Five Go Canoeing!


During the Easter holidays, it became clear that Little Sister was no longer content to be left behind when we went canoeing, and that both boys were ready to take a more active role. The time had come to expand into two open canoes.

Five Go Canoeing!

We decided that Daddy, James, and Little Sister would go in our existing canoe, which was 17-feet long, and to buy a smaller one for me to paddle with Little Brother. In the end, we settled on a 15-foot model, so that it would be a good boat to paddle unaided when Little Brother developed ‘tired arms’.

We equipped Little Sister with some canoe kit: when she tried it on she was so pleased with it that we had a job getting her to take it off. We bought a longer paddle for James, which allowed Little Brother to inherit James’s paddle; and Little Sister to inherit Little Brother’s. The children were delighted with their new paddles. We booked two weeks in a cottage about a mile from the Helford River, and entertained romantic notions of being able to go canoeing without a vehicle. Everyone was so excited!

Finally, the time came for five to go canoeing! We had planned something very easy for our first trip, but it still felt like a real adventure, especially as we were going to use the trolleys and launch from a place on the river with no vehicular access. It will probably come as no surprise when I tell you that it is much harder for two adults to transport two open canoes and gear for five than it is for them to transport one! It took longer than we had planned, even with three excited children [attempting] to help.

But eventually, we got on the water, and we all had a great time. Even the heavy rain didn’t detract. In fact, somehow, it made it even more of an adventure. We were out for about three hours and found plenty to explore. We landed on a ‘secret’ beach which was hidden from view by trees whose overhanging branches reached right down to the water. It was like being in a ‘tree cave’ and offered good shelter for a ‘picnic’ of hot chocolate and shortbread, which was a real hit with our new paddler.

We returned to our launch site and congratulated ourselves on a successful first trip with two boats. Arriving back to the cottage, we promised that five would go canoeing again just as soon as we had recovered from hauling the canoes back up the hill!

About the Author

Helen & Ian

Helen & Ian

About Me & Mine

Hi there! Helen and Ian here from the Oxfordshire-Wiltshire border! We have two boys who love everything in the Great Outdoors (especially sticks), and a border collie who also loves everything in the Great Outdoors (especially tennis balls). We also have a toddler daughter who is fiercely independent and proving to be just as intrepid as her brothers.

Favourite place in the world:

A difficult one... There are so many wonderful places to choose from... But it has to be Sandwood Bay in the far north-west of Scotland which can only be reached by a 4-mile walk. Last time we went it was a full-on winter mountaineering experience (with ice axe and crampons!) just to get there. Wild and windswept, it's totally unspoilt.

Favourite things to do outdoors:

Enjoy beaches, woods, and coastal paths; explore waterways in our open canoe; go for a big day out on a small hill; go rock climbing; collect sticks, conkers, and acorns; investigate puddles and rockpools; ride our tandem; fly a kite against a clear blue sky.

Comments (2)

  • Jennie Abell

    Jennie Abell

    08 November 2017 at 11:03 | #

    I note the use of wheels I think the time has come to invest in some this year I am getting too old to carry boats and the kids are not growing fats enough to take over yet! Sounded like a great trip.


    • Helen and Ian

      Helen and Ian

      08 November 2017 at 18:29 | #

      Hi Jennie! We each have a trolley from our sea kayak days as we found them essential. They have been (temporarily) 'reassigned' to open canoe duties and as they dismantle to fit through the hatches of a sea kayak they are versatile and packable. We have had to adapt them slightly by fitting longer straps and adding a grippy surface to the plate. More to follow on the canoeing adventures!


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