01690 720214

Discover White Water Kayaking

Course Overview

A weekend designed to introduce you to the thrills and spills of white water. You'll cover everything from clothing and equipment to foundation white water skills. By the end of the course you will have tackled your first white water and have the confidence to tackle the rapids under your own steam.

Experience Required

Confident flat water paddler with the ability to manoeuvre your craft with ease, able to perform a confident and controlled capsize.

Scheduled Dates

Detailed Course Notes

You should be 18 years old to attend this course.

Who is it for?

This course is for kayakers who want to improve their skills and progress on to harder rivers.  The minimum standard of paddling required is:

  • Confident on flat water - be able to paddle the boat in a straight line make controlled turns and perform support strokes when needed

  • Some experience of moving water is useful but not essential

  • Be reasonably fit

Course Content

The weekend starts with consolidation of your existing skills, allowing us to observe and discuss with you your specific needs.   Areas covered may include:

  • Breaking in

  • Breaking out,

  • Ferry-gliding,

  • Surfing stoppers, exiting stoppers

  • Reading and using white water, planning your route down a rapid

Useful Books

Kayak by William Nealy
Whitewater Kayaking by Ray Rowe
White Water Safety and Rescue by Franco Ferrero
Guide Book �.. The Welsh Rivers by Chris Sladden

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

A BRILLIANT course delivered by BRILLIANT instructors!

Simon P

I'm a fairly competent paddler on flat water but have done very little on moving water so decided to let Plas y Brenin show me the ropes.
I've used PyB on a number of occasions previously have nearly always had amazing experiences and this course was no different.
Our instructor, Karl, was friendly, extremely knowledgeable, helpful and informative. He made the learning easy and interesting with obvious progression between skills.
I've built up the confidence in just two days to be happy on any grade 1 or 2 water and can't wait to get out again.
I would highly recommend this course (or even better, the five day version) to anyone looking to get some beginner experience on white water.

I thoroughly enjoyed this course

Siobhan Urquhart

I thoroughly enjoyed the course. Chris was very clear about finding out what we wanted to do, and tailoring the course to us. We achieved more than I think we expected to do over the weekend, and I certainly felt I had challenged myself. I left with a good basic understanding of whitewater paddling (coming from a flatwater background), the basic techniques and a better understanding of reading the river. The latter, if nothing else, will hopefully help in my flatwater/descent racing.
We had a good pool session trying to roll. It was only the second time I had attempted this, and certainly got a lot closer - but still some way to go!
Part of the lack of confidence at times on the river was the thought of swimming. Obviously it's easy in our boats, as you just fall out. In hindsight, I wonder if I should have tried a controlled capsize on the first day just to have the confidence of pulling of the spraydeck if needed. That is only something that occurred to me after we left. Of course.
I would be very keen to come back - next time with my whole family, to do some more training here.
Many thanks to everyone at PyB for their help and friendly and positive attitude to us all weekend.

What a fantastic weekend

Kirsten Killander

The first time I went white water kayaking i capsised 8 times - this time I didn't go swimming once. It was great,the coach gave me lots of confidence. Although it was windy, cold and rainy it didn't matter a bit. Where we were kayaking was relatively sheltered compared to those that had come hill walking! I'd definately recommend it and am thinking of returning for the 5 day course.

Amazing experience!

Tom Phillips

This was my first time at Plas y Brenin and was unsure what to expect at first. I have some experience of kayaking on lakes and calm rivers but not white water as yet. It was only a small group but this was ideal as everybody had a chance to hone their skills and develop as a paddler. Our instructor James was very calm and professional and gave everybody a chance to ask questions and was also insightful. I felt that over the course of two days I had developed new skills as a kayaker and have increased in confidence on the water. Everybody was very supportive on the course and this was really helpful and confidence inducing. I was impressed with the accommodation on the course and the food really was outstanding and above par.
I would highly recommend the centre and I am already looking at booking another course. Top marks and a life changing experience!

Enjoyed a quality kayak experience!

Tony cook

A quality kayak experience awaited us in Plas Y Brenin when we booked on to a white water kayaking weekend. Chris Evans led the training; his approachable manner and his skill base guided us through the training sessions, safely and expertly.

Plas Y Brenin is not the cheapest training provider available but the expertise of the instructors are second to none. It was great to come back after kayaking to the facilities: warm showers, decent cooked food and a pint to reflect over the day! I am looking forward to booking another experience!

Many thanks Chris!

Best 50th Birthday.

Tony, Alison Pickup

Let me start with our instructor Chris, all i can say TOP Instructor and a great guy.Also lets not forget great food and the 5 pm cakes with hotel standard accommodation, all complete with friendly and helpful staff.
Me and my wife goal for the weekend was to build our skill and confidence in white water which was achieved 100% with Chris instructions. Thanks to the wild weather on the Sunday we had the extra bonus of rolling clinic and the use of Sea Kayaks on the Lake.
Already planning to go on a rolling clinic and they can only be one place to chose and that is Plas Y Brenin.
PS dry suit was tested on the lake , second swim of the year.
Many Thanks

Still grinning :)

Chantal Shearing

A fantastic weekend from start to finish. Accommodation and service was spot on and the staff were always friendly and helpful.

Our instructor (Chris) was excellent and really focused in on getting the basics right before moving into the white stuff. Having travelled on day one to find suitable water, on day two someone did a bit too much praying overnight and there was too much?? So we ventured out in the morning, and came in at lunchtime for an unscheduled (and bonus) rolling clinic.
It's Monday night and still smiling from a great weekend, and planning how to come back and fit a rolling clinic, intro mediate white water & downhill mountain biking trips in while still maintaining a full time job.

GREAT time in freezing waters:)

Oliviu Hurmuz, aka Ollie

Guys I am sorry that I delayed so much but I really enjoyed it and I had to thank you again:).
I had a great time. The instructors were both great, I felt secure and I started loving kayaking. It a sport that I would like to explore more as I've been positively influenced by the 2 instructors. If I will ever come to do something again there I will do it because of the happy helpful instructors that I've had. So keep up the good work. And be prepared for some other beginners because I am recommending that course to all my friends that are interested in kayaking.

Nice to meet you guys and thanks for patience that you showed in the freezing water when I was too afraid to go down a rapid:))

Excellent weekend !

Darren Clayton

This course did exactly what it said in the title.

It was well paced and balanced the excellent teaching of specific techniques with enough fun and travel to keep us warm and focused for the whole weekend even though we were kayaking in the snow at one point.

I would recommend it to anyone who wants to rediscover white water after a long layoff like myself or discover it for the first time like my teenage son.

Brilliant weekend!

Exactly what I wanted :-)


There were ten of us on this course, so we split into two groups for the weekend, depending on ability. I was very nervous of 'whitewater' but I'm very glad I came on this particular course because our instructor made everything feel safe and fun; and I learnt loads too.
Due to a lack of rain (!) we spent both days paddling the Dee, but this was great because it seemed to be a really good location for actually paddling a river, learning how to run rapids and "playing"!. I'd advise lots of warm clothes if you're thinking of doing this course in winter because it was freezing! We began by learning / revising the basics and progressed from there. Everything was tailored to suit us and what we wanted to achieve. Overall it was an excellent weekend; it boosted my confidence loads and I really enjoyed it! I can't rate the instructors highly enough :-) Excellent stuff as usual!

Confidence Restored

Michael Davies

This course was a birthday gift from my wife to encourage me back into white water kayaking. This year I had purchased a kayak and all the associated kit, with the plan to get back into the water. Previously, I had been an enthusiastic kayaker for 15 years but in 1996 stopped due to an injury and with the exception of one days experience in Llangollen back in 2009 this was the only training I had done.
Chris did an exceptional job in encouraging the 5 of us in this group; especially given we were at differing levels of experience. We were kitted up with equipment/clothes and despite bringing my own kit I opted to use theirs.....well it saves having wet clothing in the car later!
On the first days training we were given the option to travel to Llangollen and the River Dee, ironically, despite Capel Curig being statistically one of the wettest areas in Wales, the river outside the complex was a little low. However, by day two it had rained heavily and we had a chance to play and paddle down river for about 7km.
The graded approach on the river was a very positive experience, as well as the opportunity to spend time in the pool, practicing rolls and rescue drills .. which proved invaluable.
I would highly recommend this course to anyone in the same position as myself .. at the age of 48 I..m back in the saddle again. Cheers PYB and I intend to return next year on the Intermediate WW Kayaking.
Oh, did I say it was great?

Great Fun

Edward Hough

This was my second time at Plas y Brennin and I really enjoyed myself. The tutors are great fun and very helpful as are all the staff at Plas Y Brennin. The facilities are excellent and i would recommend coming to Plas y Brenin if you are looking for something new or looking to improve you skills.


Dean Cooper

After only paddling for about a year I was nervous about attending the course, however within a few minutes of meeting the staff (Chris & Dan) I felt at ease and ready to go. A slight hiccup with getting a boat to fit was really the onyl downside to a fantastic weekend.
The time on the water was nicely complemented with the time spent explaining how "things work". And the experience and information passed on was easy to understand and clearly explained. As other people have said it would be easy for PYB to throw less experienced staff at the "Discover" courses but a 5 * Coach was a nice surprise and the enthusiasm for paddling was infectious.

As the name of the course states this is a "Discover" course, so don't expect more than an opportunity to try paddling some white water and you won't be disappointed. A great way to find out if you enjoy white water and want to progress this style of paddling. Me? Hell yeah :-)

In an attempt to give an honest review now for the downsides. The rooms are basic, but funtional. The shower in my room was OK it was nothing special and would have liked a more powerful shower. The food is plentiful and decent enough. A few more veggie options for breakfast would be good, but at no point did I feel hungry.

Depending on the water conditions in the area you may face a 1hr drive to and from the river and it would have been nice to be paddling closer to the centre, but I understand there is nothing they can do about the weather.

If you want to try white water paddling but not sure if it's for you then I would 100% recommend this course.

Brilliant weekend

Derek Clark

Went with a friend and we were a bit apprehensive at first due to only paddled sit on top kayaks for the last 4 years and had never experienced capsizing in a spray deck
But after a couple of hours in the boats and a few swims confidence grew and we were soon paddling our first rappid.
All this was due to the excellent coaching we recieved from Chris who's knowledge and patience filled you with confidence.
By the end of the two day course we had progressed much further than we anticipated,and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
The centre provides great accomadation, food and a friendly atmosphere,you won't go hungry.
thanks for a great weekend and we will be back.

not enough time on the water.

neal brown

As with the sea kayaking there woz not enough time on the water. It takes far to long to get going in the mornings and were off the water after only a few hours. I had good reports abowt pyb and woz eager to try it for myself but came home feeling let down and when talking to mates i had to say the that i wos dissopointed with the courses, wot made it even worse wos the rooms we had were far to hot to sleep in and makes it hard to enjoy the folloing day when your dog tyred to sum up i would have to say it woz two frustrating weekends. on the plus side the food wos grate the staff were helpfull and frendly the room were clean and tidy the equipment wos in good ordar as an overall package i would have to give 6-7 out of 10 sorry for these coments but you carnt fix it if you dont no wots broken yours neal brown

A great course.

Matthew Williams

Packed a lot into a weekend and got much further than I'd expected in two days. The intstructor was very knowledgeable and clearly had a passion for his job! We learnt a lot, especially about how to look out for potential hazards and the basics of manoeuvering in the kayaks. My one comment would be (and this isn't a criticism of the course / PYB) that if, like me, you happen only to have done sea kayaking before, you might find this course quite challenging - if doing it again I would have started with the Introduction to Kayaking course to get used to the boats (very different from sea kayaks).


Padraig Flynn

There were 5 of us doing this course. I had not met the other 4 people before but we all seemed to want something a little different from doing this course because we all had different levels of experience.
Chris did a brilliant job in catering for for each of us, and every one (it seemed to me) seemed WAYS more confident in their boats and with their ability to move in and out of, across, and in some cases stay in flowing water .
A considerable extra bonus was that we all got turns in the heated pool in the evening to practice a roll, and we all managed to get 1 before we finished.

This is a great course

Kay Lews

This is a great course if you want to try a new direction in Kayaking, The instructors taught me a lot of new techinic's I need to go away and practice with, become more confident and I think I come back again to refresh the course.


Great fun,despite the weather!

Mark & Sue

Sea kayakers are always told white water will help, so we came to try it, never having even sat in a river boat. We both had a great time, though the weather drove everyone off the river by Sunday lunchtime. The 8 people on the course were divided into 2 groups, we had the amazingly graceful Ben looking after us. He did a really good job, very supportive and positive while at the same time spotting the key points to work on. It also turns out he's very good at rescues! Most of the time was spent working on edging, carving, breaking in & out of eddies, then when the weather closed us down, we went into the rolling pool. Every moment was filled, even Saturday evening had a terrifying film on white water insanity. The accommodation and kit supplied were first rate, and the food was so good we managed to put weight on.

Clive Monk

For a starter course such as Discover White Water Kayaking it would be quite easy for the centre to allocate less experienced instructors. However, PYB provide the same instructors that instruct the most exreme courses. This makes available a wealth of experience to those starting out and immediately builds confidencs that you are in safe hands.
The approach taken by the instructors of continuous encouragement but never any pressure to do anything the student is not comfortable with is an ideal approach for this course.

1st Class coaching

Wendy Welch-Smith

Having had quite alot of previous experience in white water, i was initially concerned i had booked the wrong course and subsequently thought i may of wasted my time and money with this weekend break of over 4 hours drive each way. Quickly, i was re-assured when the course director and coaches arranged us into 2 groups of different abilities with obvious different coaching requirements. Pete our coach spent minimal time assessing our ability and needs for the weekend and whipped us off down the Llugwy for some warming up and brushing up of skills. Pete's coaching manner and level is absolute 1st class. Being a sports coach myself i am sensitive to coaching styles and what motivates people. Pete's whole approach, technical knowledge and the way he passed on the information was very impressive.

I joined this weekend course to pick up some new tips and refine my existing paddling skills but ultimately to combat a confidence issue which can hold me back from paddling the more challenging rivers. All my goals were accomplished and I have come away with bags of confidence, looking forward to paddling good grade 3 in winter. Pete mentioned the next step for me would be the white water coaching weekend which I am considering for 1/2 Nov. It made a pleasant change to be in such comfortable accommodation when I am very used to musty, damp bunkhouses and muddy campsites! I will be asking members of my club if they are interested in these high quality coaching opportunities.


mark sly

really enjoyed the course a very steep learning curve and well done to Dino for coping with our inefficiencies. although i think he also enjoyed the banter.

many thanks

Great weekend

Heath Freeman

Our group consisted of 5 colleagues with varying abilities when it comes to Kayaking.
Dino, Angela and Pete were our instructors.
I can honestly say that they were superb and a credit to your organization.
They were incredibly patient and supportive and just really nice people to be around. Well done!!
Having attended many other activity weekends in the past, I feel that your organization has it spot on, from the superb equipment to the food and every thing in between.
I think we will be back in the near future to improve upon our newly acquired Kayaking skills - so Dino prepare yourself for more challenges!!
To all at Plas y Brenin thank you once again for a great weekend.

Heath, Mark, Mark, Wes & Adam

Progress to white water the right way

Paul Smee

A group of us recently went on this course as a progression from flat water kayaking.

The general feeling was that the course was brilliant. The food and accommodation was of good standard. The facilities were excellent. The staff were good. The instructors excellent.

After a brief welcome meeting on the first morning we went off with our instructors for a quick introduction and then we were kitted out and shipped off to the river. We had a paddle around while the instructors assessed our abilities, gave us some technique tips and started to get us ready for the faster water.

A short walk later (carry our kayaks) we were getting flipped over many times in the faster water then progressed onto some simple rapids.

Day 2 is when it all seemed to make sense and everybody's confidence had jumped a great deal.

I can't recommend this course enough and now NEED to buy a kayak to get back on the water. Anybody thinking about going on the course should just do it and enjoy!

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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Contact our team on 01690 720214 or email - they will be happy to help you find something perfect.

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