Sea Kayak Leader training, Cumbria

Sea Kayak Leader training Cumbria

Come and join our Sea Kayak Leader training courses in Cumbria.  Our upcoming event on the 20th & 21st November is running and still has some space.  The following course is on the 4th & 5th of December and also has places available.  Both Sea Kayak Leader training courses are preceded the day before by the Coastal Navigation & Tidal Planning course (classroom based).

Whilst many people who take these courses are intending to work towards the assessment, it’s also the case that a good number use them to enhance their own knowledge and skills so they can make more informed decsions when paddling by themselves and with friends – doing the assessment is not required!  Steve can also take a view on your sea kayak competence against British Canoeing’s Personal Performance Awards in sea kayaking then issue them as appropriate if you meet the required standard over the 2 days.  This would save the cost of attending a standalone course to take these awards.

Steve’s Sea Kayak Leader training is based in Cumbria where we have the full range of coastline types to provide the best possible learning and development.  If you’d like to join please get in touch at steve@stevebanksoutdoors.co.uk or call on 07796 213817.  We’ll be delighted to hear from you and will do our best to support your sea kayaking development.

By |November 10th, 2021|Sea Kayak|Comments Off on Sea Kayak Leader training, Cumbria

Advanced Sea Kayak Leader assessment

Advanced Sea Kayak Leader assessment

Strong NW winds provided big conditions at St Bees to complete an Advanced Sea Kayak Leader assessment.  Faced with difficult launching and landing, powerful surf, a distant break and some very big waves (which had our sea kayaks airborne and pointing skywards at times!), the candidate did a great job of managing two competent paddlers and providing an intense but very positive experience.  They also managed all the staged rescue situations and incidents with aplomb – very well done!

If you’re keen to develop your sea kayaking or sea kayak qualifications at any level from flat calm to as challenging as you want, Steve will be pleased to help you.  Get in touch for a chat about your paddling needs on 07796 213817 and steve@stevebanksoutdoors.co.uk

By |October 22nd, 2021|Sea Kayak|Comments Off on Advanced Sea Kayak Leader assessment

Sea Kayaking Cumbria: Barrow & St Bees

Barrow sea kayaking

Cumbria provides some great, though perhaps less well known, venues for sea kayaking.  This past weekend saw Steve taking private clients out round the North end of Walney Island following the fast flowing tide through the North channel past the nature reserve.  They were surprised by its unpopulated and wild nature despite being close to a large town.  Barrow provides many other excellent venues for a day out (image with Piel Castle) whilst Cumbria as a whole has plenty of good coast for sea kayaking:  St Bees has the only cliff coastline between the Great Orme and the Mull of Galloway and is festooned with cliff nesting birds in spring and summer; the huge sandy expanse of Morecambe Bay and the many river estuaries on the coast provide for fast tides and several tidal bores as the incoming water is concentrated in narrow spaces; the North Solway has 6 knot currents on spring tides to carry the adventurous northwards to return on the equally brisk ebb.  These and other Cumbrian paddling sites await those interested in broadening their kayaking horizons.  If this appeals to you Steve will be happy to advise and provide any support you need – just call 07796 213817 or email for a chat.

By |October 11th, 2021|Sea Kayak|Comments Off on Sea Kayaking Cumbria: Barrow & St Bees

Orcadian adventures

Sea Kayak Orkney

Steve is just returned from running his sea kayak trip to Orkney, though the weather did encourage some significant adaptations!  We did manage a paddle from Stromness to the Ring of Brodgar, a day surfing at Scapa Bay and an excellent round of Gairsay (image) where we had some great tidal conditions, archeology and a huge group of grey seals bow riding the kayaks and leaping out of the water.  We also had the opportunity to explore Skara Brae, Kirkwall and the western mainland of Orkney before very strong winds dictated a change of plan.

A check of the weather across Scotland showed the Moray Firth to be the calmest and sunniest place, so we relocated to Inverness and had three further excellent days paddling from Hopeman, on the Beauly Firth and at Fortrose from Chanonry Point to Fort George in the exciting tide races.  We did also manage a really enjoyable night paddle in near perfect conditions from Bunchrew.

Steve’s next sea kayak trips will be in June 2022, one week of which will be in Jersey to make up for the week lost during the first lockdown.  A second, consecutive week will be in Brittany. The dates and details will be advertised on the sea kayak trips page so please get in touch if you’re interested at steve@stevebanksoutdoors.co.uk or 07796 213817.

By |October 7th, 2021|Sea Kayak|Comments Off on Orcadian adventures

Atlantic grey seals

atlantic grey seal

Last weekend saw Steve taking two private clients out sea kayaking from Roa Island with a specific request for wildlife encounters.  Paddling from Roa to Piel Island and then onto Walney Island meant we came across many birds including eider, dunlin, sanderling, curlew, sandwich terns and various gulls, though the highlight of the day was being surrounded by big atlantic grey seals which came to investigate us, nudging the boats and swimming beside us.

Atlantic grey seals (halichoerus grypus) are one of the UK’s two indigenous seal species (there are 33 species worldwide divided into 3 family groups).  Greys are one of 18 species of phocid seals which are often referred to as ‘true seals’ and ‘earless seals’ on account of their lack of a prominent external pinna.  Phocid seals are characterised by their slug-like appearance on land and the fact they use blubber for insulation as opposed to fur.  Atlantic greys are big animals with the bulls being up to 310kg, they join together on beaches in colonies and the males compete over the females.  Pups tend to be born in Autumn and Winter and have the classic white, furry weaner coat which harks back to camouflage in an Arctic past.  This coat prevents them swimming effectively for the first 2 to 3 weeks of life and makes them vulnerable on the beach both to external disturbance and from adult seals – particularly if they stampede for the water when spooked by humans.

It is very important with marine mammals in general to take care when approaching them so as to not disturb them or be perceived as a threat.  Steve was careful to advise his clients to stay well clear of the single mother with a young pup on the beach and to then drift and allow the inquisitive animals to approach – which they did in numbers!

If you’d like more information on seals or to engage with wildlife from your sea kayak please contact us for support.  Steve is both experienced and knowledgeable and will be pleased to help you.

By |September 6th, 2021|Environment, Sea Kayak|Comments Off on Atlantic grey seals

Orkney sea kayak trip

Orkney sea kayak trip

Steve’s next sea kayak trip is to the Orkney Islands with paddling days from the 27th September to 1st October.  There’s also the opportunity for some free additional days as a client on Sea Leader assessments (depending on competence) after the paddling days.  The trip is definitely running, barring unforeseen issues getting in the way, there are still a couple of places available if you’re interested in joining.

As well as away trips and personal guiding and coaching days Steve is also now putting on his normal range of courses for those seeking qualifications in outdoor activities.  He’s doing this whilst still being very mindful of the Covid situation.  We’ll still be being vigilant to protect ourselves and clients from exposure to the virus and have no intention of letting our guard down.

By |September 2nd, 2021|Sea Kayak|Comments Off on Orkney sea kayak trip

Shetland Sea Kayak trip

Steve is just back from a fabulous sea kayak trip to Shetland which was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.  The sun shone most of the time and we were able to paddle ten different pieces of coastline including spectacular highlights at Eshaness, Hillswick, Ronas Voe, Sand Voe and, as a grand finale, a stunning day out with a view over Muckle Flugga.  As ever, Shetland supplements such excursions with fabulous wildlife: we had wonderful, up-close views of many species of flora and fauna rare or absent on mainland UK both from our kayaks and whilst exploring on land.

We met lots of friendly and helpful folk during our time in the islands, in particular, Claire at Braewick did a great job of looking after our camping needs, whilst George at Noonsbrough was very kind and helpful as we tried to find a suitable parking and launching point- even making a dovetailed wooden momento which he gave to Steve after our paddle.

If you’d like to get a flavour of our Northern adventures click through the images on the left, all taken on the trip.  If you are interested in future trips to Shetland, sea kayak trips in general or any of the other adventure excursions Steve offers, please get in touch and he’ll do his best to help you.

By |June 28th, 2021|Sea Kayak|Comments Off on Shetland Sea Kayak trip

Cumbria Sea Kayaking

Steve’s first paddling course since the easing of Covid restrictions was a three day Sea Kayak Leader training course using St Bees, Walney Island and Roa Island.  The course culminated with a great day for everyone at Roa Island, starting with a launch into a flooding 10m spring tide flow and surfing on the wave crossing the jetty by the lifeboat station.

A serendipitous encounter with Mark Tomlinson of MT Headspace led to him filming us with his drone and the production of the adjoining video clip.  Depending on your screen resolution it can be played picture in picture or full screen in HD.

Steve’s next Sea Kayak Leader course is the 11th & 12th May on the Cumbrian coast.  If you’re interested in this course or sea kayaking at any level please get in touch with us and we’ll do our best to help.

By |April 30th, 2021|Sea Kayak|Comments Off on Cumbria Sea Kayaking

Shetland sea kayaking

Shetland sea kayaking

If you’re already a sea kayaker and are looking for your next adventure with support, Steve has put on two weeks of sea kayaking in Shetland in mid-June.  Shetland is Steve’s favourite place to go sea kayaking as the combination of its geology and position in the North Atlantic has led to a intricate coastline with countless caves, arches, stacks, tunnels and cliffs.  To add to this is the sense of remoteness and the stunning wildlife: you’re guaranteed to see amazing sea birds with the chance to spot some very rare species.  Otters and seals are common and porpoises, dolphins, minke whales and orcas may come our way.  These weeks are suitable for competent sea kayakers; if you’re interested please get in touch with Steve.  Further sea kayak weeks will be advertised shortly for the early Autumn.

By |March 29th, 2021|Sea Kayak|Comments Off on Shetland sea kayaking

The tides of March

Sea Kayak Coastal Navigation course

The government is indicating that professional, organised outdoor sport and activity may be able to recommence from March 29th.  Clearly, any such activity will need to be very mindful of the ongoing Covid-19 situation.  Steve is listing courses from this date starting with a Sea Kayak Leader training course as it coincides with spring tides.  However, he does realise that we are all out of practice so has put on further Sea Leader training courses in April and May as well as the attendant Coastal Navigation course.  As per the earlier post the assessment for this award is now significantly changed; Steve has highlighted dates on which he can run assessments, though encourages anyone needing an alternative date to get in touch so he can help.  All Steve’s provision will strictly adhere to Covid-19 rules and procedures to ensure everyone’s wellbeing.

By |March 7th, 2021|Sea Kayak|Comments Off on The tides of March
Go to Top