Open Canoeing – paddled with a single bladed paddle – the oldest form of transport

What is it

The Open Canoe (sometimes wrongly called a Canadian canoe) paddled with a single bladed paddle lends itself as the perfect touring machine. I have 1, 2 and 3 seater canoes that are suitable for beginners and more experienced paddlers. A solo canoe is a great way to paddle the more open rivers we have in the area including the mighty Tweed and its tributaries – it is more relaxing than a kayak. The 2 and 3 seaters are ideal for that family adventure, they are lovely and comfortable with plenty of room for extra clothing and the picnic hamper.

Open canoeing
Family open canoeing adventure at Etal

Where do we paddle

The River Till is my go to option for either a 2 or 3 hour adventure for total beginners looking for an introduction to the activity. It is also perfectly suitable for those with some experience who want to see the amazing wildlife around.

Guided trip on the Lovely River Till

The River Tweed is a bit more open and works well for a longer trip and can require a vehicle shuttle. It is beautiful at all times of the year but especially in the autumn months when the leaves are turning. The birds we might see include Heron, Kingfisher, Little Egret, Dipper, common Sandpiper, Sand Martins, Oyster catcher, Red Shank, Lapwing and the odd Cormorant as well as many ducks, if you are very lucky a rare sight of an Osprey has been had! Floating under the three bridges of Berwick with the many swans is the perfect end to a lovely river trip. Sundays are the best day for the Tweed as there is no Salmon fishing so we can often have the river to ourselves.

Paddling past Berwick castle remains

Trip ideas

Canoe or kayak the River Tweed or its lovely tributaries – I have been offering half day, full day or multi day trips since 2000. From Peebles to Berwick upon Tweed (4/5 day trip) or lots of day sections between. Loads of options in either a 2 or 3 seater or solo.

There is a write up and lots of pics of a trip I did with my mate Matt from Source to Sea (River Tweed trip from Dec 2014 with pics on the Gallery page, thanks Matt).

The River Till is the only English tributary of the Tweed – smaller and more intimate. Gentle moving water ideal for complete beginners but equally chill for more experienced canoeists. The lower Till is great for the experienced canoeist looking for a challenge with a series of grade 2 rapids and a couple of weirs. 

The River Teviot is ideal for the intermediate canoeist looking for a bit of river running fun.

Open canoeing white water
Open canoeing down a bit of gentle white water

Something more adventurous – 

How about paddling the length of the amazing River Tweed 

Why not set your own challenge like a source to sea trip of the great River Tweed (See gallery link to exped in 2014) – this would require some skills training but a great achievement. It could be done in one trip (4 – 6 days with some training) or made up over three or four visits to the area. I could get you trained you up on day 1 and 2 and let you continue on your own down to the sea at Berwick upon Tweed. I can provide all the paddling equipment and you just need your camping kit or sort accommodation on route.


The canoe originated in North America and was used to transport goods primarily – some amazing stories exist about the voyageurs

who operated along some of the huge North American rivers trading mainly skins. The dug out canoe made from a rotten hard wood felled tree trunk is probably the oldest form of transport known to man!

Testimonial from Aug 2020:

“Ollie has great experience, competence and local knowledge and hence the adventures are fun, safe and well targeted.

What can we say, Ollie is the real deal!

Maria & David”

“Hi Oli, many thanks for our little trip up the river a couple of days ago, we really enjoyed it, especially the boys as it was their first time in a canoe.”


Canoe and kayak guiding and coaching in North Northumberland