4. When issued with a buoyancy aid check that the spongy bit inside fills the fabric, that there are no gaps. Make sure all the straps have working buckles.
It may well look faded but that’s ok as they fade really fast in the sun. Also make sure the equipment has a CE mark – I know it’s picky but life it pretty cool so let’s do all we can to live it!
5. Kids – MUST wear buoyancy aids that are close fitting so you can’t pull it off over their head. Even if they can swim.
6. Warm kit – even if it really hot and sunny, take some dry clothes (the company should provide a dry barrel or bag for your trip) with warm layers. It is the UK after all. Also take high energy grub and a flask. (Not of cider!)
1. Don’t go for the cheapest option, look at TripAdvisor and Facebook reviews.
2. If you have never been in a canoe or kayak before I would highly recommend a guided tour, you will be with a local, informative guide (like me!) who knows the river well, its nature, the landscape and you will not only have an amazing trip but learn so much in the process
3. If you just want to Hire and Go then please check the equipment you are issued. It is not necessary to wear a helmet in either a canoe or a kayak on slow moving water, but you must wear a buoyancy aid.
If you are going down the Symonds Yat rapids, please, please wear a helmet as it is really rocky and they are really hard when your head hits them!
7. Alcohol – I know the idea of drifting down the river with a cider in hand is amazing but alcohol and water don’t mix well, so I’m not saying don’t, just be sensible.
8. Be aware that the land alongside the river is Private unless there is an obvious landing stage. If you are going to stop and pop for a call of nature, or have a picnic then leave no trace!
9. The wildlife is amazing, Swans can’t break your arm (really, they can’t) but if they have young they can get a bit hissy so respect them and keep your distance
10. Have fun! Be safe, be mindful of others and enjoy the river.