01690 720214

Introduction to Kayaking

Course Overview

A five day course which will give you a thorough grounding in kayaking. You will be introduced to all the equipment and basic skills on local rivers, lakes and sea. On this course there is ample opportunity for coaching and progression in white water and sea kayaking.

Experience Required


Scheduled Dates

Detailed Course Notes

You should be 18 years old to attend this course.

Who is it for?
This course is for anyone who would like a safe and enjoyable introduction to the sport of kayaking.  You may have a little experience, or none at all.  As with any active sport, a reasonable level of general fitness will enable more rapid and enjoyable progress

Course Content
Initially we will concentrate upon developing good paddling technique and water confidence, using the local lake, river and indoor pool.  After an induction session, students may use the training pool without staff supervision for extra practice during any spare time.  We will then be exploring the coastline and rivers of North Wales as we further coach your paddling skills and develop your confidence.  In particular we will look at:

  • Basic kayaking strokes  

  • Capsize drill

  • Rescue techniques

  • Moving water techniques

  • Sea kayaking techniques

  • Loading a kayak for day out

  • Journeying on sea, rivers, and white water

  • Safety principles of the sport of kayaking

Useful Books

Kayaking & Canoeing Techniques by Marcus Baillie

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
    Kayak or canoe hire
    Secure boat storage (if you choose to bring your own boat)
    Equipment hire
    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. Find out more about the upcoming talks here.

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

follow this link for more details

What Equipment Do You Need To Bring?

  • Thin fleeces/thermals/rash vest for going under a wetsuit

  • Swimming costume/trunks

  • Wetsuit boots (or training shoes you're happy to get wet)

  • Wetsuit socks to wear with wetsuit boots/training shoes if cold

  • Warm clothes for when you get off the water

  • Warm hat, gloves, neck gaiter/buff, sun hat

  • Towel

  • Waterproof jacket and trousers

  • Drinks bottle

  • Flask

  • Lunch bag/box

  • Personal first aid kit

  • High factor sun screen

  • Midge repellant

  • Notebook and pen

The following items are available for you to borrow from our equipment stores free of charge so you don't need to rush out and buy them.

  • Wetsuit

  • Paddling cag

  • Buoyancy aid

  • Helmet

  • Dry bag

  • Large kit bag (for wet paddling kit)

  • Boat

  • Paddle

  • Spraydeck (if kayaking)

Our equipment stores stock wetsuits socks which you can purchase if you find you need them during your course

Customer Reviews For This Course

Excellent Course

Ian Gates

Course is very well run with enthusiastic, patient and positive instructors who dealt admirably with poor conditions for beginners over the weekend that I attended.

Go for it

Dave Oakes

If you're thinking of giving kayaking a try look no further than this course, you will receive expert tuition, thanks James. A very good selection of boats and equipment to try out on lakes, rivers and at sea, you'll leave hooked. The accommodation is very clean and comfortable, the food is first class and there's a well stocked bar. Go for it!!!

Terrific Course

Jenifer Hewett

Only 6 people on the course allowed the instructor to manage the different skill levels competently and make sure that we all achieved what we wanted. All my boxes were successfully ticked and I came away a better paddler than when I started.
We tried 3 types of kayaks on flat water, moving and white water and the sea. All of which was helped by the most idyllic perfect weather.
We had an enjoyable time in the heated pool learning the elements of confident capsizing. This was one of my main priorities.
The course enabled me to decide what I like to do most so that I can spend more time practicing to get better.
Thoroughly recommend Plas y Brenin and this course to anyone who wants to try Kayaking. I would also recommend this course for any age (I am late 50's).

Brilliant course


Brilliant course, very flexible and as there were only 3 people in our group they tailored it to exactly what we wanted. All the kit - wetsuits, cagoules, spray decks, helmets were provided by the centre and you could swap kit during the week to suit weather or planned activities. Lots of tuition and chance to try different boats for different conditions.
Thanks Andy and I hope to come back for another course.

Brilliant 5 days

Frithe Johnson

This was an excellent course, the coach was top notch, the accommodation comfy and warm, the food plentiful and tasty and the beer great! Can't wait to get back on the water. Highly recommended.

Great times


Would really recommend this trip if you are interested in kayaking or have dappled a bit on holidays but are not sure you want to take the hobby further. Coaches were great fun and introduced us to a range of kayaks and paddling techniques before letting us loose on first the lake at the centre and then on both sea and rivers. The people on the course were a great mix with singles and couples of all ages and back grounds making for a good team and some good conversation in the bar each night. Course was adaptable to the variety of abilities on the team and coaches were ever ready to support, help and encourage where necessary whilst letting the team control the pace of the day.
Facilities at the base were top notch and food (especially the deserts/cakes) was great. Lectures in the evening were well worth attending.
Fully plan to attend again soon for a introduction to another adventure activity and want to make it a regular holiday experience.

Absolutely 1st Class

John Cornell

A big thank you to Karl, Harry and Chris for an instructive and throughly enjoyable introduction to kayaking.
The quality of tuition was first class, Karl easing our group quickly from the initial nervousness of our first strokes paddling the adjacent lakes, building confidence on the day trips, exploring the Conwy estuary, experiencing white water rapids and sea kayaking the rocky coastline off Anglesey.
Superb value for money; all kit, equipment and transportation provided; good and plentiful food (and cakes), clean and honest accommodation with lashings of hot water. Efficient dedicated heated drying rooms for wet kit to dry out overnight.
A beautiful location with wonderful views
All in all a great week, I learnt a lot with a really nice friendly group of guys and girls, laid back but thoroughly professional tuition throughout.
I will be back for more.

The start of great times

Ruth James

I have been to PyB a few times for day visits so I knew before arriving that this week-long residential course would be good. But it was better than I ever hoped for!

The quality of the coaching was great, and perfectly aimed at me - a novice paddler. It was challenging at times but not scary.

Following my week at PyB I wanted to do more paddling, so I joined a local club and was easily able to join in their club white water trips to put all my new-found skills into practice.

I'll definitely be back to do get some more white water coaching at PyB.

The most amazing thing I could do with my summer holiday fund for 2013 (15th-19th July)


Spending five day at PYB was the best thing I could have done with my holiday fund. As a novice to the different disciplines of kayaking it gave me the opportunity to just discover what they were and try them.

As a person who has disabilities I thought I may struggle to keep up with the others on my cause but no, both the coaches Andy and Chris made sure we were all ready before moving on.

The whole week was full of laughter, fun and banter as well as fun trips to the beach and rivers. The laln for the week changed occasional due to what the weather was like and how people were feeling.

This trip has instilled a lot more confidence in my abilities as a paddler and that my fear of open water has well and truly gone with the occasional wobble on a rapid. The coaches were there every step of the way for support and to answer any questions we had. Thanks to both Chris and Andy for making me feel like a part of the group and making me feel like i want more on leaving the cause.

The accommodation was grate to I was expecting something very different and was presently surprised to see what was lurking around the bedroom door. the food for the week was amazing to it was nice to have the food n the evening whilst chatting to the other people on our cause.

overall this week has probably made the final dissension for me to become an outdoor educator myself. Seeing Chris and Andy do to the work they do has inspired me to push forward in my own career and follow in there very big foot steps.

I would highly recommend this cause to anyone who is interested in kayaking or just want to try it. I cant wait to come back and do some more.

Thank you to very one who works there for making me so welcome because you will get the same welcome as i did


Highly recommend it!

Karen Moyse

This was an extremely valuable week. Instruction, equipment, food and location were all of a very high standard.
Our coach James judged the ability of the group perfectly. Before we knew it we were on lakes, white water rivers, the sea and on the Menai Straights. I still can't quite believe I did what I did!
Evenings were spent in the rolling pool and at lectures holding a well earned glass of wine!
My only advice would be to check the level of the group if you've never done any kayaking before. And make sure you are fit if you are doing 5 days.
I would highly recommend it. Karen

Great week

Iain Ure

A wonderful week with great equipment and very competent and friendly trainers. A fun and exciting course - difficult to see how anyone could not enjoy this introduction to kayaking.

Age ranged from 16 to 60's, everyone got on well and everyone enjoyed the week.

Food was very good and plentiful.

Accomodation basic hostel standard but quite adequate. Loads of hot water.

I will be back.

Introduction to Kayaking August 2001

Joyce & David Adamson

Simply had to book ourselves onto the Introduction to Sea Kayaking course, the day after this course finished. We enjoyed it that much. Pete Catterall, one of the course instructors kept it light hearted but the instruction was first class. Loved every minute of it. Food and accommodation was extremely good, can't wait to sample it all again.

loved it

felicity cole

3 months later...got my own kayak, joined a club, sent my son on a course and this weekend am off sea kayaking in scotland. These guys are great - give you loads of confidence. I`m never going to be a white water freak , but i think this sport has something for everyone...thanks guys..

Good learning and adventurous experience

Richa Gupta

It was a very entertaining experience. Learnt the basic skills of paddling and definitely look forward to continue the learning in future. The location of the institute is exceptionally superb all surrounded by lakes, trees and mountains. Loved the concept of Tea/coffee and Cake in the evening after the training sessions. If one likes paddling then kayaking is definitely the sport for you.

As described on the tin

Ted Malden

this course gives a thorough introduction to kayaking, both in river and sea and in many different types of kayak. Excellent & very informative instruction with instructors Chris & Glen tailoring the course as we went through the week so we all got enough space to feel a personal sense of adventure & achievement whilst at the same time ensuring we were all on a continual learning curve in a safe environment. Thoroughly enjoyed the experience, cannot understand how I have not discovered kayaking years ago & will defo be returning to further my skills

Intro to Kayaking 20th Aug 2010

Paul Walters

Had a great time on this course, and can recommend anyone interested in kayaking to come along. Superb instruction with a huge collection of boats available. Good venues to learn new skills and challenge yourself. Plenty of opportunity to get low-downs on the best kit to buy for yourself and tap into the years of paddling experience of the instructors. Good food, good rooms and good beer. Hard work, but very satisfying. I'm planning on spending the next year paddling myself so I can go back to PYB next summer for the next stage !

Another fun and valuable week at PYB

Tony Graham

Just like last year (intro to rock climbing) this years course (intro to kayaking) has proved equally as fun and rewarding. Its really great to meet like minded people, and together enjoy these outdoor pursuits. The instruction is superb........enjoyable, safe, rewarding, and adaptable. What better way to begin or advance ones knowledge of these great sports. I can't wait for the next!! And whats more, its superb value. Tony Graham.

Thanks Play y Brenin for a great week

Myles Pilkington

I had a fantastic time at Plas Y Brenin. The facilities and food were excellent.

I was recently diagnosed with a Gluten Allergy and was unsure how difficult it was going to be to find appropriate food. Not an issues at all as PYB had clearly labelled everything and the kitchen staff were always willing to help with home made products that were Gluten free.

The course itself was pitched perfectly for the novice paddler and was kept interesting and challenging enough to be enjoyable and yet stretch you enough to feel you were achieving something.

The rooms were fantastic and the lack of television was brilliant. WIth evening talks and various facilities such as a climbing wall, rolling pool and bar for socialising - the lack of "classic entertainment" was a welcome break.

There must have been something wrong, as no where is perfect. But I had trouble finding it and cannot recall it now. Cannot wait to go on my next course.

High expectations well met

Mark Ackroyd

This is a great course for quickly gaining the basics in kayaking, as well as a taste of the different avenues to follow within the sport.

I expected high quality, passionate instruction and got exactly that. The enthusiasm, detailed knowledge and experience of our instructor, Chris, was both reassuring and infectious. He also did a great job of balancing very different expectations within the group.

The food, accommodation, service levels and atmosphere at the centre were far above what I expected for the price. PyB really set the standard as a national centre, and I felt fully immersed in the worlds of paddling, climbing and mountaineering.

One point to note is that the kitlist is pretty generic. Really you only need to bring some thin shorts and a T-shirt to wear under the waterproof, and a pair of rivershoes or sandals for in the boats. You can buy the latter on site or during the visits to paddling spots. Other kit is what you will wear when getting sorted off the water at either end of hte day, so a good warm jacket and waterproof could be handy.

Enjoyed the course

Anna Reynolds

Enjoyed the course, and would recommend to others if interested in kayaking. The facillities are excellent, the staff are dedicated, and the food tasted good too! The only thing i would say could be better was the fact that we changed instructor mid week, both were exellent but would have been better just to have one.

Never too old to learn

Bill Turner

At 72 I thought it might be too late too learn new skills; but given a degree of fitness and a can do attitude PYB is the place to go. Accommodation and food were excellent and all staff are helpful and friendly.

I had never sat in a kayak before but had studied the books and publications that covered all aspects of kayaking. My imagination was drawn to sea kayaking and since this was covered within the course I applied.

An absolute must at the centre is safety and I was delighted to find all course members were required to be in the rolling pool within the first hour of course start. There we were coached through capsize and recovery until we were confident and competent. A quick break for lunch and we were off onto the lake beside the centre for 'the real thing'
We kayaked lake, river. sea and canal, all the time being encouraged to try new skills and receiving positive feedback.
I have learned so much in such a short time and feel confident to continue still water and sea kayaking within the limits of my ability.
The coaches Adam,Louise and Rose were brilliant.



Just come back from kayaking, and it was hard work but fun. The instructs were brilliant explaning every think and taking time to show you if you could not get it.

Intro to kayaking July 08

Dr John Fox

Hopefully better late than never but I wanted to put on record how much I enjoyed and learned from the Introduction to kayaking course I attended in July under the tuition of Chris Forrest. I have been to a number of courses at Plas Y Brenin, including ML, Canoeing and First Aid over the years and the common theme has always been the quality of instruction. I cannot speak highly enough of the way Chris facilitated our group. Over the week the group went from being comparative (complete in a couple of cases) novices to having enormous fun on Grade II water - via a challenging but rewarding sea paddle. Chris' laid-back but effective style minimised stress, made sure we felt safe and as a result gave us the confidence and skills to get the most out of the week. The course was an eye-opener for me and provided a platform and enthusiasm for lots more paddling. It was a good group and I had more laughs during that week than for many moons previously.

Accommodation and administration were seamless as usual and the support of the centre staff is always much appreciated.

Thanks again to all involved
John Fox

Kayaking Fun

Tommy Stubbs

Ideal for the novice... if youve thought about paddling and need to do take it a stage further , in an ideal setting with expert tuition and good equipment and boats, then this is for you. It will help you make any decisions with rergard to furthering your interest or otherwise. If otherwise, a fun course anyway with lovely scenery and an ideal base set within it.

Absolutely first class!

Cara Chapman

The course was the perfect balance of skills training and fun. The course leader Adam Harmer, read the group very well and balanced off the learning and fun elements perfectly.

One of my course objectives was to regain my confidence on the water and develop a solid grounding in the basic skills required for kayaking and in particular white water, and the course more than met these requirements. In fact, a day after finishing the course, I was back on the water having another go! Also planning several more trips and some more training!

I can totally recommend this course if you want to have a go at kayaking and develop a good initial set of core skills on which to build if you decide to pursue the sport. The course gave enough information without overwhelming but also left most of us wanting more!

If you don't, you can still have lots of fun just having a go at the various types of kayaking, including sea kayaking, surf kayaking, river running and white water.

Fabulous week on the water

Clare O'Donnell

This course is perfect for anyone who wants to try kayaking. I had done a little kayaking when I was younger and wanted to try it again, I am hooked now and want to pursue it further. If you are toying with this or the weekend course, I would choose this course as I spent a day and a half going in circles!! Then everything clicked into place and I was flying then. The instructor Pete Caterall was fantastic and very patient and made the week great fun. The course takes you to some beautiful locations around north wales and angelesy.

An excellent course, thank you pyb!

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

Other Courses you should consider?

Discover Kayaking

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Introduction to Canoeing

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Discover Sea Kayaking

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Contact our team on 01690 720214 or email - they will be happy to help you find something perfect.

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