Articles - GO Whitewater Kayaking - 6 Great UK Whitewater Kayaking Trips

GO canoeing & Kayaking - Whitewater kayaker playing at Whitewater Course Nottingham
GO canoeing & Kayaking - Whitewater kayaker playing at Whitewater Course Nottingham
Canoe & Kayak UK Editorial - Posted on 08 Mar 2012
National Whitewater Centre, Afon Tryweryn, North WalesGO Canoeing whitewater kayakers surfing a wave on the Ski Jump Slope Rapid Afon Tryweryn North Wales
The National Whitewater Centre, formerly known as Canolfan Tryweryn, is also home to the Canoe Wales. It sits on the banks of the Afon (River) Tryweryn and because its flow comes from dam-releases it often has a good flow of water down its numerous rapids when other rivers in the area are dry! This makes it an absolute lifeline for whitewater addicts in the summer months. There is a café on site along with hot showers, changing and toilet facilities. Although it’s a natural river many of the rapids have been man-made, or at least manipulated. This makes it an ideal place to learn valuable river skills and to practice things like rescue techniques in a safe environment. There’s plenty to play on too, and you’ll always find playboaters doing their thing at the ‘Top Hole’, NRA Bridge and on the Café Wave. The Tryweryn also has an illustrious history in UK paddling and has hosted many events and competitions, from slaloms, to freestyles, to wild water races, it’s even hosted World Championships. If you’ve got non-paddling friends or family with you, there’s the opportunity to introduce them to the thrills of the river with a rafting session under the expert skills of a highly trained guide. If the rains have come then there are numerous other classic whitewater rivers in the area, and if there up and running then North Wales becomes a veritable whitewater Mecca for UK paddlers.

National Whitewater Centre
(formerley Canolfan Tryweryn)
Frongoch, Bala
LL23 7NU
Tel: 01678 521 083GO Canoeing - Whitewater Kayaker playing in the Muncher at the Holme Pierrepont Whitewater course Nottingham
Water Release Line: 01678 520826

Holme Pierrepont, National Watersports Centre, Nottingham
Situated on the outskirts of Nottingham and part of the National Watersports Centre this man-made whitewater course is an ideal place to begin your whitewater career and many a paddler has used their roll in anger for the first time amongst its waves and holes. There are changing and toilet facilities on-site and it has great access for spectating too. The centre has been the centre of UK slalom racing for many years and more recently has become home to some of the UK’s top freestylers, and you can often see some of the countries best athletes training there. There are often exclusive periods for slalom, and the course is often host to competitions, so make sure you call to check availability before you travel (0115 9824717). There’s a café nearby and there are two local kayak shops just down the road for any gear or new purchases you may wish to make! Behind the whitewater course is a regatta lake, which is used for marathon, sprint and Dragon boating, as well as rowing, and on its banks sits the main centre building, which hosts a restaurant, bar and can also provide B&B accommodation. There is also an official campsite two minutes up the road (0115 9821212) with good on site facilities.

National Water Sports Centre
Adbolton Lane
West Bridgford
NottinghamGo Canoeing - Whitewater Kayaker running tripple falls on the Loop section of the River Dart in Dartmoor
Course Control: 0115 9824717
NWSC Switchboard: 0115 9821212

Dartmoor is home to an English classic, the River Dart, but when the rains come it’s also home to many other superb runs, the Erme, the Tavy, the Walkham and for those brave, and skilled enough the Plym, and all set in beautiful, wild surroundings. The Dart itself breaks down into three different sections. The Upper Dart is for serious whitewater addicts only and groups need to have good experience, rescue skills and equipment before tackling this section. The Middle Dart or Loop as it is commonly known is extremely popular and is an ideal run for intermediates, or those looking to play their way down the river, as it has some quality play spots at the right levels. The Lower Dart is great for Canadian Canoe trips and for introducing beginners to the joys of moving water. The different nature of the sections means that they can be combined to produce a weekend of top watery fun. An introductory run down the lower section on the Saturday then step it up a gear and take a run down the Loop on the Sunday for instance.

River Dart - Loop
Upper Dart Guide
Go Canoeing & Kayaking - Whitewater Kayaker running Randolph's Leap Rapid on the River Findhorn, Scotland

Western Highlands
The areas around Fort William, Roy Bridge and Glen Coe in the Highlands of Scotland have more than their fair share of awesome whitewater rivers. They range from bigger volume classics like the Spean, Orchy and Findhorn to steep, narrow granite burns that fire you down their polished gullies like a bullet down a gun-barrel. If you’re blessed with water then it’s certainly possible to paddle everyday for a week and run two different rivers every day.

River Etive Guide
River Coe Guide
River Orchy Guide


The Nene Whitewater Centre, Northampton
The Nene Whitewater centre is situated on the outskirts of Northampton and is a valuable resource for paddlers in the East Midlands and South East. It’s an excellent venue for teaching at and is very popular among canoe clubs for this reason. IGo Canoeing - whitewater kayaker playing in a pool at the Nene Whitewater Centre, Northamptont sits on the banks of the River Nene, so there’s also the opportunity to warm up on and practice on the flat waters before moving on to the various pools of the course. It hosts several popular whitewater competitions each year, and has a great on-site Café, showers, changing facilities and friendly and helpful staff.


The Thames Weirs
Many people are shocked to discover that there are some world-class whitewater play waves right on London’s doorstep! When the Thames is running high many of its bigger weirs create some awesome features, which draw playboaters from all over the country. Hurley Weir is probably the most famous as it hosts the longest running freestyle events in the UK. Other weirs to consider depending the river’s level are Shepperton, Hambledon, Mapledurham, Old Windsor and Sunbury and Chertsey and Boulters are good in the summer. Take care though in full flow this is powerful water and not ideal for those learning and never go near a weir unless you are sure it is safe as they can be potentially very dangerous.

Info: Canoeing - Whitewater freestyle Kayakers play on the wave at Hurley Weir, River Thames

For more great whitewater guides and destinations go to the Places to Paddle section.

For video guides and loads of whitewater action videos go to
Canoe & Kayak TV

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