Mallaig and District Canoe Club

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If you have a child in Mallaig High School who would like to join the club and attend pool sessions, please contact Jenny Benfield in the first instance to see if a place is available and then complete the form accessible from the Membership page of the website.

2016 evening sessions. The last junior outing of the year took place on Sunday 4th October.  Seven juniors turned up to enjoy a day’s sea paddle in the Sound of Arisaig.  They met with coaches Michelle, Mike and Joan at the Arisaig Sea Kayak Centre at Arisaig Hotel to load boats on to the trailer and get fitted out with paddles, spray decks and buoyancy aids before driving with Mike to Rhu.  The forecast was for light winds and sun, so it was decided to paddle round Rubh’ Arisaig and have lunch at the sandy beach of Port nam Murrach.  After lunch the wind had freshened and the waves had got considerably bigger.  Some paddlers decided to paddle out through the waves and round Eilean nam Murrach.  They practised surfing down the waves and played  a game in pairs which involved  one person paddling into a space and holding their kayaks steady in the waves with their paddle raised above their head until  the other person joined them.....a steep learning curve for some!  Reunited, the group paddled back into the south channel of Loch nan Ceall with a following sea.  One rescue later they reached the relatively calm water of the channel and paddled to the skerries where some  practised peer and self rescues, while others preferred to roll in the sand practising rugby tackles and scrums!!  By this time, wet and getting cold, the juniors were happy to make for the take-out and get into dry clothes.  A great way to finish off the season before pool sessions start at the end of October!





Paddlers:  Duncan, Angus, Kira, Freya, Tom, Jenny and Mat

Summer evening sessions 2015

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Rafting up

Practising bow rescues

Enjoying the loch

August 2015

2 Junior members from the past year's top group, Eddie Benfield and Joey Baker, went on an overnight camping trip in sea kayaks around Rhu Arisaig - see trip report and more pics here.


Front row: Eddie Benfield, Aodan Barrie, Bruce Joliffe (Coach), Tom Baillie, Steven MacDonald.

June 2013 - Junior Kayak success!

Six junior members of Mallaig & District Canoe Club recently underwent training and assessment in white water kayaking on Loch Morar, the river Lochy and the river Moriston with coach Bruce Joliffe from Largs. All the boys acquired their Foundation Safety and Rescue qualification towards which they had been working all winter in the pool. This qualification is a prerequisite for any kayak/canoe coaching qualification they may wish to undertake in the future. Four of the boys attained their 3* whitewater qualification which required them to roll their kayaks on the river, a very different environment from the warmth and safety of the swimming pool! Thanks to Bruce for making the whole experience fun and to local coaches Mike, Michelle and Joan who went along for the ride. Thanks also to Lochaber Sports Association who helped to fund the adventure.

Glenmore Lodge weekend 28/29 May 2011.

On Friday 27th May six junior members of Mallaig & District Canoe Club set off for Glenmore Lodge by Aviemore for a weekend of whitewater kayaking accompanied by two of the club’s coaches. Friday evening was spent settling in to the accommodation and having a good look round the facility. 
After breakfast on the Saturday morning, the juniors met up with Nancy, their instructor for the weekend, who directed them to “stores” where they picked up the various pieces of kit they would need for river paddling.  Next it was on to the boat store to choose a boat for the weekend before loading everything into the box trailer and setting off for Knockando on the river Spey.  After one of the wettest Mays on record in the Spey Valley, the river was in full flow and posed quite a challenge to the juniors!  The day was spent practising the skills they would need for the journey down the river planned for the following day; skills such as “ferry gliding” across the current and breaking in and out of “eddies”.  By the end of the day everyone had become quite proficient and ready to run the river. 
The section of the Spey paddled on the Sunday runs from Ballindalloch to Knockando and contains many rapids including one ominously named “The Washing Machine”!  Everyone coped very well with the conditions, and especially enjoyed the excitement of running the rapids, even trying a bit of playboating on a standing wave.
The weekend was a great success and thanks must go to those who contributed to our fundraising efforts:
Sport Lochaber Youth Support Fund
The Arisaig Fund
Mallaig Community Coucil
Adult and Junior club members – bag packing at the Co-op on New Year’s Eve
Finally, thanks to the six juniors – Steven, Joey, Eddie, Aodan, Liam and Peter, who displayed a high level of commitment and willingness to learn as well as a great sense of humour throughout!  Roll on the next adventure!

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There's never a bus when you need one. Hey, the weather's better here
Are we there yet?
Anyone for a paddle?
Has everyone got all their kit? This is more like it. Wake me when the bus arrives. Come and join me - the water's lovely The advertising photo

River Lochy trip 2010 (Double click a picture to enlarge. Click to reduce again)

On Sunday 26th September eight junior members of the Mallaig & District Canoe Club undertook a paddle down the river Lochy from Mucomir by Gairlochy to Old Inverlochy Castle.  The trip was led by Stuart and Ben from Rockhopper who brought along a fleet of canoes.  This was the culmination of all the hard work put in by the juniors over the winter in the pool and on Loch Morar over the summer months which resulted in all eight  gaining their BCU 2* proficiency awards. 


The weather was perfect as the group set off  down the river in a mixture of canoes and kayaks.  The juniors had to demonstrate skills in both types of craft to gain 2* status.  The river was at a good level after the rain the week before, and the group safely negotiated  several sets of rapids and learned how to manoeuvre in and out of eddies before stopping for lunch. 

After swapping boats,  they headed down towards the main rapid on the river at Torcastle.  Here the river turns sharply left and all the water is channelled  through a narrow cleft between two rock outcrops forming a wave chain and some exciting boils!  The  canoes went first and all got  down safely although taking on board a lot of water!  The kayaks  went next and despite a couple of capsizes joined the rest of the group at the bottom of the rapid to empty the boats.


It was great to watch the juniors moving their boats around the river, reading the water, negotiating the rapids and relishing the challenges of the white water.  They are a credit to the club!
A big thank you to Stuart and Ben as well as to all the fundraisers and coaches.

Mallaig & District Canoe Club Junior Weekend 2010

On the weekend 11 - 13th  June, ten junior members of the Mallaig & District Canoe Club attended Outward Bound Locheil, where they received tuition in two star canoe and kayaking skills.
On arrival they were shown to their rooms and around the centre which they were sharing with ninety pupils from Fettes College in Edinburgh.  The afternoon was spent practising canoeing skills on Loch Eil across the road from the Centre.  This proved rather exciting as there was a strong wind blowing and they were jockeying for position with the entire Fettes contingent who were trying out canoes and kayaks of various shapes and sizes.  However, the Mallaig youngsters set themselves the task of paddling round two sailing boats anchored in the bay and all managed to return to the jetty without incident.  After dinner their instructor took them to the zip wire which they all enjoyed (apart from the midgies!!).

On Saturday the group loaded up a trailer with canoes and kayaks (loading and securing boats is all part of the 2* syllabus) and set off for Loch Lochy.  They unloaded the trailer where the river Arkaig enters the loch and split into two groups.  One group spent the morning in canoes and the afternoon in kayaks while the other group did it vice versa.

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Everyone had a chance to practise their skills in both types of craft and learned a lot.  In the evening they all had a chance to try the trapeze and the parachute jump in the grounds of the centre before supper and bed. 

The next morning Loch Eil was flat calm so it was decided to undertake a journey to the other side of the loch in canoes. After tidying rooms and packing, the group got together to discuss safety for the journey before setting off across the loch two to a canoe.  On the far shore everyone got the chance to right a capsized canoe before returning to the jetty where they undertook rescues which involved everyone getting very wet and a lot of laughs!

Before setting off for home the group had the chance to share what they had learned over the course of the two days and to thank their instructors.  They can now look forward to attaining their 2* level of competency in the near future!  A big thank you to all those who contributed financially to the success of the weekend including:  parents and children for bag packing, The Cameron Mackintosh Foundation, The Arisaig Fund and The Morar Community Council.  And last of all thank you to the juniors who were a credit to their community!

Glenmore Lodge Activity Centre - 18/19 July 2009

Six junior members accompanied by Joan Smith and Colin Biddulph, attended a weekend introduction to whitewater paddling at Glenmore Lodge near Aviemore from 17th to 19th July.  They settled in to their chalet on Friday night after enjoying fish and chips in Aviemore, then went to “stores” to collect wetsuits, buoyancy aids etc for the adventures ahead.  Instructor Iain Murray joined them on Saturday morning and everyone chose their kayak for the weekend.  Saturday morning was spent on Loch Morlich practising the kayaking skills learned in the pool over the winter.  After a picnic lunch by the lochside, it was off to the river Spey to get a first taste of moving water.  Working in pairs, the juniors practised moving around the river, crossing eddy lines and “ferry gliding” across the current.  On returning to  Glenmore, it was into the pool to practise some rescues.  The rain had persisted all day Saturday, and concerns were raised that there might be too much water for the group to safely tackle a  river trip on the Sunday.

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On Loch Morlich - day 1 Ready for . . . . . . . ? Bathing beauties Kayak train-ing  

Sunday dawned drier with blinks of blue sky and, having checked river levels, Iain decided that the river Ness was the destination for the day.  The “put in” was at the first lock in the Caledonian canal as it leaves Loch Ness.  The first excitement of the day was paddling over a weir.  Everyone got a good line down this intimidating rapid and excitement was running high.  On the flatter sections of the river the juniors took turns in leading the group and finding suitable eddies behind “sticky-out bits” on the river bank.  The final challenge was running a second weir, on which it was essential to get the right line to prevent getting sucked on to  some jagged looking rocks!   With shouts of “Paddle! Paddle!” ringing in their ears, all the juniors made it down in one piece and the right way up!!  The take out was at Bught Park in Inverness where the Inverness Highland Games were in full swing.  Then it was back to Glenmore Lodge to check and clean all the gear and put away kayaks.  After tea and cake (a Glenmore ritual!) the group had a final meeting with their instructor to see whether their hopes for the weekend had been met.  They had had fun and tackled some awesome rapids, so everyone agreed that the weekend had more than met their expectations.
Thanks to Joan and Colin for taking the juniors and to Sheila for organising and raising funds for the weekend.  Thanks also to the juniors who did all that was asked of them; they were a credit to their families and the club!

This year some of the Juniors gained BCU 2* and 3* qualifications - in some challenging conditions!

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Canoeing on Loch Morar Sculling for support for 2* Embarking at the pier Reversing 3 star lads ready to go

Younger Juniors have the opportunity to work towards Paddlepower Awards.

Paddlepower is a scheme designed to meet the needs of young people. It’s colourful and youth centred approach aims to :

  • Encourage more young people to come into and stay in the sport
  • Provide progression and reward achievement in a wide range of topics
  • Show them all aspects of the sport – both competitive and adventurous
  • Provide signposts into Clubs where their skills and development can be nurtured
  • Provide a flexible structure for delivery according to venue/situation

The Paddlepower Scheme consists of 5 youth friendly awards all with a colourful and youth friendly approach to provide an appropriate pathway for young paddlers.

The Paddlepower Awards:

Paddlepower Start

An entry level award suitable for taster sessions or as part of a series of sessions.

Paddlepower Passport

Four progressive levels based on 24 topics which can be grouped into Safety Awareness, Paddling Skills, Varied Experiences, and Supporting Knowledge. The award is equivalent to 1 Star.

Paddlepower Discover

This follows on from Passport with a further 4 levels to take the young paddler to equivalent of 2 star standard.

Paddlepower Explore 

Three different levels take the paddler on an extensive journey exploring the great variety Paddlesport, with topics focused on participation in events and journeys in the competitive and non-competitive disciplines.

Paddlepower Excel

Three levels to test the paddler on all elements of paddlesport including being responsible for self and others, participation in journeys, coaching sessions, training, events/competitions in a variety of disciplines, background knowledge of the sport; access, rules, environmental, nutrition and goal setting.

BCU Star Awards

Older Juniors can work towards BCU Star Awards.

Child Protection Policy
The Club adheres to the following Child Protection Policy - available here.