Pauline Mc GurkPeter LennonChristopher Somerville
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Paddlefest – a whole new world

Posted on March 23, 2010 @ 9:36 AM in Canoeing

I discovered a whole new world of canoeing a few weekends ago via the Canoe Association of Northern Ireland (CANI).  You have to understand that is a very embarrassing statement for me considering I have worked very closely with key staff from CANI for the past few years.


To further the embarrassment I was previously a qualified Level 2 canoe coach and a fully signed up member of the aforementioned organisation. But enough of the confession and back to the whole new world.


CANI Paddlefest

Over the weekend 13th & 14th March I was at the Share Holiday Village in Co.Fermanagh for CANI’s annual ‘Paddlefest’ event.  I had always wrongly assumed that this was for the elite paddlers refining their well honed skills and that attendance by a mere mortal like me would be a waste of time. 


However on arrival it quickly became clear that the event was certainly not full of world beating paddlers.  This is not meant to be derogatory to those in attendance but rather as an encouragement for those, who like me, previously have not attended the event before to get along next year.


CANI Paddlefest

Paddlefest is CANI's annual paddlesport event to bring paddlers of all ages and abilities together to enjoy our sport. It is open to all abilities and disciplines and provides the choice to either develop existing skills or try a new discipline.    

The theme of this year’s event was flat water paddle sport and what better location than the Share Holiday Village, Ireland’s largest activity centre and situated on the shores of Upper Lough Erne.  The centre is actually a designated access point on the award winning Lough Erne Canoe Trail.


The sessions were delivered by top class coaches from across the United Kingdom and Ireland with intriguing titles such as:

 ‘Ray Goodwin – Open Boat King’

‘Nick Cunliffe – Sea Kayaking Legend’

‘Jim Morrissey – Marathon racer and expedition paddler’


However the session titles were much less daunting and very pragmatic.  For example

 ‘Turning your canoe’

‘Fundamentals of paddlesport’

‘Tandem open boat skills’

 can hardly be classed as elite sessions, in fact they are essential for people like me.  The weekend was rounded off with an opportunity to get out and explore with a trip on a section of the Lough Erne Canoe Trail on Sunday morning.


The on the water sessions were also accompanied by enlightening talks ashore, what can only be described as an ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ of new canoes, kayaks, clothing as associated equipment; and of course plenty of fun and games in the bar in the evening.


CANI Paddlefest


The event was certainly not intimidating, in fact it was the opposite and I would encourage paddlers to get along next year.  You don’t have to be a CANI member, although that will be strongly encouraged and with a full calendar of recreational trips being planned by CANI along the canoe trails for the summer then annual membership certainly seems an attractive option.



Chris Scott
Chris Scott

When not boring everyone about his little kids’ latest antics, Chris enjoys sailing and cycling, if only to offset his love of eating out and Marlborough Cabernet Sauvignon..

2 comments have been posted in reply to this article

Posted by Go Get Adventure on January 23, 2011 @ 10:32 AM

I love the look of the sea kayak sail. I guess you might even just about be able to sail up wind in it. That would save the old arms a bit!

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