01690 720214

BCU 4 Star Leaders Award Assessment - Canoe

Course Overview

A two day assessment course based on the new syllabus.

Experience Required

You need to be an experienced paddler, with 4 star leadership skills. Please bring proof with you if you have the 3 star award (or the old style 4 star award), proof of 4 star open canoe leader training completed in the last 3 years or BCU approved APL, a current LR form and your log book to be signed.

With MEALS & Accommodation: £255

NO MEALS OR Accommodation: £195

Scheduled Dates

blackBlack = Open for booking

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

blackRed = Course fully booked


12 - 13 Aug 2017

21 - 22 Oct 2017

04 - 05 Nov 2017

Detailed Course Notes

You should be 18 years old to attend this course.

Is it for me?

Do you paddle a kayak regularly on grade 2 white-water and on open water in winds up to force 4? Have you got the skills and experience to lead fellow paddlers in this setting? Have you done this in a number of different locations? Have you got a record of this in a logbook? Are you happy that you can perform all that is ask for within the 4* syllabus? Have you completed all the necessary training requirements? And do you have all the necessary prerequisites set out in the syllabus? Finally are you looking to gain a certificate to endorse your performance at this level?

What we cover

During the two day we will cover as many aspects of the 4* Syllabus as time and conditions allow. This will be done on moving water up to grade 2 and on open water in winds up to force 4. You will be assessed leading a group of fellow paddlers of about 3* standard. For a definitive list of all that you may be asked to do please got to the links below to both the 4* syllabus and assessor notes.

BCU 4* syllabus

BCU 4* assessor notes

Personal Paddling Skills

  • Lifting, carrying and launching/landing

  • Efficient and effective grade 2 river running skills

  • Upstream manoeuvres (ferries and S-turns)

  • Checking, setting and reverse ferry gliding

  • Eddy turns into and out of the current

  • Support strokes

  • Efficient and effective open water skills

  • Paddling effectively up, down and across a force 3-4 wind

  • Sailing

  • Lining

  • Poling

  • Navigation

Rescue Skills, Safety, Leadership and Group Management

  • Boat and bank based safety and rescue skills

  • Incident management and first aid in the 4 star environment

  • Being an effective team leader and team member in rescues/incidents

  • Application of leadership

  • Leadership strategies, judgement and decision making

  • Safety awareness and risk management

  • Group control and management

  • Equipment


  • Equipment

  • Safety

  • Weather

  • Hypothermia/first aid

  • Access

  • Planning

  • Group awareness and management

  • Navigation

  • Etiquette

  • General

  • Leadership responsibilities

  • Water features/hazards

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
    Secure boat storage (if you choose to bring your own boat)
    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?

Please bring your own paddling kit appropriate for paddling and leading a group of 4 paddlers and as the syllabus requires. At this level it is expected that candidates supply their own boat the appropriateness of which will form part of the assessment process. For those who may have problems transporting a boat to the assessment it may be possible to use one of our fleet but this needs to be discussed and agreed in advance. If this applies to you please contact the centre for more details.

You will also need:

  • Lunch bag/box

  • Drinks bottle

  • Cheque book for any BCU fees due

  • BCU logbook/paperwork

Customer Reviews For This Course

highly recommended

Will Steedman

Having arrived early Friday evening, I was beginning to think what have I got myself into, I was sat in the bar looking out over the lake watching the storm clouds gather, and boy were they gathering. It had rained most of the night, the wind was picking up ideal for a 4 star assessment.
The first day began with the introductions, and the briefing on what would be expected of us throughout the assessment.
Intros over it was time to begin, loading up strapping down, checking we had everything, checking we had all the right kit and the right amount. And with that we left for the lake.
On first sight of the lake it was big, not the lake the weather.
We unloaded kit up safety briefed and on we went it was gusting force 4-6, changing direction and it was full on, with the rain it was wet, very wet but surprisingly warm, we completed all the obligatory assessment tasks taking it in turns to lead and be lead, lake over we returned to Pyb this time to the river and some poling, still an art in itself.
Day 1 over, time to dry the kit for tomorrow and a few relaxing beers in the bar.
The second day began much the same except the sun was out, it was a glorious sight looking out over the valley, and then we were introduced to the mock students for the day, I'm still not sure who looked more nervous us or them, again the briefing informed us of what we were being asked to do, it was decided for the river day would launch from Pyb a distinct advantage for the home candidates, however after a few discussions about the river I now had an idea of what lay ahead of us. There's a lot to the river section of the 4 star, it went well, the river was flowing and the mock students were full of enthusiasm for the day, again with all tasks completed we returned to Pyb for the final debrief and the results, it was success, not just me but for all the candidates, we had worked hard for the past 2 days and it was worth it.
It has to be said that, on the assessment the instructors Dave Luke and Pete Catteralls laid back approach but managing to cover all aspects in a very professional manner was excellent all the information was clear and any questions were answered thoroughly. Both instructors instilled confidence in all the candidates. In all I enjoyed the weekend. I felt I gained a significant amount of personal development as well as becoming a stronger lead.
Not forgetting the facilities at Pyb were outstanding and the staff were helpful and friendly and I would highly recommend the course and Pyb to my friends.


a new 4 star open canoe paddler

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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