happy memories. Bushcraft is a constant evolving subject. I have had the pleasure of working with very fine people such as Bear Grylls and Ray Mears who have done so much good in promoting families to get outdoors. I love meeting fellow outdoors people where you can share skills and try new things."

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What do you enjoy most about your work?

"It’s the people I meet, every time, hands down. I've met people from all over the world, different backgrounds, ideas, and passions. I love sharing those moments, the first time in a canoe, seeing someones reaction when they see a heron take off with a fish in its beak or when the arrow hits the gold on the target. That’s the magic of guiding people in the outdoors."

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Where is your favourite place, outside of Cornwall of course to go paddling?

"I have so much more of the world to paddle, now my sons have almost grown up, I'm looking forward to heading off on my own and exploring the world by canoe.

But I love the Harkan River in Sweden. What a wonderful blend of forest, lakes and slow flowing rivers. Simply stunning."

Do you have any favourite river or rivers you would like to return to, or ones you would love to check out?

"The Danube River, I would like to paddle that! 10 countries, what a paddle that would be. About 2,500 miles, it might take me a while!"

Jay offers a great range of activities for all agres and abilities. Definitely something the whole family can involved with and have loads of fun whilst learning new skills.

Canoe Cornwall

Telephone: Jay:07749 870923



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