01690 720214

Introduction to Kayaking for Families

Course Overview

A five day course which will give you a thorough grounding in kayaking. You will be introduced to all the equipment and basic skills on local rivers, lakes and sea. On this course there is ample opportunity for coaching and progression in white water and sea kayaking. Tailored specifically for families.

Experience Required


With MEALS & Accommodation: £535

NO MEALS OR Accommodation: £385

Scheduled Dates

blackBlack = Open for booking

blackGreen = Guaranteed to run (additional places are limited please email to enquire)

blackRed = Course fully booked


07 - 11 Aug 2017

Detailed Course Notes

You should be 8 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 developing good paddling technique and water confidence, using the local lake, river and indoor pool. After an induction session, students may use the training pool without staff supervision for extra practice during any spare time. We will then be exploring the coastline and rivers of North Wales as we further coach your paddling skills and develop your confidence. In particular we will look at:

  • Basic kayaking strokes

  • Capsize drill

  • Rescue techniques

  • Moving water techniques

  • Sea kayaking techniques

  • Loading a kayak for day out

  • Journeying on sea, rivers, and white water

  • Safety principles of the sport of kayaking

Useful Books

Kayaking & Canoeing Techniques by Marcus Baillie

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.

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 info@pyb.co.uk.

follow this link for more details

What Equipment Do You Need To Bring?

  • Thin fleeces/thermals/rash vest for going indoor 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

  • Wetsuit/Dry suit

  • Paddling cag

  • Warm clothes for when you get off the water

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

  • Towel

  • Waterproof jacket and trousers

  • Buoyancy aid

  • Helmet

  • Drinks bottle

  • Flask

  • Lunch bag/box

  • Personal first aid kit

  • High factor sun screen

  • Midge repellant

  • Large kit bag (for wet paddling kit)

  • Notebook and pen

  • Dry bag

  • Boat

  • Paddle

  • Spraydeck (if kayaking)

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

Please bring your child's car seat/booster seat with you for use in our minibuses, this is so not only is your child comfortable but safe during any journeys and ensures we comply with the law regarding seat belts.

All your meals are included but you may find that your child will need regular snacks in order to keep their energy levels up throughout the day, so we recommended bringing some of their favourite snacks with you.

Customer Reviews For This Course

A great experience

Nicola Sztuka

I had a great weekend with my two girls on this course. Andy was a great instructor - very patient and understanding of some of some of the unexpected fears young children have when with learning a new activity.
Although I completely understand why we went out on the open water first, my youngest daughter found this daunting and was more comfortable in the pool and in the enclosed lagoons and by the jetty on the lake. It may be worth considering switching activities if there are young children who have never been on open water before. Other than that, it was perfect and we would definitely try this or something else again.

Another great week

Gordon Burge

Because of low numbers, the course was combined with White water, Sea and Surf for families. One girl, two boys, two mothers, a father and a grandfather, age range 11 to 70. Instructors James and Dan. The course was very flexible, responding to weather conditions and the desires/abilities of those attending. The result was: Day 1: Kit issue, local lake, indoor pool - basic skills, kayak games and capsize practice. Day 2: White water. Great fun, frequent short bursts of activity, many capsizes. Day 3: Menai Straits. Sustained activity in surprisingly fast moving water. Journey out, lunch and return. Day 4: Sea. Sustained activity. Journey out, lunch, return. Part of journey a distance out, some between the rocks. A great confidence builder. Day 5: White water (by popular request). A longer river journey, lunch on the way. As ever at Plas y Brenin (this was my third visit) the instructors were highly competent and enthusiastic, patient with beginners and slow learners whilst generating enthusiasm and a desire to succeed in the course members. At the end of each day four satisfied but tired adults watched three kids attack the climbing wall and wondered at the remaining energy levels. They slept well. A measure of the success in building the kayak attitude was that by day 3 we were hoping for rain to put more water in the river! Course consensus - thank you James and Dan. We are coming back for more!

Simply fantastic!

John Kennett

I went on this course with my son (11) and daughter (9) and we all had an amazing time. It was hard work, and at the end of it we were all exhausted, but we loved every minute and were really sad to be leaving at the end. We're already planning our next visit! We had two instructors during the course, starting off with Andy Grimes for the first two days, then Chris Evans for the rest. They are both skilled coaches who were able to analyse what we were doing, and give easily understood feedback to help us improve. They were great to spend time with too, and were very good at pitching things so that they worked for everyone in a group with quite mixed abilities. The structure of the course is very loose, and the instructors tailored each day to fit our aspirations and abilities. Do tell them if there are things that you want to do - we were able to have a lot of input into what we did and where we went which was great, but does mean making a bit of an effort rather than just going with the flow. Plas y Brenin has masses of kit, all top names and all in great condition. We were able to try out a variety of kayaks, and once we found one that we liked we could keep it for the whole course. The accommodation is all very well kept, and although the rooms (and beds!) are a bit small it was more than adequate. The food was excellent and plentiful, and the cakes lived up to their reputation.

Kayaking is brilliant!

Martin Tyler (aged 9)

Dear all,
On my first day i learnt the basic skills.they got more advanced very quickly.Not hard,just advanced.
So,i think anybody into kayaking than wants to try should come to plas y brenin. If they have a child/children that wants to try kayaking this course is recommended Thank you Chris and Andy for being my instructors.

Paddle, paddle, paddle, smile.

Richard Whitehead

We had a great week of kayaking at a number of different locations, the equipment and training was all first class and the food would put many restaurants to shame.

The week was well-paced and my kids (9 and 11) never got too tired to keep up (but were tired enough to be asleep every night by 8:00). The instructors and staff (including catering/cleaning and support staff) were all extreamly friendly and helpful.

Everything we needed was provided: wetsuits, cags, etc. and we had a chance to try different boats throughout the week.

The activities were tailored around our ability and capabilities and even though the weather was very wet and cold at times noone ended up complaining.

**I recommend that if you have any course-related queries that you phone PYB at 5:00 in the evening as there are likely to be course instructors around.**

The Most Fun I've Had In Ages!!!

Samuel Whitehead

I'm 11.
I went with my family for a week kayaking and we found it great fun. They changed schedules if you got tired.
They give good equipment and and explain everything very well. They are always willing to answer the questions you have asked.
The coach we had, James(I can't remember his last name...) was a pro at kayaking and has been through grade 5 whitewater.
We went to lots of different places including the sea and the river Dee.
Just as you think it's getting boring they slap something in to cheer you up!
i give it 5/5!!

P.S. Thats only half of the fun!

course review

Lucinda simpson

it was amazing!
on the first day we got all our kit and boats. we just went in the lake to get a feel of our boats we plyed many fun games wich involed usfal kayaking skils.

on the second day we : to another lake and went on a journey around it at lunch we went to gergios ice place ( it was so yummy ) then kayaked back and played even morer games also we did challanges such as can u satnd up and paddle? can u touch your nose to the kayakes ?

third day : we went to the sea. it was choppy but a lot of fun another girl and i played in the sea after luch also we were still in the water wating for the minibus and we hitch rides of the other peoples kayas they were on the cours

day four : white water woooooooooooooo i was brillinent wooooooooooooooooooooooooo

last day :( : we satyed at plas y bernins lake and played kayak polo then went in slamen boats and had a comp the tried marothon boats

all in all it was an amazing week i improved so much on my kayaking and would recamend this to anyone :)

You really should try this!

Dave Ditcham

I took my eleven year old grandson on this course hoping to give him an interest other than kicking a round ball about. I would not have believed that a complete begginer would, in three days, be paddling off Angelsey in not the easiest of sea conditions. This trip was amazing and the two days of white water that followed at Llangollen saw him well grounded in the basics and asking on the way home when he could go again.
The staff deserve praise for how they coped successfully with the needs of an eleven year old and a seventy year old with comparative ease. I would recommend anyone with any interest in watersports to try this.

Plas Y Brenin and Kayaking are AWESOME!

Emily Dunn aged 13

It was a great course and my favourite days were Monday - when we played games at the centre and learnt the basics - and Wednesday - when we went whitewater kayaking. I also enjoyed sea kayaking, though the sea kayaks were much harder to manoevre than the normal ones - but at least they didn't keep spinning round and turning to the left or right. I had kayaked before a few times but had never worn a spraydeck. By the end of this course I couldn't imagine kayaking without one, as spraydecks really help to keep splashes out. We also learnt how to get out when you capsize - though the kayaks are actually much more stable than they look.
The food and accommodation was excellent, although some of the evening meals were quite fancy. Cakes and sandwiches were delicious. Breakfast was brilliant, with a huge variety, but my sister, aged 11, would have liked there to be Rice Crispies on the menu, with the cereals.
The instructors were very good at teaching us the tecniques. Everyone had plenty of opportunities to try the things we were shown, though nothing was compulsory so you could opt out of anything.
Now I wish there was an Intermediate Kayaking For Families, so that we could do that next time we come.

Fun course with excellent and ethnusiastic instructors

Steve, Sam(13) and Laura (9) Gibbons

We really enjoyed this course and learnt a lot. A varied week, with games on the lake, a couple of runs down the river rapids, a coastal paddle and fun on the tidal currents in the menai straits. The instructors Adam, Syd and Spike were brilliant and made it feel safe and fun for everyone. It was so good that we've been inspired to buy a couple of boats and go paddling!

A Great Course

Harry Plant aged 8

This was a great course, it was really fun and exciting. I learnt alot there. We went out to the sea for two days and we learnt to surf, rock hop, turn and get out of your boat when it was upside down. The instructors were great fun. Really looking forward to going back again.


benjamin and madeleine jenkins

It was great fun,they gave us a lot of chances to try out new things.
The instructors were amazing and hilarious , we had a chance to be cool.We did various different activities including;white water,kayak surfing and we went in poly pippins and many more. IT WAS WICKED.


John Docherty

Food was AMAZING great breakfasts-massive lunch and a three course dinner!
Instructors are fantastic I had brilliant fun but learnt more than I had learnt in my whole life in 1 week! The instructors are also really nice people to have teaching and helping you.
Accomodation is good with big on-suite bathrooms and a brilliant shower!
This course (introduction to kayaking for families) is family friendly it is great for all abilities in the amateur range. I did kayaking on lakes, moving water the sea and even white water!
This is not a holiday camp-its a serious outdoor centre but you can still have great fun!

Ian Eckersley

This course was well structured and ran accordingly giving myself an appreciation of Kayaking as a whole. We tried various styles in differing craft from lakes and rivers to sea kayaking making the whole experience worth while. It was so good that on the Saturday after attending the course with my son we went and purchased two kayaks and have also joined the BCU.

Fantastic course

Nik Prabucki

Attended the above named course last week with my daughter. Had a great time and learned a lot. The staff that taught the course, Adam and Ann were fantastic and very helpful and encouraging to all, but were always there to give one to one teaching when it was needed. Personally i thought they were great towards my daughter when her confidence was low and really helped to bring it back up.

The whole experience was amazing, and we had a wonderful time with the staff and the other families that attended.

The centre itself was was very clean and very tidy, the accommodation was top notch and very comfortable. The catering staff made a very good range of tasty and filling food and there was plenty of it, just what was needed after a day on the water. All of the staff that we encountered on our stay at the centre were very helpful and very friendly.

I would thoroughly recommend this course to anyone who has an interest in starting kayaking with their family, you learn a lot and gain in confidence everyday whilst there.

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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