Open DofE
Gold Canoeing

Open Gold Canoeing Expeditions

Our Open Expeditions by Canoe are a unique way of doing your DofE Expedition on some of the UK’s picturesque rivers. Participants do not need to have any previous canoeing experience as our comprehensive Training Programme will take you from the raw beginner to a competent paddler. However, all participants must be able to competently swim at least 50 metres for safety reasons.

All our Open Gold Canoeing Expedition dates above for 2021 are now confirmed and will run so long as the UK continues to meet the targets set by the Government for successful transition out of lockdown in line with the UK Roadmap announced by the Prime Minister in February 2021.

Midlands Canals Paddle Skills Training: Sat 22nd May 2021 and
Midlands Canals Practice Expedition (May half-term): Sat 29th - Mon 31st May 2021

For teams who will be completing the River Severn as their Qualifying Expedition, our Training & Practice Expedition in May will run along the Midlands Canal Network from north Birmingham to Nottingham. Starting at Minworth, you will travel along the Birmingham & Fazeley and Coventry Canals, finishing the first day at Lichfield. The second day will then take you north to Fradley Junction and then east along the Trent & Mersey Canal through Burton-upon-Trent and Willington to finish at Barrow-upon-Trent. The final day will pass through Shardlow to join the River Trent, passing under Trent Bridge and past the Nottingham Forest and Notts County football grounds to finish at the National Water Sports Centre.

River Trent Paddle Skills Training: Tues 1st June 2021 and
River Trent Practice Expedition (May half-term): Tues 1st - Fri 4th June 2021

For teams who will be heading to Scotland for their Qualifying Expedition, our June Training & Practice Expeditions will journey along the River Soar & River Trent. Starting in Leicester under the watchful eye of Richard III, travel north along the River Soar and Grand Union Canal to Barrow-upon-Soar. The second day will head north to Redhill Marina before a final days' journey along the River Trent, passing under Trent Bridge and past the Nottingham Forest and Notts County football grounds, and the National Water Sports Centre to finish at Gunthorpe.

River Severn (Welsh borders) Qualifying Expedition: Sun 4th - Thurs 8th July 2021

For those who want to stay south of the border, we will be delivering an Open Gold Canoeing Expedition along the River Severn at the start of July. This is the longest river in England and Wales, and will take participants through the picturesque and historical Severn Valley. Starting in Wales at Welshpool, the journey takes them back across the border to England through Shrewsbury before passing the roman city of Wroxeter and the Cistercian Abbey at Buildwas. On the final day, the teams will pass under the famous Ironbridge, over Jackfield Rapids and through the beautiful Ironbridge Gorge before passing through Bridgnorth and alongside the Severn Valley Railway to finish at Hampton Loade.

Caledonian Canal Qualifying Expedition: Sat 31st July - Thurs 5th August 2021

For 2021 we have a fantastic opportunity to shake off those lockdown blues with our blue riband event along the Caledonian Canal - what a way to achieve your DofE Gold Expedition! Starting under the shadow of Ben Nevis, you will canoe along the 95km of the Caledonian Canal, including the length of Loch Ness (watch out for Nessie!) to finish at Inverness. From the top of Neptune's Staircase, you will travel through Loch Lochy and Loch Oich before arriving at Fort Augustus (gateway to Loch Ness) towards the end of the second day. The journey then takes you the length of Loch Ness to Dores, before a final day's journey through Loch Dochfour to finish by the sea at Muirtown, Inverness. This is a truly memorable experience and a fantastic opportunity to make your DofE Gold Expedition that extra bit special.

England & Wales

Complete Package: £624.00 pp

Training & Practice Expedition only: £312.00 pp

Qualifying Expedition only: £312.00 pp

Scotland

Complete Package: £690.00 pp

Training & Practice Expedition only: £312.00 pp

Qualifying Expedition only: £378.00 pp

Complete Packages include Training, Practice & Qualifying Expeditions all Supervised and Assessed by our team of qualified and experienced canoe leaders. Group equipment, canoe equipment, campsite fees and 2 nights bunkhouse accommodation (Scotland only) before the Qualifying Expedition are also included. (Bunkhouse subject to local COVID-19 procedures allowing indoor overnight accommodation at the time. If this is not appropriate, we will revert to overnight camping).

All packages include VAT charged at the rate applicable at the time of booking (currently 20%).

Sorry but sightings of Nessie not included!!!

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What's included

5-days, 4-nights Training & Practice Expedition:

  • Day 1: Basic Paddle Skills Training covering all aspects of the DofE Paddles Skills syllabus followed by an overnight camp.

  • Day 2: Consolidation of Paddle Skills on an accompanied journey with overnight camp.

  • Days 3 - 5: 3-day, 2-night Practice Expedition with an end of expedition briefing with your Expedition Supervisor.

Scotland - 6-days, 5-nights Qualifying Expedition:

  • Day 1: Travel & arrival day. Settle into bunkhouse accommodation (included in package).

  • Day 2: Additional paddle skills training relating to the local environment. Kit checks, assessor briefing before some R&R time. Overnight stay in bunkhouse (included in package).

  • Days 3 - 6: 4-day, 3-night Qualifying Expedition.

  • Assessment by a DofE Accredited Assessor and completion of Assessors Report to eDofE.

  • Assessment of Expedition Presentation.

(Please note that bunkhouse accommodation is subject to local COVID-19 procedures allowing indoor overnight accommodation at the time. If this is not appropriate, we will revert to overnight camping).

England/Wales - 5-days, 4-nights Qualifying Expedition:

  • Day 1: Arrival, paddle skills refresher training relating to the local environment. Kit checks, assessor briefing before some R&R time. Overnight camp.

  • Days 2 - 5: 4-day, 3-night Qualifying Expedition.

  • Assessment by a DofE Accredited Assessor and completion of Assessors Report to eDofE.

  • Assessment of Expedition Presentation.

All expeditions also include:

  • Pastoral supervision throughout expeditions.

  • Camp site and bunkhouse accommodation fees.

  • Tents, stoves, fuel, group first aid kit and route maps provided for each individual participant.

  • Paddle Kit – canoes, paddles, buoyancy aids, helmets, and throwlines. Also included is a 65 litre waterproof paddlesport dry bag per participant for you to pack your kit and clothing into on arrival.

  • Public Liability Insurance of £10million, AALA Licence and DofE AAP Licence.

*NOTE: All participants MUST watch the Training Videos on our Factsheets & Videos page to support their preparation, especially our videos on appropriate clothing, packing a rucksack and menu ideas.

Dates & Locations

  • Midlands Canals Paddle Skills Training: Sat 22nd May 2021 (Staffordshire/Derbyshire)

  • Midlands Canals Practice Expedition: Sat 29th - Mon 31st May 2021 (Minworth - Nottingham)

  • River Trent Paddle Skills Training: Tues 1st June 2021 (Staffordshire)

  • River Soar/Trent Practice Expedition (May half-term): Tues 1st - Fri 4th June 2021 (Leicester - Nottingham)

  • River Severn Qualifying Expedition (England & Wales): Sun 4th - Thurs 8th July 2021 (Welshpool - Hampton Loade)

  • Caledonian Canal Qualifying Expedition (Scotland): Sat 31st July - Thurs 5th August 2021 (Fort William - Inverness)

COVID-19 Procedures

  • A COVID-19 Screening Questionnaire will be sent to all attendees (participants and leaders) prior to attending. Please complete this form within 48 hours of the expedition and handed in on arrival.

  • Restricting the numbers on each expedition to comply with current Government social distancing rules. We have separate routes and campsite locations that we will be using, with a maximum of 14 participants (2 teams) on each route.

  • All participants must bring their own hand sanitiser and face coverings. There will also be a supply of these available on the expedition.

  • Participants will be issued with their own tent, stove, fuel and group first aid kit for the duration of the expedition. Participants will not share group equipment or food.

  • Campsites will be disinfecting and cleaning communal areas (toilets and washing-up areas) regularly and all users must follow the campsite rules.

  • Participants should travel to/from the expedition areas within their household or social bubble. If using public transport, participants must comply with Government rules and wear face masks.

  • Leaders will be undertaking a Lateral Flow Test prior to the expedition, and we encourage all participants to also complete a test.

  • Expeditions follow the National Youth Agency COVID-19 guidelines which has been aligned with the UK Government's roadmap issued on 22nd February 2021. Please be aware that dates or the type of programme may change if the UK Government's targets for transition to future steps are not met.

Please click here for our factsheet on COVID-19 procedures.

DofE Expedition Information

All our DofE training is based on the DofE's Common Training Framework at each level. Canoeing Training is based on the British Canoeing training syllabus and the DofE's Paddle Skills Training.

All our expeditions are subject to the DofE's 20 Expedition Conditions.

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