River Kayaking – double bladed paddle whilst sitting in or on the kayak

river kayaking
Cross over kayaks

The local rivers of North Northumberland and the Scottish borders are ideal for introducing people to river kayaking. I have suitable teaching rivers within easy reach of Berwick Upon Tweed. The slow moving sections of the River Till and Tweed are ideal for beginners and people wanting to tour. The slightly faster sections are more exciting for intermediate paddlers requiring some moving water skills. I can arranged trips easily accessed from Berwick upon Tweed, Kelso, Coldstream, Eyemouth, Wooler, Norham, Ford and Etal or further a field e.g. South Northumberland, Scotland.

river kayaking
learning to river kayak

Please contact me with any previous experience, if any, and I would be happy to propose a plan to get you going. Coaching is available in the basics, introduction to moving water, river running skills, river trip planning, surfing and more.

kayak surfing
Surfing a river kayak

For complete beginners wanting to learn to sea kayak I often recommend a river kayaking lesson or two to get the basics sorted on flat water first. Kayaking is a bit more technical than open canoeing. We can then move on to the slightly more challenging specialist sea kayaks I have, designed for use on the sea. Go to the sea kayak page for more information on coastal exploration and off shore Island discovery.

Where did river kayaks come from?

River kayaks were developed from the original sea kayak first used by indigenous people. There are records of them being used for hunting seals when the ice melted off Greenland and other areas of North America. The river kayaks we use now have been shortened and are now made of roto-moulded (RM) plastics to handle hitting a few rocks. I have a wide range of river kayaks. Wide and stable general purpose kayaks are suitable for complete beginners and very short play boats to learn tricks in. I also have longer cross over style kayaks (see pic above and below) suitable for touring the great rivers locally and for use in sheltered bays on the coast.

river kayaking
General purpose kayak, wide and safe

River kayaking requires a bit more specialist clothing than say open canoeing. Beginners can find the seating position is a bit more physically demanding. After a few sessions you will get used to the unusual position and develop a stronger core. The key is to find the correct kayak for you. Kayaking is generally classed as a wet activity. If you prefer to be dry on the river check out our Open canoeing page.


Thanks Ollie 
Learnt loads today so really happy – thank you! 
Will practice a bit and arrange other days with you in due course 
Best wishes

‘Hi Ollie, thanks once again for a brilliant afternoon. I really enjoyed learning to kayak on the river. Not only did I feel I was in very safe hands as a total novice to the sport, but you were also informative and obviously passionate about the local wildlife. That 3 hours went so fast it was such fun. If ever I am this way again you will definitely be seeing me.’


Canoe and kayak guiding and coaching in North Northumberland