Launched in January 2021, the NEW Paddlesport Touring Leader supports you to lead fun, safe and enjoyable mixed craft journeys, on moderate inland open water. Although a formal training course can be attended, this is a direct entry award which means you can gain experience and develop your skills at your club or centre. The Leadership and Raft Guide self-analysis tool supports you to consider your areas for development
This new award is already proving popular and we hear from Emily, newly qualified Paddlesport Touring Leader. Emily came to the assessment without any formal training, having used the skills checklist, completing informal training to meet the standards.
My paddling journey started swimming around capsized boats with the Scouts, moving on to work at a variety of activity centres as well as guiding sea kayaking expedition internationally for around 4 years. More recently I've returned to the UK and found a home in Perth where I've waited out the Covid pandemic whilst working at Willowgate and exploring surrounding Perthshire. I've always dabbled in a range of disciplines, but would probably call myself a sea kayaker first, white water kayaker second and have recently started falling for the world of white water SUP, probably due to the comedy falls you get to witness! Regardless of where I am, or what I'm floating in I'm generally happiest on the water (especially with a flask of tea).
The Paddlesport Touring Leader is the perfect mix of disciplines and environments. When I read about this new award it caught my attention as it comes with so much freedom to go lead a range of craft across flat, open and slow moving water. Working at Willowgate Activity Centre on the River Tay it gives me much more scope. Within a short section of the river, the environment quite quickly turns from moving water (Grade 1 (2)) to wide open water. Before the Paddlesport Touring Leader existed I would have had to hold more than one leading qualification to take people on tours along this stretch of water. It's a great bundle of the lower end of all environments which is perfect for what I needed!
This award will allow me to help people explore the Tay, and will give me that little bit of extra freedom, to lead people in whichever craft they feel comfortable. It's amazing to be able to take local people places they may not normally have been and I'm excited to watch the faces of the locals as they slide down the Grade 2 shoot under the Perth bridge that they've walked past so many times. As restrictions ease, taking this same community to a wide variety of local paddling spots will open up a lot of opportunities that they and I would not have had without the Touring Leader. In short, the award will give me a chance to visit more places, have more fun and introduce more people to the paddling world that we all know and love.
Find upcoming courses via your Delivery Centre website -
Photos by Outdoor Explore