Kayaking is a watersport that involves paddling using a double-bladed oar and a small boat known as a kayak. Whether you are seeking the heart-stopping exhilaration of a roller coaster or the serenity and peace of getting lost in the moment, you can find your passion in a kayak. There are few things more relaxing than sitting in a kayak and watching the sunset over a lake. Kayaking can offer stress relief like no other. You know what they say:
“Even an ok day of kayaking is better than a good day at work”.
So what’s the draw of kayaking?
First off, it can be a huge adrenaline rush. There’s a very real fear when you’re dropping over the edge of white water or zooming down an inlet. Alternatively, flat water kayaking can give you an amazing sense of tranquillity when you’re in the middle of a glassy lake, water stretching out on all sides. It’s almost meditative!
But is this really for anyone, even us inner-city homebodies?
One of the best things about kayaking is that your fitness level really doesn’t matter. The fun, speed and mental challenge of a day in the water will make you forget you’re even exercising, and if you don’t feel like paddling hard, the water will carry you along. That’s the beauty of nature! There’s always a good place for a beginner to start, whether you just want to paddle on a flat lake or try something more challenging — it really is a sport for all ages and abilities.
If you already know the basics and want to step your experience up to the next level with new techniques and fancy moves, there are tailored packages for all skills levels that some of our guides can offer.
Sounds great! But are there any good places in the UK to try kayaking out?
Tons! Scotland and the Highlands are a goldmine of kayaking spots, especially Loch Eil and Loch Linnhe. If you’re looking closer to the south, the Isle of Wight has a number of great places, as well as the Wye in South Wales. If you’re stuck in London but you’d like to start practising closer to home, did you know you can kayak on the Thames?
Kayaking sounds fun — but how much does it usually cost?
Not much actually as you don’t have to buy any equipment, at least not with our guides as they will provide all the equipment by making sure you’re fully prepared with wetsuits, life jackets, helmets, waterproof boots, and everything else you need to stay safe and warm. Guides start from [£30] per person.
And do I need to learn the basics in advance?
Absolutely not. If you choose a pro, they will get you kitted out and teach you the basics in the boat, out of the water. Then when you’re ready, you can take your first dive in!
How much time should I allocate to get the best out of a kayaking trip?
For a first-timer, I would recommend at least a two-day trip. One full day to learn the technique in the morning and get into the water in the afternoon. And a second full day of water work would be ideal. Although a lot of people for 3–6 days kayaking trip.
How easy or difficult is the training?
For beginners, you’ll start off in a wide and highly stable boat to teach you the correct technique — straight back with a slight lean forward. After you’ve got the balance down, you’ll be taken through the basics of paddling with a toe-to-hip stroke. Then it’s out on the water and off on an adventure!
How do we meet other new kayakers? Or even old kayakers who could give us some tips?
You can message us on Slack or Intercom if you have any burning questions, or just want to get started right away! There are a ton of Facebook groups, forums, and meet-up sites all around the UK. Check out sea kayaking and groups for equipment sales.
So we want to get away from the city and give kayaking a go. What’s the accommodation situation like?
If you’re exploring the Highlands, you should definitely check out the bothy situation — abandoned shepherd’s huts nestled into the valleys. A lot of our guides will offer whole weekend trips including accommodation, but if you prefer to sort it yourself then there are some great hostels and hotels around. Try HostelWorld for options around Devon and the Isle of Wight especially.
How’s that for a view to wake up to?
I want to book but there are so many options! Where do you recommend I go?
You are guaranteed a fantastic time with any one of our guides, who we carefully test and vet before we recommend them.
If you’re having trouble picking, try to narrow it down by location and type of kayaking you’d like to do — choose somewhere flat and calm if you’re looking for a relaxed weekend, or a white water adventure if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush! You can find a guide and see the activity booking page here and here.
Based on your experience, when is the best time to go kayaking?
Winter in the UK is warm enough that it can be an all-year-round experience.
You’ll need more gear in the winter to keep warm — which can influence the cost — but you’ll get just as much, if not more, out of a choppy January ride.
Get inspired for all-weather kayaking! Winter, summer, spring or autumn.
When should I start preparing to get my kayak on? And could I make it back for work on Monday?
Definitely — you could start practising on the Thames if you’re tight for time. There are so many sites to choose from, you could be looking at anywhere between a three and nine-hour drive to a location. Whether it’s a day trip or a whole weekend, you’ll be able to find something to suit you. If you’re planning on testing out the Scottish lochs, why not make a long weekend of it!