01690 720214

Complete 3 Star (Training and Assessment) White Water Kayak

Course Overview

The Three Star award is a big deal these days and although the training can be complete in two days, our coaches feel this can be too intense for many paddlers.
This five day programme allows you to complete the three star training within a more digestible 4 days so you'll really get to grips with those skills before your assessment on the final day.
The award is discipline specific and is the pre-requisite for BCU Level 2 certificate in coaching paddlesport.

Experience Required

Two Star skills, though the award itself is not a requirement.

Scheduled Dates

Detailed Course Notes

You should be 18 years old to attend this course.


You should be a keen paddler with two star skills (please bring proof with you if you have the 2 star award but it is not essential). Previous experience of moving water is advantageous but not essential. Please bring your logbook with you.

Course Content

Over the first four days we will be using local lake and river venues, and our purpose built training pool if appropriate covering the three star syllabus. Our high staff to student ratio ensures that you receive individual attention throughout the course. The course will cover:

Personal Paddling Skills

  • Lifting, carrying and launching/landing

  • Efficient forward paddling

  • Reverse over a figure of eight course

  • Moving sideways, both static and on the move

  • Supporting, both static and on the move

  • Rolling

  • Breaking in and out

  • Ferry gliding

Rescue Skills

  • Deep-water rescue

  • Towing and use of towing aid

  • Eskimo rescue

  • Throwline

Safety, Leadership & Group Skills

  • Personal risk management

  • Awareness of others

  • Paddle a section of grade 2 water as part of a led group


  • Equipment

  • Safety

  • Weather

  • Hypothermia/First aid

  • Access

  • Environment

  • Planning

  • Group awareness

  • General

  • Navigation

  • Etiquette

The assessment

During the final day you will do your 3 star assessment. We will cover as many aspects of the 3* syllabus as time and conditions allow. This will be done on moving water up to grade 2. Below are the links for the 3* syllabus and assessor notes, which will outline the skills you will be developing and then assessed in.

BCU 3* syllabus

BCU 3* assessor notes

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?

  • Personal paddling equipment

  • Footwear to cope with bank and boat

  • Swimming costume/trunks

  • Warm clothes for off the water

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

  • Towel

  • Waterproof jacket and trousers

  • Bouyancy aid

  • Helmet

  • Drinks bottle

  • Flask

  • Lunch bag/box

  • Personal first aid kit

  • High factor sunscreen

  • Midge repellant

  • Large kit bag (for wet paddling kit)

  • Notebook and pen

  • BCU logbook/paperwork

  • Dry bag

  • Boat

  • Paddle

  • Spraydeck (if kayaking)

  • Safety and rescue kit (you would normally carry)

  • Cheque book for any BCU fees due

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)

  • All safety and rescue kit

For safety and rescue courses only a dry suit will be provided if required

Customer Reviews For This Course

Great course for any white water beginner to intermediate

Heather Rosser

I have been paddling on and off for quite a few years now but never pushed myself beyond grade 3 because of my weak rolling ability. Although my roll is not perfect now, it's a lot better and this course has given me the confidence and knowledge to keep working on it and in future push my overall paddling further. On this course we weren't paddling difficult rivers so allowed the coaches and me to strip my paddling back to the basics and others in the group to build confidence on moving water. I saw some bad habits start to slip away and hope to continue with this. The best thing about the course was the coaches (Andy and Chris). Not only did they help me improve my kayaking but also gave us advise as coach's. They were flexible and adaptable to the group and individual needs. They got the vibe of the group right and then set their coaching styles. They aimed to improve us as paddlers and coaches, not just to gain our 3 star and they succeeded.

Amazing time at PYB!

Charles Philpot

Can't really fault anything to do with the course. Everyday was well structured, we we told of what we would be doing in advance, comfortably got through the material and passed the whole course in 4 days, leaving us with 1 day of pure white water kayaking and I managed to squeeze in a bit of playboating :)
Instructors were amazing, knowledgeable and helpful. Staff at the centre were really good as well and the facilities and bar were excellent.

I did pick up that the centre is trying to be more environmentally conscious and I have a couple of recommendations - make the menu less focussed on meat and dairy products and more focussed on plant foods, but also instead of wrapping sandwiches in cling film possibly encourage people to bring tupperware or their own sandwich bags to cut down on waste.

I will definitely be returning!

Charles :)

Great Course & Great Food


Have just completed this course in Nov '13. Had a really good time. Our coach, Adam Harmer was really good, he was patient and very insightful and obviously very skilled. The food as usual was fantastic and the newly refurbished rooms are very nice.

Excellent instruction at a great place

Emily Seccombe

The instructor on our course was amazing and the group was relaxed and friendly. The food at Plas y Brenin was great - especially the afternoon cakes everyday. One of the advantages of this course over other places is that we had lots of access to the pool for practicing rolling, as well as the on site flat water. The equipment was also all very good. In the evenings there was a couple of talks, an open mic evening and we had a throw bag session one night so we had activities to do all the time. All the staff at the centre were very helpful and the catering staff were especially friendly. I would definitely recommend this course to other people looking to do their BCU 3 star white water kayak qualification as the instruction was of the highest standard and that's what really matters.

Instruction, coaching and confidence......

Malcolm Wade

My 5 days at PYB on the 3* Complete Course was extraordinary. With 3 delegates, we were luck to have 3 instructors so there was never a moment of inattention. The training, coaching and instruction from Pete, Andy and Sam was highly effective and inspired confidence to 'have a go'. Technical proficiency was evident but the coaching from all three was superb. They were able to diagnose cause and effect with alarming ease and help ingrain good habits to replace the bad ones.
The syllabus was extensively covered and the ability to practice skills in all environments was ever present.
I was struggling to perform a flat water roll and it was really getting to me. On the final day, Pete spent an hour with me after lunch on the River Dee at Llangollen and coached me with my skills. His ability to see what I was doing right and not so right were confidence building and delivered with consummate professionalism.
On the first day I would never have thought that I would be running the Serpent's Tail on the Friday!
Thank you Pete, Andy and Sam - this was one of the best courses I have ever attended and has inspired me to do more!
A great week - you are all a credit to the Brenin - thanks you.

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

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