01690 720214

Discover Kayaking

Course Overview

A weekend designed to give you an enjoyable introduction to kayaking.
You'll cover everything from what clothing and equipment to choose right up to basic rescue skills, not to mention plenty of paddling. By the end of the weekend you'll have all of the foundation skills to confidently progress in your new sport.

Experience Required

no experience necessary

Scheduled Dates

Detailed Course Notes

You should be 18 years old to attend this course.

Who is it for?
This course is for anyone who would like a safe and enjoyable introduction to the sport of kayaking. You may have a little experience, or none at all. As with any active sport, a reasonable level of general fitness will enable more rapid and enjoyable progress.

Course Content
Initially we will concentrate upon paddling technique and rescues, using the local lake, river and heated indoor pool. After an induction session, students may use the training pool without staff supervision for extra practice during any spare time. Your second day will be spent on either a gentle river or the sea. Over the weekend we intend to look at the following areas:

  • Basic kayaking strokes

  • Capsize drill

  • Rescue techniques

  • Moving water techniques

  • Journeying

  • Safety principles of the sport of kayaking

Useful Books

BCU Canoe and Kayak Handbook - BCU / Pesda press
Kayak rolling - Loel Collins

What's Included In The Price?

Whether you choose to stay with us or you have alternative accommodation nearby, the following items are included in the total cost.

    Free tea, coffee or selected hot drinks for the duration of your visit
    Afternoon tea & homemade cakes
    Kayak or canoe hire
    Secure boat storage (if you choose to bring your own boat)
    Equipment hire
    Free (low-speed) wifi access in the bar & dining room
    In course transport
    Railway station pick up & drop off (please call to arrange)
    Parking with CCTV surveillance
    Free use of climbing wall, gym, MTB skills course & rolling pool

    If you choose to stay with us, these items are also included in the total cost:

    Accommodation the night before your course
    Accommodation during your course
    Breakfast & evening meal
    Bar Lunch/packed lunch

Accommodation For This Course

Plas y Brenin Main House

Your course is based at Plas y Brenin, The National Mountain Sports Centre in Capel Curig, North Wales, LL24 0ET.

If you are staying with us,

If you have chosen to add accommodation onto this course or holiday it is usually in the main house in a comfy en-suite room (normally shared with another guest). Each room has tea and coffee making facilities and all bed linen and towels are provided.

This includes accommodation the night before your first day. Your room will be available from 6pm. On your last day you will need to vacate your room by 10am. It is sometimes possible to arrange to stay an extra night please phone 01690 720214 for availability and cost.

Secure storage facilities, showers and toilets are available for you to use on your departure day once you have checked out of your room should you need them, please ask at reception.

Also included, if you chosen to add accommodation, are all your meals - breakfast, packed lunch, afternoon tea and freshly baked cakes and a three course evening meal. Please bear in mind an evening meal is not provided on the night before your course or on the last day of your course but our bar will be serving meals from 7.00pm until 8.45pm.

If you are are not staying with us but coming in each day,

If you choose to come in daily for your course or holiday you will need to arrive ready for a 9am welcome talk on the first day. For the rest of your course or holiday you will need to be here for 9.15am. We return from a full day of activity, usually in time for tea and cakes at 5pm (included).

There are more activities from 5.30 - 6.30 on some days of your course or holiday, please check on the first day.

For most of our awards and qualification courses there will be further evening sessions on some days which you need to attend, please check on the first day.

There is an 8pm adventure talk by one of our coaches on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday evenings which you are welcome to come to. Find out more about the upcoming talks here.

On the final day you will be finished by 5pm.

For courses based on-site our bar will be serving lunches from 12pm until 2pm or you are welcome to bring a packed lunch.

If your course is based away from the centre then you will need to bring a packed lunch with you. Each evening our bar serves evening meals from 7pm until 8.45pm if you wish to eat here.

You can arrange to have any of the following meals - breakfast, packed lunch and a three course centre dinner, by contacting our customer services team on 01690 720214 or

follow this link for more details

What Equipment Do You Need To Bring?

  • Thin fleeces/thermals/rash vest for going under a wetsuit

  • Swimming costume/trunks

  • Wetsuit boots (or training shoes you're happy to get wet)

  • Wetsuit socks to wear with wetsuit boots/training shoes if cold

  • Warm clothes for when you get off the water

  • Warm hat, gloves, neck gaiter/buff, sun hat

  • Towel

  • Waterproof jacket and trousers

  • Drinks bottle

  • Flask

  • Lunch bag/box

  • Personal first aid kit

  • High factor sun screen

  • Midge repellant

  • Notebook and pen

The following items are available for you to borrow from our equipment stores free of charge so you don't need to rush out and buy them.

  • Wetsuit

  • Paddling cag

  • Buoyancy aid

  • Helmet

  • Dry bag

  • Large kit bag (for wet paddling kit)

  • Boat

  • Paddle

  • Spraydeck (if kayaking)

Our equipment stores stock wetsuits socks which you can purchase if you find you need them during your course

Customer Reviews For This Course

Good place to learn

Claire Linier

Very well organised. Despite the very unpleasant weather conditions the trainers have made the course pleasurable. Plas y Brenin is a good place to learn.

Fab Weekend

Jane McDonald

What a fantastic weekend, had great fun and learnt loads

From zero to rapids in 2 days!


Where to start? Well I'd never even sat in a kayak before this course.
First morning spent getting your kit (tip - they supply virtually everything! All you really need to bring is: swimming togs, towel, wetsuit boots - your feet will be wet for most of the day, oh and a rash vest) Bimbled back and forth across the lake learning our new basic strokes.
We spent the afternoon heading up the lake with instructors Andy and Colin, practising our new skills and learning more as we went along. Breathtaking scenery.
Don't expect to be babysat, you will be moving the kayaks around and the trailer will not load itself!
We all slept soundly that night.
Day 2 - The River Dee - well safe to say we were not looking forward to it. I thought I was going to die of fright! Andy and Colin gave us all a bit of a serious talking to. We did each section slowly, stopping before the next one and getting another talking to in how to get down in one piece.
Be warned, Colin will sing Jaws music as he goes past you!
We bypassed the really scary rapids by carrying the kayaks around it and we stood and watched Colin and Andy do it instead. We did do Chain Link Bridge rapids though. Holy swear words that has to be the biggest rush I have had for a looong time! Words really can't describe it, only that when it's time to get off the river, you wanna go back up to the top and do it all again.
So big thanks to Andy and Colin for putting up with 12 of us novices, fantastic instructors with patience of saints.

Fantastic experience. Highly recommend!

Christina Simmonds

Both instructors were friendly and gave excellent guidance. We even got to take the sea kayaks from Conwy to Dolgarrog! Thoroughly enjoyed the experience and Andy really helped me to overcome my nervousness about capsizing! Thank you Plas y Brenin :)

spot on

mark winter

Hi thanks for an excellent 2 day course cannot fault anything apart from i wish the tv/safe worked in the room,both instructors where first class and can always fall back on a comedy double act in the future (spike/chris).pyb is a credit to all the staff who work there and i cannot recomend highly enough.oh and one last thing the cake was superb.....even for an old mountan biker like me.

Yippee Kayak!

Erin M

Really good weekend, learnt so much and as only a few people in our group we managed to get more time to perfect the things we found difficult. Instructor really patient, and informative and really knows his stuff.
Perfect course for somebody interested in Kayaking and wanting to learn more without spending an absoulte fortune and doing a week or so learning something you may not enjoy. Reccomend to anyone interested in Paddle Sports.

Great instruction


Friendly and spot on training. We learnt lots and Chris kept the right pace for everyone

very good course


really enjoyed the drip fed techniques and time spent on open water /sea. would rtecommend this course and will certainly be attending a follow course myself. food as usual was good as was the bar. as a light sleeper i really appreciated that i could reserve a single room as it made my stay that much better.
thanks and see you soon

Great instruction

Sam Arnold

We had a great weekend. The instructor built our confidence with pool experience and we quickly graduated from lake to moving river and then the estuary. Fantastic. We're inspired and will be tapping into their facilities for more in the future. 10/10.

Great course and great location


I love PYB, the facility is amazing and the instructors are some of the most capable in the world.

I have a reasonable amount of kayaking experience, but attended the course with my partner so that she could gain confidence in the water, especially for capsize and recovery drills, and I could try out sea kayaks.

The activity outline was:

Day 1

Get Kit
Go to swimming pool to practice capsize drills
Paddle in white-water kayak on local lake
Paddle in sea kayak on local lake
More capsize drills in the pool

Day 2

circa 8k (or could that have been 10 miles) day trip in sea kayaks on the tidal River Conwy ending at Conwy Castle. This was a great day trip (perhaps a bit too long for novices), with a little bit of white water, so very interesting shallows and gentle scenery. Rafting the kayaks up to eat lunch was a bit special! A special note for any fishermen using the river - kayakers have a right to be there too!

For us, the instructor was great - clearly a very experienced instructor and paddler, hard working (he often carried the kayaks himself, loading/unloading the trailer, spent additional time in the pool with us, etc) and knowledgable. On the downside, launching the kayaks on the day trip was something of a trial and could have been better managed.

All in all, this course achieved the ambitions of my partner and myself and I'd be very happy to recommend the course for people with little of no paddling experience.

Fab weekend :-D


This was a great weekend of paddling; Ben our instructor managed to cater for everyone in the group and I for one learnt a lot!
Saturday involved issuing kit and getting to know the kayaks. A good hour or so was spent in the pool which was really fun and valuable practice in case anyone fell in on the lake. Next we went for a paddle up the lake in the SUN (wow!) and had a picnic on the far end. We paddled back and practiced a few skills before heading inside for a well earned brew. In the afternoon we tried out some sea kayaks and had a little trip down the river but there wasn't really enough water. After coffee and cakes (mmm!) it was back into the pool for whatever we wanted to practice. I think everyone slept well that evening!
Sunday was really rainy in PyB but as we drove into Trefriw the rain died down and we set off on a trip up the river Conwy in the sea kayaks. Lovely flat water, great scenery, and more sun!!!! We rafted up at lunchtime and had a pretty cool raft picnic 'on the move'. It was quite a long day but well worth it, really enjoyable :-)

A Fantastic weekend


I would like to thank our instructor Adam Harmer and the staff at Plas Y Brenin for an amazing weekend. Truly value for money, nothing is to much trouble, the instruction, equipment, and food were all first class.
The venue is situated in the heart of Snowdonia National Park with breath taking views. The weather changed constantly but that did not hinder my enjoyment but added to it. My weekend finished with a 10km paddle in Sea Kayaks up the Conwy Estuary, with lunch on a sand bank, perfect finish to a perfect weekend.
If you are thinking of booking a Discover Kayaking weekend, I cannot recommend it enough, all you need to pack is a pair of old trainers and your sense of adventure and leave the rest to the staff at Plas y brenin and mother nature for a weekend you will remember. I am now planning my next trip back to Plas y Brenin, Thank you again for an amazing weekend,

Best wishes Robin

Yippee Kayak

Michael Hutchinson

Excellent course! I was totally new to kayaking and definitely didn't feel out of my depth, even when I discovered I was no longer in my kayak ;) Some people seem naturally gifted when it comes to coaching people and that's true of Colin and Steve, the enthusiastic instructors we had on this course.

There was a wide age range in our group (around 5 decades) and we all got on with each other well. The swimming pool wasn't available so we were outside on the shallow lake from the start which I thought was a bonus! The games we played were a lot of fun and made me realise I paddled a lot better when I wasn't thinking about it too much. Day two was a brilliant introduction to sea kayaking and rescue techniques.

I would definitely recommend this course and look forward to revisiting Plas-y-Brenin for some more.

I would certainly return

Patrick Dundon

I really enjoyed my time at Plas y Brenin, the coach's in particular were very professional, helpful and fun. The equipment and acomidation was excellent and I would certainly return for another course.

Frolicking good fun

Gill Price

An excellent course which was brilliantly organised and led. Great group dynamics and activities which challenged us and enabled us to progress.
Good introductory techniques and games on the lake in the morning prepared us for a longer paddle in the afternoon -and a chance to unintentionally experience falling out of the boat ( for some of us)
Day two paddling round Treadur Bay on Anglesey, was just fantastic! Great scenery,good waves, a warmish sea and a seal popping up to say hello as we were practising rescue techniques made it a day to remember. Steve and Colin deserve a mention for being so relaxed and so good at leading and coaching us - thanks guys , you make it look effortless!
PYB is such a well organised centre with super efficient and friendly staff! Will definitely come back to try another kayaking course or sea kayaking! T hank you.

Great course


Excellent course led by the lovely Dan. Really enjoyed it and it was just what I expected from the description. Thanks, Dan.

Excellent course

Berni Haddock

This was an excellent course, most of our group had done a little bit but not much kayaking before, so there was a lot to learn. On the first day we tried out a mixture of kayaks, and then did some capsizing in the pool. This was all good fun but quite tiring (not a negative point...got a great nights sleep after that!) On the second day we went for a trip down the canal near Llangollen which was much more relaxed.

Full credit to our instructor Dan, who had super-human patience!

Enjoyed every minute

Edward Hough

I went to Plas Y Brenin on a two day Discover kayaking course, I had a great time, enjoyed every minute. The instructors and all other staff were really helpful and friendly, the facilities were excellent there are a wide rang of other activities you can use when ever you want but I do recommend more than two day..s - you will need it. I definitely will be returning some time soon for some more kayaking.



Like Barbara I wanted to say how much my husband & I enjoyed the same course. Spike & Lou were great at listening to what everyone wanted from the course, although the windy weather meant we had to change plans several times! They also made it fun. We did the white water option at Llangollen, as we were planning to paddle down the Wye the following weekend. This proved to be good training, learning how to read the river, edge etc. I certainly felt more confident setting off on our own. The facilities at Plas Y Brenin are excellent and we couldn't even come up with any constructive criticism! Our fellow course members were good fun and we had a lot of laughs. Highly recommended!

Great weekend!


Hi, just want to say how much I enjoyed weekend Discover Kayaking course with Spike and Lou (3/4 July 2010). Expert tuition/supervision, humour, confidence-giving, felt totally safe, from start on Sat am. Loads of action + fun + games + learning! Lots of laughter! Expertise + lots of plan Bs! shown by Spike and Lou in that fire brigade training in indoor pool, + weather blowing a hoolie, + most of us were baby paddlers!, so took us to Llyn Peris, Sat pm, then Llangollen Sun, as weather even more dramatic! We then had choice between canal journey (being picked up at other end), or bit of white water stuff!
We used white water kayaks, sea kayaks, + had opportunity of trying other kayaks on Sat eve.
I'd only ever had 3 hrs in a kayak before, spread over 2 years. One friend i went with had never done it before, other had done a fair bit, but 20 years ago. The rest of our new friends had varying abilities + levels of kamikarziness (or however it's spelt!!), + expert instructors coped with us all!
Great value - food is excellent + loads of choice, great en-suite accommodation, lovely rambling old historic building giving one of best views in UK, top class training + equipment, very friendly bar lad + 3 local ales on draught. I was very happy with everything! Came home, chatted to folk, already 3 have said 'oh yes, been there, agree, it's great place'
Put it this way 'I'LL BE BACK', please? All bests to lovely folk on course with me, thanks for your great company, Babs x

Beyond Expectations

Ken Sever

Expert tuition from Dino brought out all those skills that have become rusty over the years and gave an awakaning to get back to doing water stuff. Brlliant weather helped. The highlight was Sea Kayaking with Seals off the coast of Anglesea.

I should have filled out the green form before I left because it asks more questions than this review does.
I wanted to add that maybe some discount or a free wekkend could be given after 5 or 10 course attendances.
Also mabe a discount could be given on a course after a succesful recomendation to someone to do a course
Ken Sever




First class start

Marcus Saban

I'm reviewing this 13 months after the course, but I'm sure it's still just as good.

I'd been in boats about 3 months by the time I went on this course, and was still really nervous with barely a clue about edging, support strokes, etc - or even basic capsize drill. Adam Harmer and Liam Fleming started the 11 of us with the basic safety drills in the pool, then out onto the lake, and for a paddle round Trearddur Bay on the Sunday. Who would have thought I could have managed an adventure like that? Brilliant.
Since then, I've been back to the Brenin 5 times, with a 6th later in the year, and I've just passed my BCU 3 Star Inland Kayak. All down to Plas y Brenin. Can't recommend it highly enough.

A wonderfull 5 days wheelchair paddling

Simon Carter ( CARTER )

Less than year ago i was very close to death in a motorcycle accident and only released from spinal unit 6 months ago. Bearing this in mind this course was going to be a challenge. Your instructors Pete, Nick, Ben and Chris where more than up for the challenge and made sure i was. It was a rough start but ended well. I learnt a lot this week and met some nice people.this course has changed the way i look at life. The accomodation was exellent and so was the food

Thank You


Vince Cosgrove

My first visit to PYB and very impressed both by the centres facilities (the food being a particular, possibly over indulged, highlight) , also the course and the especially the tuition.
There was varying levels of fitness and experience in the group but the very knowledgable and enthustic instructor tailored the activities brilliantly.
Evening lectures also an inspiration

Well done to all at pyb!

Kayaking Discovered !

Mark Brown

Day 1 : Started with some basic instruction on a quiet lagoon (part of Llyn Padarn) near Llanberis. Ventured out onto the main lake. Two of us managed our first capsize, whilst 'working the edge' ! Journeyed up to the end of the lake, against the wind. All of us improving our straight-line stability & gaining confidence. Return (with the wind) much harder to maintain a straight line - looked more like Come Dancing ! Back at the lagoon, some more instruction (& capsizing), and a game of Polo - good fun! Back to Plas-y-Brenin for some rescue instruction in the Pool. Excellent Day !
Day 2 : Off to Trearddur Bar in Anglesey. Plenty of Paddling out on the calm sea. Journeying through the rocks, and judging the swell.
Some instruction and practice of surfing - loads of capsizing !!
Back to Plas-y-Brenin for a quick paddle down the 'rapids' and a swin in the river !
Another excellent day !!
Top job !!

Not found what you were looking for?

You can hire one of our coaches instructors or guides from only £250 per day. They'll tailor the day to suit your aims and aspirations perfectly.
You can enjoy one to one coaching for that cost or if you get together as a group, depending on the activity, you can split that cost between up to 6 of you. If you are a group we can run any of our courses on a date that suits you and your friends. Or you could just write your own agenda for a week or weekend and we'll price it up for you - with or without accommodation. What's more, just like out normal course fees, our private instructor hire charge covers all your equipment too. Click on the link below to fill in a request form and one of our coaches will call you back (or e-mail if you'd prefer) to discuss things in detail with you.

Fill in a Callback Form

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